It's My Vacation, and I'll Go If I Want To
Over the last several years -- and more than once -- I have savaged Michael Bloomberg in articles on this site. So I feel at this moment a reciprocal obligation to give him credit, where credit is most welcomely and unexpectedly due.
The wearisome droning of his twelve-year mayoralty has ceased, and he deserves praise for an instance of clarity and right-thinking. A courageous act -- bolstered by a courageous statement -- has come from the former mayor, whose relationship with ex-incumbency appears to be congenial … and liberating.
Bloomberg yesterday boarded an El Al flight to Israel, dismissing the slyly hypercautious implications of the FAA's ban against U.S. carriers flying there. But he also underscored his action with unambiguous and optimistic language, saying
… flying to Israel remains safe and should not be avoided. He spoke to reporters at the airport before he took off from John F. Kennedy International Airport.
“Sure I’ll take the flight. It’s safe and it’s efficient, and it’s a great way to travel. And El Al is a great airline, and we have a lot of American airlines that are great too, and I just want them to be able to fly around the world, and land safely and in peace,” he said.
“I’m not trying to prove anything,” Bloomberg said at the airport. “I’m just trying to show that it’s safe, and a great place to visit, and Israel has a right to defend its people, and they’re doing exactly what they should be doing.”
Obama and his FAA seem to have sought to reward Hamas in particular, and terror in general -- cutting Americans and Israelis off from one another -- and thereby punishing Israel's connectedness and economy. This, because a terrorist rocket -- from Gaza, mind you -- landed close to the Tel Aviv airport. Talk about blaming the victim. And perish the thought that Obama should take some stern action against, or at least denounce, the usual rocket-happy, jihadist aggressors against Israel, and her right to live in peace. After all, having just wished "Muslims all around the world" not merely a "happy," but rather a "blessed Ramadan" at his recent White House Iftar dinner, he might by any such action provoke a concerned call from one of the dinner attendees. Who needs that headache?
The FAA has jurisdiction, in flight route particulars such as this, over domestic airlines only. Its power to manipulate and intimidate them doesn't apply to Israel-based El Al, or to other foreign carriers. Yet it is bad enough, as against our domestic carriers, that Americans' travel freedoms have been severely restricted in yet another attempted reminder by Obama & Co., in case you needed one, that the same state which grants you your liberties can also rescind them. This administration is far too concerned with conferring advantages upon freedom's dastardly and unsavory antagonists, and not concerned nearly enough with the well-being of America's perplexed friends. And all the while making sure you suffer a bit, too, into the bargain.
Bloomberg has struck a visible and salutary blow against all that. By refusing to recognize the coyly imperious and ostensibly for-your-own-good "caution" of this no-fly ban, Bloomberg words and action speak for support of Israel; for freedom of travel and of thought; and against the mindset and impudence of this inverted administration. I hope he enjoys every minute of his trip. And a nice big soda on the flight back, too.
Richard Kantro may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org