Under "epically smarmy grandstanding pantomimes" in the dictionary, see Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who punked a conference crowd last night with some off-teleprompter shit-talk in order to score some points with his base of support on Twitter.

Cruz was an invited speaker at the inaugural Washington summit of In Defense of Christians, a benign-sounding nonprofit that lobbies lawmakers to assist in the plight of Christians and other religious minorities in the Mideast.

A lot of politicians and thinkers were slated to attend. Also attending were a lot of Christians from different parts of the Middle East. Including, you know, a lot of Arabs. Who might have sort-of complicated perspectives on Israel's role in the region. Certain corners of the right-wing media put together shit posts with shit links attempting to connect IDC speakers and organizers with criticisms of Israeli policies, which somehow equates automatically to anti-Semitism. In other words, TED CRUZ WAS PALLING AROUND WITH HEZBOLLAH-LOVING JEW-HATERS. ALLEGEDLY.

That's not how the event rolled. A reporter from the conservative Daily Caller—the Daily Caller!—who attended "all the programming" said that nary a speaker made a disparaging remark about Israel or Jews (which, again, are two very separate entities).

That didn't stop Cruz from pretending he was surrounded by Al Qaeda operatives when he gave his "keynote speech":

"Those who hate Israel hate America," he continued, as the boos and calls for him to leave the stage got louder. "Those who hate Jews hate Christians. If those in this room will not recognize that, then my heart weeps. If you hate the Jewish people you are not reflecting the teachings of Christ. And the very same people who persecute and murder Christians right now, who crucify Christians, who behead children, are the very same people who target Jews for their faith, for the same reason."

The cries of "stop it, stop it, enough," and booing continued. "Out, out, leave the stage!" At this point IDC's president, Toufic Baaklini, came out to the stage to ask for the crowd to listen to Cruz, but Cruz had already had enough.

"If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews," he said. "Then I will not stand with you. Good night, and God bless." And with that, he walked off the stage.

It was the mother of all strawman arguments—just treat all the Arabs like they're Jew-haters!

But hey, it seems to have accomplished the mission for Ted Cruz:

Meantime, after the senator left the stage, perhaps to find a mirror, IDC's director rushed to the mic. "For the love of God," he said, "we're here to talk about Christians and we're here to be united." Ted Cruz ain't got time for your jihad-talk, dude: There's a presidential primary season a-comin'.