Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, walked offstage at an event Wednesday evening after his remarks in support of Israel drew boos from some members of the audience.
Cruz was speaking at a dinner for In Defense of Christians (IDC), a group that aims to raise awareness of persecuted minority communities in the Middle East, particularly Christians.
According to The Daily Caller, it was Cruz's assertion that "Christians have no greater ally than Israel" which drew the first negative reaction from some in the crowd, who booed and yelled, "stop it!"
As Cruz doubled down on his point - "those who hate Israel hate America," he said - the interruptions grew.
"If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews," Cruz said. "Then I will not stand with you. Good night, and God bless." He left the stage.
"I came to this event [Wednesday] to help shine a light on the tragic persecution and slaughter of Christians by ISIS and Islamic radicals throughout the Middle East. American leaders have been far too silent as to this horrific evil," Cruz said in a statement released after the event. "But bigotry and hatred have no place in this discussion. Anti-Semitism is a corrosive evil, and it reared its ugly head."
He blamed a "vocal and angry minority of attendees" for what he called a "shameful display of bigotry and hatred" and said he had no choice but to leave.
IDC issued its own statement reprimanding "a few politically motivated opportunists" for choosing to cause division in the room.
"Tonight's injection of politics when the focus should have been on unity and faith, momentarily played into the hands of a few who do not adhere to IDC's principles. They were made no longer welcome," IDC President Toufic Baaklini said.
During his less than two years in the Senate, Cruz has often displayed a talent for making his points with flare. A day before the speech, he was on the Senate floor to protest a constitutional amendment proposed by Democrats that would undo two Supreme Court decisions striking down limits on campaign spending.
His argument: the constitutional amendment would criminalize political speech - including the satire that pokes fun at politicians on the sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live (SNL).
"Lorne Michaels could be put in jail under this amendment for making fun of any politician. That is extraordinary, it is breathtaking, and it is dangerous," said, referencing the SNL creator and producer. "Who can forget in 2008 Saturday Night Live's wickedly funny characterization of the Republican vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin? It was wickedly funny and also had a profound effect on people's assessment of Governor Palin, who's a friend of mine."
To underscore his point, Cruz did a brief impression of comedian Dana Carvey imitating former President George H.W. Bush on the show, saying, "Not gonna do it."