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NORPAC October 2013 Newsletter

 

 

Dr. BenMessage from the President 

 

2014 Election

As we enter the fall season, the 2014 Congressional races are starting to heat up. The government shutdown has both sides of the aisle to blame, but the Republicans will be taking the major hit on this. It is possible for the House to revert to Democratic Control, and the chances for the Senate to move to a Republican Majority currently look slim. The lack of disciplined pragmatism within the Tea Party continues to be the gift that gives to the Democrats. The last two cycles have seen the Republican Primary Process brutalize their senior incumbents. Any party that regularly throws their elder statesmen under the bus, can expect to be relegated to a minority position. In a general election the majority of voters find fringe candidates unpalatable and punish any party that forces out a beloved incumbent. Senate seats definitely lost by Republicans due to this include Nevada, Delaware, Maine, Indiana, Missouri, with other states on the probable list. This new paradigm of contested Congressional Primaries has put both new demands and opportunities before our membership.  

  

Syria

The last month has been a lesson in defying conventional wisdom. This started with Syrian President Assad using chemical weapons in his effort to win the civil war. President Obama, who stated a year ago that there would be severe consequences to this, mobilized for military action. I believe President Obama was surprised at the lack of support for this action from the American public, international community, and Congress. To the President's credit, he was able to get partners in this initiative and present a credible threat. The unexpected happened; Russia and Syria offered to get rid of the chemical weapons, and that was like hitting the lottery.  

 

The main problem in Syria was the possibility of instability, coupled with the world's largest stockpile of chemical weapons. Many of the Syrian rebellion units are infiltrated or controlled by Islamists, some with Al Qaeda. Assad himself has helped to arm Hezbollah. So, taking out this WMD element changes a potential regional conflict with international implications back to a civil war.  

 

There are skeptics that have little trust for either Russia or Syria to comply with their pledges, and that is a valid concern. I am  cautiously optimistic on this one.

 

Iran

The Nuclear Iran Poliferation Act which passed the House by an overwhelming margin is stalled in the Senate Banking Committee. This legislation has the potential to tighten the loopholes on the current sanctions. Reports that hundreds of billions of dollars have left the Iranian economy since the last Iran sanctions bill two years ago indicate that even though the Iranian rush to WMD is ongoing, the ability of the Ayatollah to make mischief around the world is becoming more limited. Iran reportedly is close to running out of cash and this is the time to maximally push the strategy of sanctions to avoid military intervention. Please call the members of the Senate Banking Committee you know and ask them to push this next round of sanctions through. Time is of the essence.

 

 

Democrat

Republican

Tim Johnson Chairman (D-SD)

Mike Crapo Ranking Member (R-ID)

Jack Reed (D-RI)

Richard Shelby (R-AL)

Charles E. Schumer (D-NY)

Bob Corker (R-TN)

Robert Menendez (D-NJ)

David Vitter (R-LA)

Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

Mike Johanns (R-NE)

Jon Tester (D-MT)

Patrick J. Toomey (R-PA)

Mark R. Warner (D-VA)

Mark Kirk (R-IL)

Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

Jerry Moran (R-KS)

Kay Hagan (D-NC)

Tom Coburn (R-OK)

Joe Manchin III (D-WV)

Dean Heller (R-NV)

Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)

 

 

Save the Date

The Mission to Washington this year is tentatively scheduled for April 30, 2014, so please save the date. We will open registration for the mission, when we get the final Congressional Schedule, hopefully in December.  

 

Meeting with the Mayoral Candidate

http://ih.constantcontact.com/fs148/1101582001930/img/293.jpgUnder the leadership of Board Member Jack Rosen, some of our members met with Bill Di Blasio. Although this was not a NORPAC event, and we have no endorsement for this election, meeting future leaders who have a large bully pulpit and have the potential for federal leadership as well is worthwhile.

 

 

NORPAC Upcoming Events: October/November 2013

 
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)

http://ih.constantcontact.com/fs148/1101582001930/img/280.jpgOn Monday, November 11th, NORPAC welcomes Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen at  the home of Dr. Munr Kazmir. Rep. Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, led a Congressional delegation, along with Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), to Israel earlier this year. The delegation met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, and Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein to discuss the importance of the U.S. - Israel strategic partnership, regional stability, the threats from Iran, Syria and Egypt, as well as the ongoing peace negotiations.

In March 2013, Ros-Lehtinen introduced H.R. 938, the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013. This bill, with over 340 cosponsors, declares Israel to be a major strategic partner of the U.S., reaffirms the U.S. commitment to enhancing security cooperation with Israel in pursuit of shared objectives, and encourages greater bilateral cooperation in the areas of cyber-security and the sciences. Contact Ben Chouake to attend at bchouake@aol.com

Senator James Risch (R-ID)

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On Sunday, November 3rd, NORPAC will be sponsoring an event in support of Senator James (Jim) Risch at the home of Elisabeth & Avi Samuels in Englewood. Senator Risch is the second highest ranking Republican member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Importantly, he is the Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee that oversees U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa.

Senator Risch has strongly supported Israel and its right to defend itself since his election to the U.S. Senate in 2009. In 2010, he sponsored a resolution to express the sense of the Senate that Israel has an undeniable right to self-defense, and to condemn the destabilizing actions by extremists aboard the ship Mavi Marmara. He also co-authored a letter with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) condemning the U.N.'s anti-Israel efforts the following year. Contact Avi to participate at 201-788-5133


Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)

http://ih.constantcontact.com/fs148/1101582001930/img/292.jpgOn November 17th, NORPAC will be hosting an event at the home of Kevin & Lori Lemmer for Senator Kelly Ayotte. First elected to the Senate in 2010 she has quickly made her reputation as an upcoming leader in the party and the Senate. She has been both active and vigilant in her support of U.S.-Israel relations. She is on the short list for Republican candidates for the Executive Branch. This will be an intimate formal dinner with this important leader. Seating is limited. Please contact bchouake@aol.com to attend.

Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH)

http://ih.constantcontact.com/fs148/1101582001930/img/287.jpgIn November, NORPAC's Teaneck chapter will be hosting an event for Rep. Steve Chabot. Since becoming a Member of Congress, Steve has served on the Committee of the Judiciary, the Committee on Small Business, and the Committee on Foreign Affairs. He was named to the role of Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific in 2013, after previously serving as the Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee from 2011-2012. Rep. Chabot is also a long-standing member of the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus.

 

 

NORPAC's Recent Past Events

 

Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ)

http://ih.constantcontact.com/fs148/1101582001930/img/286.jpgNORPAC welcomed back Congressman Albio Sires at an event hosted by Dr. Munr Kazmir in Closter, New Jersey.

Recently, Congressman Sires supported the passage of H.R. 850, the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act of 2013, and H.R. 4133, the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012. Both these pieces of legislation were actively advocated for by participants at NORPAC's Mission to Washington 2012 and 2013, respectively.

Coming from a Cuban background, Rep. Sires has also condemned anti-Semitic remarks made by Fidel Castro and has worked to fight bias against the Jewish people abroad.  

 

 

Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) 

 

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NORPAC hosted an event in support of Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) at the home of Rabbi Steven & Yael Weil in October. Jeffries is a freshman Congressman whose district encompasses the lower-middle and eastern portions of Brooklyn, including Canarsie and East New York. He currently sits on the Committees on Budget and Judiciary, respectively. As a Member of Congress, Hakeem Jeffries co-sponsored the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act of 2013 (H.R. 850), The U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013 (H.R. 938), and The Iron Dome Support Act (H.R. 1130). 

 

Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA)

 

http://ih.constantcontact.com/fs148/1101582001930/img/290.jpgRepresentative Ed Royce (R-CA) was hosted in Riverdale by Howard and Debbie Jonas. For the 113th Congress, Royce was selected by the Speaker and his Caucus to be Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Royce has served on the Committee since entering Congress in 1993. He also serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade and a member of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific.

This year, Ed Royce was the Principal Republican Sponsor of the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act of 2013 (H.R. 850) which NORPAC members advocated for during our Mission to Washington and passed overwhelmingly in the House of Representatives by a vote of 400 - 20. This legislation has been referred to the Senate Banking Committee which is currently drafting similar legislation to move forward with crippling sanctions against Iran, the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism.     

 

Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY)

 

http://ih.constantcontact.com/fs148/1101582001930/img/291.jpgCongressman Eliot Engel (D-NY) was hosted in Riverdale by Howard and Debbie Jonas. For years, Eliot has been a co-chair of the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus and a leader in sponsoring and drafting legislation in support and defense of Israel. His strong record on U.S.-Israel relations is backed by his ability to work across the aisle to gain bipartisan support on critical legislation related to Israel, our strongest ally in the Middle East.

There are few if any Members of Congress who have both a commitment as deep and a record of accomplishment as long on U.S.-Israel relations as Eliot Engel. He has been at the forefront of almost every major piece of legislation regarding the relationship of America and Israel during his long tenure in the House of Representatives. He was the original author of the House version of the Syria Accountability Act.  

 


House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA)

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NORPAC welcomed back Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) to an event in Teaneck in September, hosted by Mort & Esther Fridman. Rep. Cantor is the Majority Leader in the House of Representatives and is one of the strongest supporters of the U.S.-Israel relationship within our Congress. He is an active advocate for legislation pertaining to Iran sanctions and bringing freshmen Members of Congress to visit Israel. Rep. Cantor also spoke this year at NORPAC's Mission to Washington during our plenary session. 



Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)


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Senator Lindsey Graham is the Senior Senator from South Carolina. NORPAC proudly sponsored this great friend of the U.S.-Israel relationship in the sukkah of Jocelyn & Shmuel Jonas in September. Since his inauguration into the U.S. Senate in 2002, Senator Graham has been an outspoken advocate of U.S.-Israel relations. He has the distinction of being among the foremost national leaders as the principal sponsor on both legislation and Senate Resolutions promoting this relationship and the safety and security of America and Israel.

 

 

Governor Mike Rounds (R-SD) for Senate 

 

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Our Teaneck chapter welcomed former South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds at an event hosted by Mort and Esther Fridman in August. Rounds, who served as Governor from 2003 to 2011, is running for the open U.S. Senate seat of Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD). He recently visited Israel and expressed his strong feelings for protecting its safety and security. He also feels strongly about moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, in compliance with the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995.  

 

 

Upcoming NORPAC events with dates pending:

Senator Chris Coons (D-DE); Chair Harry Feder

Senator Jack Reed (D-RI); Chair Moshael Straus

Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK); Chair Jason Muss

Congressman Scott Garrett (R-NJ); Chair Kevin Lemmer

Senator Tim Scott (R-SC); Chair Baruch Prince

Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA); Chair Mort Fridman

Senator Jeff Sessions Chair Stanley Stern


We are seeking hosts for events for the following Members of Congress

Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY)

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL)

Senator Mark Pryor (D-AK)

Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA)

Congressman Nita Lowey (D-NY)

Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)

 

 

The Fathers Bride  

We all experienced bullying to some extent while growing up. Most of us were unfortunately on the receiving end of the losing arguments. I recall my Public High School days in NYC. My senior year of high school we had multiple sexual assaults, regular fist fights in lunchroom and gym, a riot, and a gun battle. I was fortunate to be blessed with winged feet, and on the track team (the only Jew). My adrenalin reflex of fight or flight (mostly flight) helped me graduate in one piece.

All this pales in comparison to being a father of daughters. You can't run, you can't hide, and you can't fight back. Yes, even the most hardened male CEO has little spine when confronted by their female offspring. While I am prepared to force-ably discuss issues with National Leaders, I have become a board certified wimp under these family discussions. There ought to be a law.  Anyone with advice or wishing to commiserate can email me at bchouake@aol.com   

 

Mazel Tov
To Roz and Leon Kozak on the birth of a grand-daughter
To Anne & Jerry Gontownick on the birth of a grand-daughter
To Barbara & David Bortnicker and Sylvia Freyer for being honored at the Net El Dinner December 8 2013 in NYC.

Any members with a mazel tov announcement may send it to avi@norpac.net

 

Renew your donation

It is difficult to imagine the turmoil and hostility in the Middle East on every border with Israel and beyond, and yet Israel moves forward, trying to prepare and survive. Our work helps them secure Military Aid, prevents international boycotts, and gives agency to Israel, so with Hashem's help, our homeland can forge a bright future.  

  

We help prepare America and the West from countries like Iran by putting the best understanding of these dangers before the national leadership.

 
Please do your part so that we can continue to facilitate the survival of the Jewish people.  

 

We need your donations to the general fund to continue our work. Every dollar counts. Please go to http://norpac.net/contribute to donate, or call Avi Schranz at 201-788-5133.

We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you at future events.

Ben Chouake (Dr Ben)