Ted Cruz booed at Christian unity dinner (VIDEO)

(CNN) -- Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was heckled and booed until he left the stage at an annual gala celebrating Middle Eastern Christians on Wednesday.

Some members of the audience objected to Cruz's message of standing with Israel. The potential 2016 presidential contender told the crowd amid the jeers, "I am saddened to say that some here are so consumed with hate." That statement prompted more boos, and one member of the audience can be heard saying, "speak for yourself," according to a video of the event.

Cruz abruptly ended his speech.

"If you will not stand with Israel, then I will not stand with you. Thank you and God bless you," he said, and then walked off stage.

Toufic Baaklini, president of In Defense of Christians, the organization that hosted the Washington gala, blamed the interruption on "a few politically motivated opportunists" who "were made no longer welcome."

Supporters jumped to Cruz's defense, taking to Twitter, including conservative talk show host Mark Levin.