Despite repeat denials from the agency that the Federal Aviation Administration flight ban into Ben Gurion International Airport was politically motivated, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) castigated the decision as trying to force Israel into accepting US foreign policy.
In a statement issued shortly after the initial travel ban was extended for an additional 24 hours, Cruz emphasized an incongruity between the Obama Administration’s decision to ban flights to Israel and its announcement to give additional aid to Gaza, which Cruz says ultimately will benefit Hamas.
“Aiding Hamas while simultaneously isolating Israel does two things. One, it helps our enemy. Two, it hurts our ally,” said Sen. Cruz.
He added, “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.”
In a statement issued early Wednesday afternoon, Cruz posed five specific questions regarding the FAA’s decision to suspend flights to Israel.
“Given that some 2,000 rockets have been fired into Israel over the last six weeks, many of them at Tel Aviv, it seems curious to choose yesterday at noon to announce a flight ban, especially as the Obama Administration had to be aware of the punitive nature of this action,” Cruz complained.
“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,” he continued. “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.”
Cruz drew comparisons to the Arab League boycott of the 1970s, and complained that the continued flight ban played into the hands of the Boycott, Divest, Sanction (BDS) movement, saying that “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.”