Target: United States Senator Ted Cruz
Goal: Stop blocking nominations of important diplomats in a misguided attempt to oppose ban on flights to Israel
International diplomacy might face new hurdles due to the misguided actions of one U.S. senator. Senator Ted Cruz has indicated that he will prevent nominations of all new State Department officials unless the Obama administration answers his questions about the recent FAA ban on U.S. airlines flying in to Tel Aviv, Israel, according to The Rachel Maddow Show. The senator has previously referred to the ban as “an economic boycott on Israel”, according to Politico. However, the FAA’s decision was prompted by fears of rocket attack on the Tel Aviv airstrip, not out of any desire to hurt Israel. To make matters even worse for Senator Cruz’s argument, the flight ban was lifted not long after it was established.
Israel is currently in the middle of a war, and has come under attack from rockets. These rockets could cause great loss of life if one were to hit a commercial airliner, and that possibility is not remote. According to The Hill an Air Canada flight was forced into a holding pattern over Tel Aviv to avoid rocket fire. It is bad enough that Senator Cruz is characterizing a safety measure as a boycott, but he has made the situation worse by blocking all State Department nominees until his concerns are addressed. These nominees include a U.S. ambassador to Russia; if he isn’t allowed to be nominated to his position, diplomatic contact between those two nations will be quite difficult. It is not the time to make talking to Russia harder, especially considering the situation in Ukraine.
Senator Cruz has the power to withdraw his holds of the nominees and allow diplomacy to continue. There is no reason fro him to threaten to delay this important process based on a misunderstanding. By signing this petition, you will call upon Senator Cruz to stop holding the State Department nominees.
Dear Senator Cruz,
Your decision to prevent the nominations of State Department officials is a shortsighted one, and your reasoning for taking this action is flawed. Your characterization of the recent FAA ban on U.S. airlines landing at Tel Aviv as an “economic boycott” is not supported by the facts; the FAA was trying to protect U.S. citizens from being targeted by rocket attacks. The fact that the FAA recently rescinded the ban should also help convince you to stop blocking important diplomatic nominations.
Among the people you may prevent from being nominated is the future U.S. ambassador to Russia. The U.S. cannot afford to have its diplomatic channels with Russia endangered, especially now given the crisis in Ukraine. I urge you to lift your hold on all State Department nominees.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Bill Koplitz via Wikimedia Commons