(CNSNews.com) – Responding to the disruption at the In Defense of Christian’s (IDC) Summit Gala with a statement obviously aimed at Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), a Coptic bishop said Thursday that members of the audience who booed Cruz following his remark that “Christians have no greater ally than the Jewish state” were “misrepresented.”
“I will say this, I am saddened, to see that some here, not all but some here, are so consumed with hate,” Cruz said before leaving the stage during his keynote address on Wednesday. “If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews, then I will not stand with you.”
In a statement he issued after the event, Cruz said that "a vocal and angry minority of attendees at the conference tried to shout down my expression of solidarity with Israel...I told the attendees that those who hate Israel also hate America, that those who hate Jews also hate Christians, and that anyone who hates Israel and the Jewish people is not following the teachings of Christ."
But the next day, IDC members said that the reaction by some members of the audience only expressed their frustration with Cruz for not focusing exclusively on the plight of Christians in the Middle East.
“As Christians I think we were misrepresented last night,” Bishop Anba Angaelos, general bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, Egypt for the UK said in his opening remarks at the summit Thursday morning. “No one here hates, but many here are feeling pain.”
“The expression used from this stage last night was true but incomplete. It should have said we are not in defense of Christians alone, we are in defense of Christians, in defense of Jews, in defense of Muslims, in defense of those who have no faith, in defense of everyone,” he said and was greeted with loud applause by summit attendees.
“That is the message of this summit, that is the message of those attending, and that is the message of Christianity. Not a contrived message that brings us out as hateful people here,” Bishop Angaelos concluded.
Sen. Cruz opened his address saying, “Tonight we are all united in defense of Christians. Tonight, we are all united in defense of Jews. Tonight we are all united in defense of people of good faith who are standing together against those who would persecute and murder those who would dare disagree with their religious beliefs.”
These remarks were greeted with applause. The audience began booing only when Sen. Cruz spoke in support of Israel, saying that Christians have no greater ally than the Jewish state.
IDC President Toufic Baaklini also issued a press statement Thursday evening in response to the incident.
“In last night’s Solidarity Gala Dinner, Senator Cruz chose to stand against the small and vocal minority of attendees who disagree with his views on Israel rather than standing with the vast majority of those who attended the gala and support both Israel and the Middle East’s Christians,” Baaklini said.
“Senator Cruz was not ‘booed off stage’ last night,” Baaklini continued. “He was asked to focus on the persecution of Christians in the Middle East under the theme of Religious Freedom and Human Dignity. Some participants inappropriately shouted, ‘Talk about the Christians!’ when Cruz refused to do so.
“Sadly, there was a small but vocal anti-Israel element in the room. Those individuals do not represent the views of IDC. In fact, there were many more people shouting down the hecklers than there were hecklers. The hecklers who did not remove themselves were removed by security.”
Baaklini echoed the sentiments of Bishop Angaelos, saying, “Senator Cruz abruptly ended his remarks accusing some participants of being ‘consumed with hate.’ That was as unfortunate as the inappropriate reaction by a small number of attendees.”