After the Federal Aviation Administration extended its ban on U.S. flights to Israel for another 24 hours Wednesday following reports of Hamas rockets falling close to the Tel Aviv airport, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) released a statement suggesting the decision had motives outside of just protecting the safety of American travelers. Asked about his statement at a briefing this afternoon, State Department spokesperson Marie Harf called his comments “ridiculous and offensive.”
“Did President Obama Just Launch an Economic Boycott of Israel?” Cruz asked on his website, before answering his own question affirmatively. “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,” Cruz said.
The senator also cited the Malaysia Airlines plane that was shot down last week, asking, “What was the FAA’s ‘safety’ analysis that led to prohibiting flights to Israel, while still permitting flights to Ukraine—where a commercial airline flight was just shot down with a BUK missile?”
“It’s ridiculous and offensive, quite frankly,” Harf responded at today’s State Department briefing. “The FAA takes its responsibility very seriously. I will speak for them in that case. They make these decisions based solely on the security and safety of American citizens. For anyone to suggest otherwise is just ridiculous.”
Watch video below, via NBC News:
[Photo via screengrab]
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