Ted Cruz Tells Haaretz: Height of Chutzpah for Obama to Lecture Israel on Jewish Values

Texas Senator and GOP presidential hopeful says that administration’s policy on Israel is 'most antagonistic in history.'

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Republican Presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz  at Third Annual Champions of Jewish Values International Awards Gala. May 28, 2015.
Republican Presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz at Third Annual Champions of Jewish Values International Awards Gala. May 28, 2015.Credit: AP

Texas Senator Ted Cruz describes President Obama’s speech to Congregation Adas Yisrael last Friday as “the height of chutzpah” and regards his administration as “the most antagonistic to Israel in history.”

In an exclusive interview with Haaretz on the sidelines of a gala dinner held in New York on Thursday night by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s Champions of Values organization, Cruz said: “I think it is the height of chutzpah for Obama to lecture the nation of Israel on Jewish values. We should be standing proudly with Israel against the face of evil that is represented by radical Islamic terrorism. Whether it is Hamas or Hezbollah, ISIS or Al-Qaida, whether it is Boko Haram or the Ayatollah Khamenei in Tehran – they are all different strains of the same murderous evil that Israel and America should stand united against.”

Cruz, a Republican presidential contender who was the undeniable star of the dinner in which Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson was present, said that the Obama and his administration “unquestionably” had an “undeniably worse” record towards Israel than former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

“The stakes are higher today. With Carter, there was no prospect of a nuclear Iran. With Barack Obama, we are rolling the dice with theocratic zealots who have pledged to annihilate the nation of Israel. And to be clear,” Cruz noted, “their hatred is not limited to Israel. It is not an accident that they call Israel the little Satan and America the Great Satan.”

Cruz said that the United States should not take a position on the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and should leave it up to the Israelis to decide. “I think that’s a question for the nation of Israel. I don’t think that’s a job of an American president, to lecture or dictate to the nation of Israel. Israel is a sovereign nation. If the people of Israel choose to negotiate peace in exchange for land, that is a decision a sovereign nation can make, but America has no business trying to dictate the terms.”

“And the barriers to peace today are not coming from Israel,” Cruz added. “They’re coming from a Palestinian Authority that makes common ground, that breaks bread and forms a unity government with Hamas, an unrepentant terrorist organization that seeks to exterminate the Jews."

Cruz said that he “hoped” more Jewish Americans would vote for Republicans in the upcoming 2016 elections, citing both Obama’s attitude towards Israel and the U.S. economy as reasons for change. “The Obama economy, like the economy under Jimmy Carter, has resulted in millions of Americans hurting. What we’re doing is not working. And it’s my hope that Jewish voters across America recognize this doesn’t make sense.”