NEW YORK -- Sen. Ted Cruz said Thursday that universities that boycott Israel should lose their federal funding.

Cruz's remarks were aimed at the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, which is gaining traction on college campuses. It calls for U.S. companies and universities to divest from Israel. Cruz has spoken against BDS but sharpened his tone Thursday.

The nation needs a president who will ensure that "if a university boycotts the nation of Israel then that university will forfeit federal taxpayer dollars," Cruz said at the Champion of Jewish Values International Awards Gala here, where he received the Defender of Israel Award. "BDS is premised on a lie and it is antisemitism plain and simple."

Cruz never mentioned his presidential candidacy but sure talked a lot about what America's next president needs to do when it comes to Israel and Iran. That includes imposing sanctions on Iran, transferring bunker bombs to Israel if "Iran has not stopped marching toward nuclear weapons," moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and no longer fund the Palestinian Authority "as long as its engages in incitement" and is in a unity government with Hamas.

"If Iran is on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons that president in 2017 should stand up to the world and explain very simply either Iran will stop or the United States of America will stop it," Cruz said.

Cruz continued to call the prospect of Iran securing a nuclear weapon the greatest threat to the security of the United States and Israel.

"The next 19 months are going to be perilous," he said. "But I commit to you to do everything in my power to speak out and stop any deal that will allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons."

Cruz praised Sheldon Adelson, who spent $92 million on Republican candidates in 2012, and his wife Miriam as "fearless warriors standing for the United States and standing for the nation of Israel." Cruz was seated at the same table as Adelson, who gave $1 million to the World Values Network, which put on the gala, and shed some light on how he allocates his fortune.

"We don't just pledge it, we give it," he said of his money, adding that if a gift is made on a Monday, the check goes out Tuesday. He also said he's not the one with the money.

"I don't have the money. My wife's got all the money," Adelson said.