In his most recent statement on the issue, US presidential candidate Ted Cruz reiterated his strong support for Israel and rejected controversial comments by supporter Mike Bickle, an evangelical pastor, about the Jewish people.
The campaign for US Senator Ted Cruz, a candidate for the Republican nomination for president, last week defended an endorsement from a pastor who has made controversial statements about Jews.
Kansas Evangelical Pastor Mike Bickle heads “Israel Mandate,” an initiative whose primary goal, according to its website, is to partner with Messianic Jews in Israel. “Our mission is to mobilize an international prayer movement that would pray 24/7 for the nation of Israel to receive their Jewish Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus).”
In a sermon in 2011, Bickle said God would give Jews a chance to convert to Christianity and would “raise up the hunters” against those who refuse, referring to Hitler as the most famous hunter. Bickle recently apologized for having “communicated my beliefs poorly.”
The Times of Israel (TOI) received a statement late Saturday saying that Cruz disagreed with Bickle’s views on end-of-days prophecies, while commending the work of his ministry.
“Pastor Bickle and the International House of Prayer have devoted decades to promoting prayer, and to improving the lives of those who are suffering,” the statement said, as quoted by TOI. “Nevertheless, the statements from Pastor Bickle concerning Adoph [sic] Hitler are not statements with which Senator Cruz agrees.”
“It is indisputable that Adoph [sic] Hitler was the embodiment of evil; he was a grotesque murderer who committed one of the gravest acts of depravity in the history of mankind,” the statement continued. “God did not intend anything in Hitler’s evil, and it is wrong to suggest otherwise.”
Cruz ‘Fought Tirelessly Against Anti-Semitism’
In his statement Saturday, TOI continued, Cruz also reiterated his support for Israel, calling himself “one of the very strongest supporters of Israel in the Congress” who has furthermore “fought tirelessly against anti-Semitism.” If elected president, he said, he would “stand unequivocally — and unapologetically — alongside the Nation of Israel.”
Nick Muzin, Cruz’s senior adviser, last week stressed the senator’s unwavering commitment to Israel. “In September 2014, Senator Cruz very publicly walked off the stage after being booed by a group of Middle East Christians in Washington, D.C., telling them, ‘If you hate the Jewish people, you are not reflecting the teachings of Christ,’ Muzin said. ‘If you will not stand with the Jewish people and with Israel, then I will not stand with you.’ A key component of our work in the evangelical and Jewish communities has been shared support of Israel. Last summer, Senator Cruz brought together evangelical faith leaders with Jewish organizations to try and stop the Iran nuclear deal. We are proud of the support we are building in both communities and see them as complementary, and part of our larger goal of restoring Judeo-Christian leadership values to America and the world.”
Bickle Apologizes for Poor Communication
In a TOI op-ed over the weekend, Bickle wrote: “Let me make clear. What Hitler did was evil, an utter atrocity to the Jewish people and to all of mankind. The creation of the modern state of Israel after the Holocaust is a testament to God’s enduring love for His beloved people. I have been and remain committed to the spiritual and material defense of Israel and the Jewish people, as is my ministry….”
“For those times when I have communicated my beliefs poorly, I apologize,” he said. Initially, he claimed that the “liberal” media had distorted his statements.
In his op-ed, Bickle added that Cruz’s record of dedicated support for Israel was a central factor in his decision to endorse the senator. “I noted the way Cruz brought evangelical leaders and Jewish organizations together in a valiant effort to stop the Iran nuclear deal,” Bickle wrote. “I observed that no candidate for president has a stronger record than Cruz on standing with Israel, fighting radical Islamic terrorism, and combating anti-Semitism in the world. I could not and would not have supported Ted Cruz unless I were confident that he supported Israel.”