Updated Mar 29, 2024 - Politics

Pro-Palestinian protesters gather weekly at Ted Cruz's residence

Photo of a group of people, with Palestine's flag, gathering in a neighborhood.

The protesters in River Oaks, outside U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz's house. Photo: Jay R. Jordan/Axios

Every Saturday morning over the past two months, pro-Palestinian protesters have gathered outside Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's house in River Oaks to condemn the Republican senator's support for Israel.

Why it matters: The six-month old Gaza conflict has roiled U.S. politics and spurred activism across the country, including in Houston, home to one of the largest Arab and Muslim populations in the southern U.S.

The big picture: Demonstrators have regularly taken to the streets, called and emailed their elected officials, and spoken up at City Hall, and they're now disrupting spaces where their elected politicians are present, urging them to call for a ceasefire and cut ties with Israel.

Driving the news: Cruz has posted on X a couple of times to complain about the disruption, calling the protesters "pro-Hamas" and "antisemites."

  • His office did not respond to Axios' request for comment.

What they're saying: "The point is to show that he does have constituents that don't align with his very bigoted views. … We don't support him being AIPAC-funded and his allegiance to a foreign government," said one of the regular protesters, whose aunt's family in Gaza has been killed and who asked not to be named for safety concerns.

  • "We never mentioned anything about Hamas at these protests. There's not a sign about them, not a chant, nothing. There are Jewish people who attend these events too. It's not antisemitic in nature. Nothing antisemitic is said," she added.

What they did: About a dozen protesters show up weekly at Cruz's home at 7am, with Palestinian flags and wearing keffiyehs, chanting "No more money for Israel's crimes."

  • Several times on the way to Cruz's home, they've stopped by Democratic U.S. Rep. Lizzie Fletcher's home to protest there as well.

Context: Demonstration organizers tell Axios that they've targeted Cruz and Fletcher because both have received significant funding from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

  • "For protests, in order to be effective, they have to be disruptive," the Palestinian protester tells Axios.

Between the lines: Houston does not have rules preventing protests in residential areas, per Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University. Protesters are allowed on the sidewalk and street as long as they do not block access.

  • Protesters must remain below specified decibel levels, per the city's noise ordinance. However, officers are required to ask individuals to lower the noise before issuing citations, Houston Police Department public information officer John Cannon told Axios.

Flashback: Protesters previously gathered outside Cruz's home during the 2021 deadly freeze and over his gun control policies.

What we're watching: In addition to the weekly protest at the senator's home, there is a silent protest Sunday organized by the newly formed organization Al Awda Houston, held outside First Baptist Church, where the senator has attended.

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