Michael Bloomberg Defies FAA, Flies to Tel Aviv to 'Show Solidarity' with Israelis
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced via his website on Tuesday that he is en route to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, in defiance of an FAA decree handed down earlier preventing American commercial flights from flying into the airport.
According to Bloomberg's website, the former mayor is flying into Israel to prove that Ben Gurion airport remains safe, despite much of Israel being under constant threat of rockets flying in from Gaza, courtesy of the terrorist group Hamas. Bloomberg's decision to fly to Israel, he states, is meant "to show solidarity with the Israeli people and to demonstrate that it is safe to fly in and out of Israel." Bloomberg described Ben Gurion as "the best protected airport in the world" and attacked the FAA for its decision.
"The flight restrictions are a mistake that hands Hamas an undeserved victory and should be lifted immediately," Bloomberg writes, encouraging the FAA to rethink its decision. Earlier today, three United States airlines--Delta, United Airlines, and US Airways--canceled flights to Tel Aviv shortly before the FAA announced that flights to the city would be banned due to the threat of rocket fire. The FAA also cited a rocket landing near the airport as proof that the possibility of a plane being hit in mid-flight as sufficiently likely to ban the flights. European airlines shortly followed suit, barring airlines from flying over the territory.
While often sparking controversy with left-wing views on gun control, immigration, and a series of municipal initiatives that can only be described as micromanaging the personal care of New Yorkers, the former mayor has staunchly supported the right of the Israeli state to defend itself against terrorist attacks. His efforts to support Israel garnered him the inaugural "Genesis Prize," presented by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in observation of his work in philanthropy and public service, in celebration of what prize organizers call "Jewish values." Bloomberg invested the $1 million prize in a competition for ten $100,000 prizes for young entrepreneurs that also embodied the best of Jewish values.
In May of this year, Bloomberg criticized the anti-Israeli Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement in a speech at Harvard University's commencement, calling the threat to boycott academics who travel to Israel "a modern-day form of McCarthyism." He had previously called the censorship of pro-Israel scholars by pro-Palestinian left-wing academics akin to education in North Korea.