NORPAC January 2017 Newsletter
 
 
 
 
 
Dr. BenMessage from the President

On everyone's mind is what President Obama will do next during his last three weeks in office. The UN Security Council (UNSC) vote apparently was coordinated by, or with, the help of the administration and is perhaps the most damaging resolution to Israel in the UNSC's history. 

Worse is planned as the Obama-Kerry team arranges to bring a pre-1967 partition plan to the UNSC for a vote before the end of his term. This may be just an ideological initiative for the President, but to have such a drastic change in US, and even current, administration policy over the last 4 weeks of an eight year term is unprecedented and I believe there is a financial motivation involved. Watch the money trail for President Obama and Secretary Kerry and their family over the next few years and if it does not lead directly or indirectly to players like Soros or Iran, I will gladly eat my words. 

There have been many UN resolutions on many issues such as North Korea, Iran, and others. When have the members of the UN Security Council ever applauded after a vote? Only on Israel. Hoorah, we beat the Jews. As pointed out by Jack Rosen, President of the AJC, this is the face of anti-Semitism. It is shameful that our President would have an active part in this. As the first Black President, he carries a greater responsibility to prevent bigotry. 

Betrayal
Obama has betrayed the people who have supported him both financially and at the voting booth all these years. He has disregarded the vast majority of his own party with this initiative and, aside from his own fame and fortune, has left the Democratic party in shambles. This is one more punch in the gut to those who have loyally followed him down the path to losing the Majority in the Senate, the House, and the bulk of gubernatorial positions and state legislatures. 

What to do?
Call your Congressional Representative and Senators. Voice your outrage at the rouge actions of a caretaker administration. The national Jewish Leadership is working with our friends in Congress on mitigating the damage, and your voices to their offices are very important. 

Syria
Some one million people dying in a war between the Shiites and the Sunnis, many more millions displaced, and the UN is still obsessed with Israel. The current strategy of taking sides in this religious war must be carefully thought out. ISIS is terrible, as is Assad who is in league with Hezbollah and Iran. As Secretary Kissinger has pointed out, the only force preventing Iran from land access to the Mediterranean is ISIS. Thus, to take the side of Assad and Iran in this conflict would likely have dreadful consequences. More important even than the threat of ISIS, is the danger of an Iranian Hegemony from Tehran to Lebanon. Kissinger suggested to work on eliminating ISIS when we can replace ISIS with a Sunni military contingent from Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. 

I do not know if an alternative Sunni force can be accomplished, but right now with two bitter enemies fighting each other, as long as the balance of power is a stalemate, containment may also be our best option. 

Iran
The recent renewal of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) by Congress is a big win for America, Israel, and the civilized world. President-elect Trump seems to more clearly see the dangers that the current rulers in Iran represent. We wish him success in mitigating the damage done by the JCPOA agreement instituted by the Obama administration. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
NORPAC Post-Election Results

NORPAC proudly sponsored many candidates in 2015-16 who have demonstrated a clear and true commitment to strengthening the US-Israel relationship. We are proud that the majority of candidates we supported have won re-election, but we also wish to acknowledge the accomplishments of those who did not win their seat this year (bottom). You can find this list below.

Members of Congress we supported who were (re-)elected:
Sen. Michael Bennet
Sen. Richard Blumenthal
Sen. Roy Blunt
Sen. John Boozman
Sen. Richard Burr
Sen. Mike Crapo
Sen. John Hoeven
Sen. Ron Johnson
Sen. Mike Lee
Sen. John McCain
Sen. Lisa Murkowski
Sen. Patty Murray
Sen. Rob Portman
Sen. Marco Rubio
Sen. Charles Schumer
Sen. Tim Scott
Sen. Pat Toomey
Rep. Todd Young for Senate
Sen. Ron Wyden
Rep. Rob Bishop
Rep. Steve Chabot
Liz Cheney
Charlie Crist
Rep. Ted Deutch
Rep. Dan Donovan
Rep. Eliot Engel
Rep. Blake Farenthold
Rep. John Faso
Rep. Lois Frankel
Rep. Gene Green
Kamala Harris
Rep. Steny Hoyer
Rep. Dan Lipinski
Rep. Nita Lowey
Rep. Tom MacArthur
Rep. Kevin McCarthy
Rep. Mark Meadows
Rep. Grace Meng
Rep. Donald Norcross
Rep. Devin Nunes
Rep. Bill Pascrell
Rep. Kathleen Rice
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Jacky Rosen
Rep. Peter Roskam
Rep. Ed Royce
Rep. Paul Ryan
Rep. Mark Sanford
Rep. Brad Schneider
Rep. Brad Sherman
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema
Rep. Albio Sires
Rep. Chris Smith
Rep. Mike Thompson
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Rep. Lee Zeldin

Heartbreakers: Members of Congress or candidates we supported who lost their election. In Recognition of Their Commitment to Strengthening US-Israel Relations:
Sen. Kelly Ayotte
Sen. Mark Kirk
Angie Craig
Rep. Scott Garrett
Rep. Denise Gitsham
David Gurfein
Baron Hill (Dropped out)
Jack Martins
Dr. Phil Rosenthal
Rep. Steve Santarsiero

We are hopeful that some of the members that lost re-election will continue their public service in the Trump-Pence administration. 
 
 
 
 
 
Congratulations

To Drs. Ben & Esther Chouake on the wedding of their daughter Atara to Adam Roth 

Robert and Irene Gottesman on the marriage of their daughter Elaine to Jason Katz

Adele and Larry Diener on the marriage of their son Jason to Marcy Guttman.  

Connie and Dr Alan Kadish on the marriage of their daughter Tova to Ben Bond

To David & Dina Steinberg on the engagement of their son, Dani, to Melanie Miller of Hollywood, FL.
 
 
 
 
 
NORPAC Legislative Efforts

There were several important legislative efforts in Congress over the past months to bolster US-Israel relations. Most of these were part of our Mission to Washington 2016 Talking Points.

Congress Authorizes $600 Million in Defense Funds to Israel
On December 8th, the Senate passed legislation to strongly bolster U.S.-Israel defense cooperation by authorizing a total of $600.7 million for U.S.-Israel missile defense cooperation in the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). These funds will help Israel defend its citizens against rocket and missile threats, and will further America’s own missile defense programs.
Provisions in the legislation specifically authorize:
-$268.7 million in research and development funding for U.S.-Israel cooperative missile and rocket defense programs;
-$62 million for procurement of the Iron Dome rocket defense system;
-$150 million for procurement of the David’s Sling missile defense system; and
-$120 million for procurement of the Arrow-3 missile defense system.
The House of Representatives passed their version of the bill, spearheaded by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) and Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA), a week prior.

Iran Sanctions Act Reauthorization
On Thursday, December 15th, extension of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) became law. The U.S. Senate passed a bill by a vote of 99-0 to renew ISA in the beginning of the month, and on November 15th, the bipartisan Royce-Engel ISA reauthorization bill passed in the House by a vote of 419 - 1. The full roll call is available here.

Anti-BDS Law in House of Representatives
On November 14th, U.S. Representatives Peter J. Roskam (R-IL) and Juan Vargas (D-CA) introduced the Protecting Israel Against Economic Discrimination Act to push back against the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. This bill specifically combats attempts by intergovernmental bodies such as the United Nations to engage in politically-charged economic warfare against Israel. U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

Pennsylvania signs Anti-BDS Law
On November 8th, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed a bill requiring state-affiliated companies to certify that they do not boycott or discriminate against sovereign states, including Israel, calling it a “productive and just response to a counter-productive and unjust campaign against the Jewish state.” We thank Pennsylvania and the other 14 US states who have taken the initiative to legislate a productive and just response to a counter-productive and unjust campaign against Israel.

US-Israel Joint Cyber Security
On November 29th, the US Congress voted by a large majority in favor of two bills to promote US-Israel cooperation on cyber security research.

The United States-Israel Cybersecurity Cooperation Enhancement Act of 2016 will establish a grant program for joint R&D projects focusing on detecting and combatting cyber threats. Grants will be provided to joint ventures between Israeli and US companies, non-profit entities, academic institutions or government entities in both countries. Grants will be provided only for projects which are not considered classified in Israel or the US. The program will run for seven years after the law comes into effect.

The United States-Israel Advanced Research Partnership Act expands a binational R&D program run by the US Department of Homeland Security and Israel's Ministry of Public Security. The program is aimed at helping new products overcome the 'valley of death' between initial research and a successful product commercialization. This legislation will expand the program to include cyber security research.

Israel and the UN
The United Nations has continued its biased rhetoric against Israel in November. On November 8th, the U.N. General Assembly began voting on 10 resolutions against Israel, and three for the rest of the world combined. Again, Jewish holy sites were not recognized by their Judaeo-Christian names, but rather only by their Islamic nomer. You can read more here.

A Royce-Engel bipartisan House Resolution passed on November 29th reaffirming America's support for bilateral negotiations between Israel and the PA, and expressing the sense of Congress that the US must reject any UN Resolution to impose a peace settlement.

Please thank your Members of Congress for their actions this month on behalf of US-Israel relations.
 
 
 
 
 
NORPAC Speaks to the Community

On November 21st, NORPAC's Avi Schranz spoke at Ilan High School in Deal, NJ to kick off the school's pro-Israel club. Headed by teacher Miriam Kassin, the club meets each month to discuss issues of importance to the US-Israel relationship and what can be done on the legislative level to help. Students who are part of the club will be joining NORPAC for the Mission to Washington on Wednesday, May 10th.

We continue our outreach to the community and have both staff and lay leaders available to speak to community groups about the importance and effectiveness of Political Advocacy.

Anyone who wishes to have a NORPAC speaker come to a school or shul should please contact Avi Schranz at avi@norpac.net
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Upcoming Events
 
 
 
 
 
Congresswoman Lois Frankel (D-FL)
TBD

NORPAC welcomes back Congresswoman Lois Frankel (D-FL) to a Queens event hosted by David & Dina Steinberg on Sunday, October 30th.

An ardent supporter of Israel’s status in the international arena, Lois has cosponsored bills and written letters against UN efforts to demonize and delegitimize Israel. Lois has taken the lead in speaking on the House floor in honor of Israel’s Independence Day and emphasized her unwavering commitment to protect Israel and foster U.S.-Israeli relations. Most recently, Lois co-sponsored bipartisan resolutions expressing concern over anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement within the Palestinian Authority, and in support of U.S.-Israeli economic cooperation, respectively.

Rep. Frankel stood up to party pressure and voted against the JCPOA (Iran Deal) in 2015. She deserves non-partisan recognition and support for this courageous act.
 
 
 
 
 
Senator John Thune (R-SD)
Senator John Thune will be joining us for his first NORPAC event, hosted by Drs. Alan and Marc Berger later this year.

John Thune is Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference. He is pushing hard to make sure that the United States Senate is doing its job in support of Israel, making sure that they are able to defend themselves, and that the funding for the Iron Dome which has been so effective as a defense mechanism against Hamas rocket attacks is funded in a way that allows Israel to continue to use it in that capability.
 
 
 
 
 
Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ)

Senator Robert Menendez is running for re-election. Many of our members have been active in his legal defense fund. We are optimistic about his prospects for full vindication and are now working on the re-election campaign of this hero for US-Israel relations. 
Moshael Straus will be chairing our first event for Senator Menendez this cycle at a date soon to be announced. For those wishing to participate please contact bchouake@aol.com.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Upcoming Events (Dates Pending)
 
 
 
 
 
Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA)

Michael Wildes welcomes Congressman Ted Lieu to a NORPAC event.

In 2014, Ted W. Lieu was elected to California’s 33rd Congressional District, succeeding retiring 40-year incumbent Henry Waxman.  Ted was elected president of the Democratic Freshman class by his colleagues and serves on the House Budget Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Ted was one of the courageous MoCs who voted against the Iran deal because of its many fatal flaws.
 
 
 
 
 
Congressman Leonard Lance (R-NJ)

NORPAC's Edison & Highland Park chapter looks forward to welcoming Rep. Leonard Lance to an event chaired by Robert Kreitman later this year.

Congressman Leonard Lance serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and he is Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade.

Lance currently leads the House Congressional Israel Caucus for 114th Congress. "Israel is the preeminent democracy in the Middle East and a steadfast partner of the United States.  Together our Nations have worked collaboratively toward common interests and goals including the safety, security and freedom of all people around the world.  Our work in the Caucus will continue to facilitate cooperation between our two Nations,” said Lance.

Please join us in support of this event later this year.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Recent Past Events
 
 
 
 
 
Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH)
Monday, December 12th

From Left: Dr. Laurie Baumel, Rep. Chabot

NORPAC welcomed back Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH) to a Teaneck event hosted by Drs. Manuel Litchman & Laurie Baumel.

During and after having served as the Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee from 2011-2012, Steve made several trips to Israel to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss the US-Israel partnership and ways to develop more jointly cooperative programs in the military and technology spheres, respectively.

Steve recently co-signed a bipartisan letter to Ambassador Samantha Powers, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and U.S. Ambassador Crystal Nix-Hines, U.S. Permanent Representative to UNESCO, urging them to use the full voice, vote, and influence of the United States to defeat a measure that attempted to erase the Jewish connection to holy sites in Israel.

 
 
 
 
 
Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA)
Manhattan, NY



NORPAC welcomed back Congressman Ed Royce at an event in Manhattan on October 10th hosted by David Jaroslawicz.

Congressman Royce is Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, one of the most important Congressional committees responsible for bolstering US-Israel relations. In his leadership position, Royce has authored virtually every piece of key Iran legislation in the House, and he has been instrumental in pushing forward joint military and technological cooperation bills.
 
 
 
 
 
Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ)
Teaneck, NJ

David & Rena Schlussel welcomed back Congressman Chris Smith to a NORPAC event in Teaneck in September.

Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), senior member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a strong supporter of American-Israeli relations, recently led the vote for the No 2H20 from Iran Act (H.R. 5119) which would block the administration from conducting future purchases of material from Iran’s nuclear program.

Additionally, along with colleagues in the House, Smith took another critical step to block further administration concessions to the Iranian regime by passing the United States Financial System Protection Act of 2016 (H.R. 4992) on July 14. This measure would prevent the administration from granting Iran direct or indirect access to U.S. dollars and the U.S. banking system.
 
 
 
 
 
Senator Tim Scott (R-SC)
Englewood, NJ

From the top-left: Adam Sasouness, Senator Scott, Dana Sasouness

NORPAC welcomed back Senator Tim Scott to a NORPAC event in Englewood on September 11th hosted by Adam & Dana Sasouness.

Senator Scott has been a long-time ally of US-Israel relations from his brief tenure at the House of Representatives through his  quick rise to the Senate. During Israel's independence day this year, Scott stated that "I will continue to fight for stronger sanctions on Iran and for the complete eradication of their nuclear program – our nation, our ally Israel, and frankly the entire world simply cannot risk anything less."

Tim Scott recently co-signed a bipartisan letter to urge the Administration to quickly renew and strengthen the security Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Israel to provide it with the defensive resources it so desperately needs.
 
 
 
 
 
Congressman Scott Garrett (R-NJ)
Upper Saddle River, NJ

From Left: Allen Levinson, Rep. Scott Garrett, Dr. Ben Chouake, Kevin Lemmer

NORPAC welcomed Congressman Scott Garrett on August 28th to an event chaired by Kevin Lemmer and Allen Levinson in Upper Saddle River, NJ.
 
 
 
 
 
Senator Richard Burr (R-NC)
Riverdale, NY 

From Left: Howard Jonas, Sen. Burr

Howard & Debbie Jonas welcomed Senator Richard Burr to a NORPAC Riverdale event on July 10th.

Burr is chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Last year, he issued the following statement about the Iran deal: "Several Americans are currently held in Iran, and the regime continues to be the largest supporter of terrorism in the world," Burr said. "Through the work of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the American people and Congress have the right to evaluate this deal and let their voices be heard."

Senator Burr recently co-signed a bipartisan letter headed by Sen.s Chris Coons (D-DE) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) urging the Administration to quickly conclude a strengthened Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to provide Israel with the resources it needs to defend itself. The current MOU expires 2018.
 
 
 
 
 
Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL)
Englewood, NJ


From Left: Sen. Kirk, Scott & Abigail Herschmann

From Left: Sen. Kirk, Yehuda Blinder

NORPAC proudly welcomed back Senator Mark Kirk to an Englewood event hosted by Scott Herschmann & Yehuda Blinder on June 23rd.

Senator Kirk's reputation as a staunch supporter of US-Israel relations is among the most notable in Congress. He has not only been a key sponsor on almost every pro-Israel bill, but he has also personally introduced many of them. His ability to keep Israel a non-partisan issue by finding co-sponsors on the other side of the aisle has also kept this relationship strong.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Seeking Hosts for Events

We like to host as many Senators and important House members as we can each election cycle.

We are seeking hosts for events for the following candidates at this time:

Senate Members:
Arizona - Jeff Flake (Republican)
Connecticut - Chris Murphy (Democratic)
Delaware - Tom Carper (Democratic)
Florida - Bill Nelson (Democratic)
Hawaii - Mazie Hirono (Democratic)
Indiana - Joe Donnelly (Democratic)
Maine - Angus King Independent
Maryland - Ben Cardin (Democratic)
Massachusetts - Elizabeth Warren (Democratic)
Michigan - Debbie Stabenow (Democratic)
Minnesota - Amy Klobuchar (Democratic)
Mississippi - Roger Wicker (Republican)
Missouri - Claire McCaskill (Democratic)
Montana - Jon Tester (Democratic)
Nebraska - Deb Fischer (Republican)
Nevada - Dean Heller (Republican)
New Jersey - Bob Menendez (Democratic)
New Mexico - Martin Heinrich (Democratic)
New York - Kirsten Gillibrand (Democratic)
North Dakota - Heidi Heitkamp (Democratic)
Ohio - Josh Mandel (Republican)
Pennsylvania - Bob Casey, (Democratic)
Rhode Island - Sheldon Whitehouse (Democratic)
Tennessee - Bob Corker (Republican)
Texas - Ted Cruz (Republican)
Utah - Orrin Hatch (Republican)
Virginia - Tim Kaine (Democratic)
Washington - Maria Cantwell (Democratic)
West Virginia - Joe Manchin (Democratic)
Wisconsin - Tammy Baldwin (Democratic)
Wyoming - John Barrasso (Republican)

House Members
Representative Carolyn Maloney
Representative Alcee Hastings
Representative Josh Gottheimer

Time to step into the Ring (Host an Event)
Now that we have had the Mission to Washington, here comes the followup. We are busy contacting the Members and staffers, working to form relationships, and hopefully solidifying key contacts with Members.

Sponsoring a parlor meeting in your home is a sign of friendship and leadership, and is well-recognized by the Members of Congress. It sets you in an elite class of citizen advocates that is engaged both on a time and energy basis, and a financial basis. If you wish to take such a leadership role please contact me at bchouake@aol.com
 
 
 
 
 
My family hobby

I have told my family that parking tickets is much different than collecting stamps and also more expensive. Collecting stamps is a hobby. Collecting tickets is making Uber look less expensive than a car. If Uber gets child seats, it will be a complete transition. 
 
 
 
 
 
Educational Initiative

The college campus climate against Israel and Jews has gotten overtly hostile, and the NORPAC leadership has taken the task to help protect and prepare our students. NORPAC lay leadership is coordinating with the Yeshiva Day Schools to facilitate training students for Jewish Advocacy.  We plan to teach them how to defend Israel and themselves as Jews in class, how to debate, practice public speaking, and how to address fellow students about these issues.

Training our high school students is the most cost efficient and most effective way to prepare the next generation for what lies ahead.

NORPAC has posted curriculum from various sources on the Website and our members are engaged with the schools in setting up the programs and integrating advocacy knowledge and skills into the school curriculum. For anyone interested in a leadership role at their school, please contact avi@norpac.net or bchouake@aol.com.

Current lay leaders funding this initiative at various schools include:
Abigail & Scott Herschmann, Monique & Mort Katz, Anne & Jerry Gontownik, Esther & Paul Lerer, Esther & Ben Chouake.

We are looking for additional lay leaders for this Student Advocacy team. Please contact me or Avi if you are willing to help. 

We applaud Rabbi Ciner and Dr. Stein for implementing a national model of student advocacy training at Frisch Yeshiva High School. We thank the staff at Myaanot for initiating their program as well. 
 
 
 
 
 
Renew Your Donation

Pray for the safety of the IDF and Israel, and do something more. Donate to - and participate with - NORPAC, an organization in the front lines of virtually every struggle to ensure the survival of the Jewish homeland. Our work gives Jerusalem greater agency to protect its people.

The NORPAC general fund is becoming depleted with the enormous volume of events we have sponsored. It is our responsibility to contribute so that this miracle in our lifetime can continue.  Please do your part so that we can continue to facilitate the survival of America, Israel, and the Jewish people. Your donation is more than Tzedakah (charity), it is Pikuach Nefesh (saving lives).

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, MD (Dr Ben)
 
 
 
 
Paid for by NORPAC