Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas was endorsed on Jan. 21 by Pastor Mike Bickle, who founded the controversial International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri. Bickle sparked controversy in 2011 when he said that God raised up Adolf Hitler as a "hunter," so he could "hunt" Jewish people and force them to convert to Christianity (video below).
Bickle has also said that Jewish people will be placed in "prison camps" before the return of Jesus Christ and that two-thirds of all Jews will be killed by the "rage of Satan and in the judgments of God," while one third will be "worshippers of Jesus."
“It is profoundly troubling that Sen. Ted Cruz proudly trumpeted the endorsement of such a controversial figure who holds such offensive views,” the National Jewish Democratic Council said in a statement, according to The Times Of Israel.
“We call on Sen. Cruz to clarify his position and explain why he chose to highlight someone who is ‘notorious for having said that God sent Hitler to hunt Jews for not accepting Jesus as the messiah,'” the council added.
“Mike Bickle’s views about why God allowed Jews to be killed in the Holocaust, as expressed in a 2011 speech, are abhorrent, intolerant and unacceptable,” the Anti-Defamation League said in a statement.
“We assume that Senator Cruz accepted Bickle’s endorsement without knowing about these comments," the organization added. "We hope that when these comments are called to the Senator’s attention, he will clearly and forcefully reject Bickle’s hateful ideas.”
Bickle is also behind the Israel Mandate project which attempts to convert Jews to Christianity by live-streaming prayer services on the web.
Bickle has also said that Jeremiah 16:16 in the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible is about God allowing Hitler, as a hunter, to kill six million Jews.
"'But now I will send for many fishermen,' declares the Lord, 'and they will catch them,'" Jeremiah 16:16 reads. "'After that I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them down on every mountain and hill and from the crevices of the rocks.'"
In response to the criticism, Cruz adviser Nick Muzin issued a statement on Feb. 11. The statement read, according to The Times of Israel:
“Our campaign welcomes support from faith leaders across the country. Mike Bickle is one of the hundreds who have endorsed us. My understanding is that he was paraphrasing the words of the prophets Jeremiah and Zechariah. I know that he has made support for Israel and the Jewish people a central part of his mission.”
"No one has a better record than Senator Cruz when it comes to standing with Israel, fighting against radical Islamic terror, and combating global anti-Semitism,” he added.
“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," Muzin concluded.