When it comes to Israel and Middle East foreign policy, Senator Ted Cruz’s record is frankly abominable. He is prone to ideological grandstanding and outlandish – and dangerous – policy proposals. He is one of the most extreme, reckless voices in the Senate.
Cruz is up for reelection in 2018. As we anticipate that closely-watched race, here are five of the most disturbing things Ted Cruz has said and done about Middle East foreign policy.
This past May, Cruz introduced a bill, S.11, to close down the PLO office in DC. Unfortunately, that’s a common position amongst far-right members of Congress, but Cruz’s bill went even further – it threatened to reduce the security of US embassies around the world until the president moves the Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The bill would have prohibited more than 50% of the amounts appropriated to the State Department in 2017 for embassy security, construction and maintenance from being obligated until the US Embassy in Jerusalem has officially opened. In other words, Senator Cruz was willing to put US embassy and consulate staff around the world at risk over the location of the US embassy in Israel.
He opened his 2016 speech at AIPAC by declaring that “Palestine has not existed since 1948” – a talking point that used to be relegated to the far-right and those who oppose the creation of a Palestinian state. He’s also described settlements as an issue that Israel has to work out by itself – a position completely at odds with a two-state solution and the longstanding bipartisan consensus in US foreign policy. If Israel announced plans to double the number of West Bank settlements tomorrow, Ted Cruz would have no objection.
When running for president, Cruz vowed that on his first day in office he would “rip … to shreds” the Iran deal – a deal that the majority of Americans and US and Israeli security experts support. He also threatened to shoot down any Iranian missile launched in a test – something not covered by the Iranian nuclear deal and all-but-guaranteed to spark a massive conflagration in the Middle East.
Cruz has introduced a bill that would allow states to refuse to resettle refugees who have been admitted to the United States. This legislation is part of Cruz’s long history of anti-refugee rhetoric and actions. He was an avid supporter of President Trump’s refugee ban, and has even suggested that the United States should use a religious test to determine which migrants are admitted.
After the US abstained from a vote on settlements at the UN – thereby allowing it to pass – the senator declared that “Congress and the incoming administration can and, I hope, will take decisive action to intercept the administration’s final and desperate hail mary, and that should begin with eliminating US funding to the UN.” Massive cuts to the UN would severely impact the US’ ability to work with the international community on matters of importance that affect every American – and every Israeli. For Cruz to know about the catastrophic impacts of his proposal to eliminate all US funding to the UN – yet proceed with the plan anyways – is incredibly irresponsible and dangerous.
Needless to say, defeating Ted Cruz in 2018 would be a major victory for the two-state solution and diplomacy-first foreign policy. That’s why we’re excited to support a pro-Israel, pro-peace, pro-democracy member of Congress challenging Ted Cruz – Congressman Beto O’Rourke.
Learn more about Rep. O’Rourke – the J Street-backed candidate to get Ted Cruz out of the Senate – here.
Learn more about Beto O'Rourke, the pro-Israel, pro-peace, pro-democracy candidate to get Ted Cruz out of the Senate.