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October 24, 2014 / 30 Tishri, 5775
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Senator, Enraged by FAA Ban on Israel, Demands Answers

Senator Cruz is demanding straight answers to questions about the FAA ban on Israel and until he gets them, he will put a hold on state department nominees.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) stood with Israel, walked out on booing Christian crowd.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) stood with Israel, walked out on booing Christian crowd.
Photo Credit: Cruz.Senate.Gov

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is not embarrassed to make a big deal over something he believes is profoundly wrong. And he believes the decision issued by the Federal Aviation Authority on Tuesday, July 22, to ban for 24 hours all U.S. air carriers from entering or leaving Israel, a ban which was extended for at least an additional 24 hours on Wednesday, is profoundly wrong.

And he wants answers to some very specific questions.

If he does not get those answers, the senator announced that he will put a hold on all state department nominations until he does.

What are the questions Senator Cruz wants answered?

He wants the administration to answer:

1. Was the FAA ban on Israel “a political decision driven by the White House?”

2. If the FAA’s decision was based on airline safety, why was Israel singled out, when “flights are still permitted into Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen?”

3. What was the FAA’s ‘safety analysis’ that led to prohibiting flights to Israel, while still permitting flights to Ukraine – where a commercial flight was just shot down with a BUK missile?

4. What specific communications occurred between the FAA and the White House? And the State Department? Why were any such communications necessary, if this was purely about airline safety?

5. Was this a safety issue, or was it using a federal regulatory agency to punish Israel to try to force them to comply with Secretary Kerry’s demand that Israel stop their military effort to take out Hamas’s rocket capacity?  The senator was incredulous that the U.S. was, on the one hand, subjecting its close ally Israel to crushing economic consequences, while on the other hand was announcing new financial support for the terrorist group Hamas, the actual cause of the security problem.

“Aiding Hamas while simultaneously isolating Israel does two things.  One, it helps our enemy.  Two, it hurts our ally,” said Sen. Cruz. The lone star senator went further than simply demanding answers. He accused President Obama of imposing an economic boycott on Israel.

“The facts suggest that President Obama has just used a federal regulatory agency to launch an economic boycott on Israel, in order to try to force our ally to comply with his foreign-policy demands,” Senator Cruz stated.

Anticipating that people will raise the shooting down of the Malaysian Airways flight by Russian separatists in Ukraine, Cruz explained the profound differences between the two scenarios.

Obviously, no one wants to place civilian travelers in harm’s way, and the recent downing of Malaysian Airways flight 17 by pro-Russian militants in Ukraine is a stark reminder of the dangers posed by regional unrest.  But security concerns in Israel are hardly breaking news, and given the exceptional challenge Israel faces, Ben Gurion has rightly earned the reputation as one of the safest airports in the world due to the aggressive security measures implemented by the Israeli government.

The senator also took pains to explain the degree of harm the FAA ban will cause to Israel.

Tourism is an $11 billion industry for Israel, which is in the middle of a summer high season already seriously diminished by the conflict initiated by Hamas.  Group tours have been cancelling at a 30% rate.  This FAA flight ban may well represent a crippling blow to a key economic sector through both security concerns and worries that additional bans will down more flights and strand more passengers.  It hardly matters if or when the ban is lifted. At this point, the damage may already be done.

Even given the remarkable resilience and prosperity of its economy, Israel has always been vulnerable to economic blackmail.  In the 1970s, we saw the Arab League boycott, which tried to punish any financial institution that did business with Israel.

Putting the punishment of Israel into a current perspective, Cruz compared the FAA ban to the BDS movement, and also provided the historical basis for tying what he is calling an economic boycott on the threats raised by Secretary of State John Kerry last winter.

Today we have similar noxious efforts by the Boycott, Divest, Sanction or ‘BDS’ movement, which seeks to punish Israel for the fact that the militant terrorist elements embraced by the Palestinian Authority make any peace deal an intolerable security risk to Israel at this time.  But the Obama Administration has refused to robustly denounce this effort to undermine our ally.

Instead, Secretary of State John Kerry issued a veiled threat last February when he encouraged boycotts of Israel and said that absent serious Israeli concessions at the negotiating table, Israel’s economic prosperity was ‘not sustainable’ and ‘illusory.’ Secretary Kerry unfortunately reprised this theme just this April, when he threatened that Israel risked becoming an ‘apartheid state’ if Israel did not submit to his chosen solution to the Israel-Palestinian crisis.

The State Department took the low road in responding to the senator’s questions, calling them “ridiculous” and “offensive.” Senator Cruz’s press secretary, Catherine Frazier, fired back at them.

“We find the Administration’s foreign policy to be ridiculous and offensive. The American people deserve answers to these questions and Sen. Cruz will continue to press for them. You are welcome to quote me,” Frazier wrote in a release. So we did.

The senator also responded to the state department’s statement.

“Serious questions were asked about the nature of a decision that handed Hamas a public relations victory and will cost Israel billions of dollars,” said Sen. Cruz. “The only thing ‘offensive’ about this situation is how the Obama Administration is spurning our allies to embolden our enemies; the only thing ‘ridiculous’ is the administration’s response to basic questions. Until the State Department answers my questions, I will hold all State Department nominees.”

Senator Cruz’s staff said that there are more responses to the FAA ban in the works. This is not an administration decision that the senator from Texas is going to accept without a concerted fight.

 

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


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31 Responses to “Senator, Enraged by FAA Ban on Israel, Demands Answers”

  1. Todd Miner says:

    Why is our Idiot Government banning flights to Israel ?? I WANT ANSWERS>

  2. Olga Pinsky says:

    Finally someone speaks up!

  3. Tony Dc says:

    It was the right thing to do to halt flights. Lufthansa and KLM also suspended flights. I guess safety is not a cause of concern with rockets being fired. This is no time to play politics

  4. Tony Dc says:

    It was the right thing to do to halt flights. Lufthansa and KLM also suspended flights. I guess safety is not a cause of concern with rockets being fired. This is no time to play politics

  5. Gracie Ma says:

    We support you Sen.

  6. Gracie Ma says:

    We support you Sen.

  7. Senator please also investigate the UN for giving the Hamas Terrorists twenty missiles back that the terrorists were hiding in the UN school.

  8. What about halting flights around the Ukraine?

  9. Kinda makes ya wonder if some people on this site want to alienate half of America by playing politics. They ignore the support Israel has been getting financially and in the news by President Obama. Are they trying to turn the Democrats against Israel. The politics of division can only help the enemy(extremists)
    Really whos side are those people really on

  10. Tony Dc says:

    Since US doesn’t have carriers go to Ukriane it’s a moot point and that’s other countries issues.

  11. Randyll RG says:

    Already been lifted. Ted Cruz is a ****ing tool.

  12. Thank you Ted Cruz. Also why did the UN give the rockets back to Hamas when they were in UN building???
    Could you ask???

  13. Thank you Ted Cruz!!!!

  14. Stella Webby says:

    I support you Senator Cruz . Make the FAA give an answer.
    I believe the president is behind this! Please investigate. G-d bless you!

  15. Why just answer why. Good job senator. Wish he was president, maybe next time.

  16. Geela Gordon says:

    good for you senator and thank you for supporting Israel

  17. Geela Gordon says:

    good for you senator and thank you for supporting Israel

  18. Tony, the U.S. does have flights heading to other destinations which are far more volatile all around the Middle East and the world. Some of those destinations have had years-long conflicts which often involve direct threats to airports. Some of those areas (current and prior) were also in active war states. And yet, the U.S. merely issues advisories to passengers. Currently, the only other two areas with flight bans are North Korea and the Ukraine. So it’s pretty obvious that the U.S. DID offer flights to those areas, but is enacting a ban on Israel, which is dealing with a much lower threat level than other areas that don’t have a ban. A bit of shrapnel falling on the airport is not a viable reason to halt flights, and in order to make that type of decision, the White House would have had to have been consulted, so I for one would like some answers.

  19. Tony, the U.S. does have flights heading to other destinations which are far more volatile all around the Middle East and the world. Some of those destinations have had years-long conflicts which often involve direct threats to airports. Some of those areas (current and prior) were also in active war states. And yet, the U.S. merely issues advisories to passengers. Currently, the only other two areas with flight bans are North Korea and the Ukraine. So it’s pretty obvious that the U.S. DID offer flights to those areas, but is enacting a ban on Israel, which is dealing with a much lower threat level than other areas that don’t have a ban. A bit of shrapnel falling on the airport is not a viable reason to halt flights, and in order to make that type of decision, the White House would have had to have been consulted, so I for one would like some answers.

  20. Allan, the President has not been supporting Israel. At one point, he was pointedly refusing to answer phone calls from Netanyahu. And that was during supposed negotiations. Even when he defends Israel, he makes sure to criticize her in the same speech. I’m a Liberal, and I am painfully disgusted by his behavior on this issue.

    And the financial support is merely a token gesture to assure the U.S. that they will continue to have an ally in the only democracy located in the entire Middle East. It’s been that way for the last five decades or so.

  21. Im disgusted with obama, I will be soo glad when he is gone..

  22. Im disgusted with obama, I will be soo glad when he is gone..

  23. Are they capable if straight answers?

  24. very good mr. senator. long live God bless you

  25. Kim Sloan says:

    We all want answers! This is deplorable and it’s obvious Obama and Kerry did this to put sanctions on Israel because Israel won’t bow down to Obama’s oil friends the Arabs, the terrorists. So Obama just had the FAA shut down this secured Airport! What an evil jerk! Good for Cruz, maybe he’s not all bad, except for women’s rights, but hey nobodies perfect.

  26. Tony Dc says:

    Hey Sarah guess what the airlines stopped flights way before the FAA decision happened and on it’s own. You know nothing and it’s a safety measure and we all know if something happened you would say flights should have stopped. I guess the European airlines who stopped flights are making it political.

    Yeah a bit of shrapnel lol missing the point and it’s not economic ban. I tell you something as a person who works in DC and in the govt sector the FAA makes the decision first and the WH doesn’t overrule safety measures proposed by the FAA.

  27. Tony Dc says:

    Hey Sarah guess what the airlines stopped flights way before the FAA decision happened and on it’s own. You know nothing and it’s a safety measure and we all know if something happened you would say flights should have stopped. I guess the European airlines who stopped flights are making it political.

    Yeah a bit of shrapnel lol missing the point and it’s not economic ban. I tell you something as a person who works in DC and in the govt sector the FAA makes the decision first and the WH doesn’t overrule safety measures proposed by the FAA.

  28. I live in Israel and sent Ted Cruz an email. His internet site is very easy to access. We would love to see him become the next President !

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