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Ami Magazine: Ted Cruz ‘Undoubtedly One of the Best Friends of the Jewish Community’

Sen. Cruz joins Ami Magazine founder Rabbi Yitzchok Frankfurter for in-depth interview, discusses rise of anti-Semitism in New York City amid the COVID-19 crisis

HOUSTON, Texas - Following New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's targeting of the Jewish community during the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) joined Rabbi Yitzchok Frankfurter - founder and editor-in-chief of Ami Magazine, the largest Jewish weekly publication in the world - for an in-depth interview on combatting anti-Semitism, protecting Americans' religious liberty, and the importance of the Trump administration's pro-Israel policies.

As Rabbi Frankfurter wrote:

"One of the best friends of the Jewish community in the United States Senate is undoubtedly Ted Cruz, the Republican from Texas [...] If anything, Senator Cruz has more than proven that during the recent coronavirus pandemic. With New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio repeatedly sending out biased tweets and the Orthodox community being targeted by Hizzoner, few have come to its support with such unwavering conviction and passion as he has."

Read from Sen. Cruz's interview here and below.

On defending religious liberty and combatting anti-Semitism:

"I have been passionate about religious liberty my entire life. Religious liberty is the very first liberty protected in the first clause of the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. Our nation was built on the proposition that each of us has the right to live according to our faith and conscience, and that freedom is fundamental. I have been blessed to have a great many friends in the Orthodox Jewish community. Defending the rights of everyone to practice their faith and live according to their conscience is vitally important.

"This is a time of enormous crisis nationally, and government leaders have a responsibility to protect public health and enact measures to keep all of us safe. At the same time, those measures cannot become an excuse for elected officials to become authoritarian or to persecute disfavored communities.

"Given the horrific history of anti-Semitism around the world, there are obvious risks to government officials targeting the Jewish community by name. That encourages base and hateful instincts."

On his support for Israel:

"When I was elected to the Senate eight years ago, I resolved to be the strongest defender of the State of Israel in the US Senate, and I have endeavored every day to follow through on that commitment. During my time in the Senate, I have traveled to Israel four times. I led the fight in the Senate to move the embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, I led the fight in the Senate against President Obama's Iran nuclear deal, and I led the fight in the Senate to recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israel. Then, with the Trump administration, I've worked very closely with the president, urging the administration to take each of those steps. I was there when we opened our embassy in Jerusalem. It was an extraordinary and powerful moment."

On the Obama-Nuclear Iran Deal:

"The Obama administration tragically demonstrated persistent hostility to Israel and deeply frayed the friendship between our nations. I am a strong believer in bipartisan support for standing with Israel, and I think that grave damage was done, especially when the Obama administration forced through the disastrous Iran nuclear deal and demanded the partisan support of Congressional Democrats, notwithstanding that Prime Minister Netanyahu pointed out-rightly, I believe - that a nuclear Iran was an existential threat to the State of Israel.

"The president agreed with me and made the courageous decision to move the embassy. That decision, I believe, was closely intertwined with the most important foreign policy decision of the Trump administration, which was withdrawing from the disastrous Obama Iran nuclear deal.

"I do not believe it was coincidental that we announced the withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal the very same week we opened our embassy in Jerusalem. Those two decisions were incredibly important."

In May, Sen. Cruz applauded President Trump's decision to end civil nuclear waivers that allowed Iran to build up its nuclear program. Sen. Cruz has led the fight against the Obama-Iran Nuclear deal since it was first negotiated. Since the U.S. withdrawal, he has pushed for an end to oil waivers, an end to nuclear waivers, and for invoking the U.N. snapback mechanism to restore international sanctions on Iran.

In response to a disturbing trend of pandemic authoritarianism, Sen. Cruz called on Attorney General Barr to investigate local officials abusing power and targeting religious communities. In the letter, Sen. Cruz highlighted New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's threat to permanently shutter houses of worship whose members continue to meet amid the pandemic. Read Sen. Cruz's letter here.

In 2018, Sen. Cruz attended the opening of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem after being a long advocate and sponsoring legislative efforts for the United States to recognize Jerusalem as the rightful capital of Israel and move its embassy there. Read more about Sen. Cruz's efforts here.