NORPAC July 2016 Newsletter
|Message from the President
The news is dominated by the American
Presidential Election. The nominees are taking great pains to
put each other in a bad light. No candidate, and almost no
person, can be a national name and have been involved with hundreds, if
not thousands, of projects and issues by the age of 70 without
plenty of cannon fodder for criticism. This has thus been a race where
both candidates have unprecedented negative perceptions, despite
long records of achievement.
In this election, with both candidates
either having a solid record and/or family ties to issues regarding
US-Israel relations, the vote for our community will be largely about
trust or concern about other issues. It is remarkable to live in a
country where both candidates for office have grandchildren
that recently had a Bris. God bless America.
Each candidate is staking out positions
they believe will be attractive to the electorate. For Hillary Clinton
the opportunity to vote for the first woman president will be
compelling to many. Donald Trump has defined himself as a problem solver
that is not bought and sold by fundraising, which is attractive to
those who believe DC is corrupted by the slush funds before, during, and
after office. Demographics favor a Democrat in this race, but the swing
states where many middle class families that have been badly hurt
by the loss of manufacturing jobs creates a balance in an election where
Trump has promised a solution to their pain.
The Theocracy in Tehran continues its
malevolent activities, threatening and acting upon death to Israel and
America. The slaughter of Syrian civilians by Iranian-backed Assad
is now estimated at 300,000 with a refugee crisis spilling into Turkey,
Jordan, and the West. They have armed Hezbollah with more and upgraded
weapons, the likes and numbers of which will overwhelm any anti-missile
system currently available. This likely ensures the next conflict with
Lebanon to be very damaging with far greater casualties to both sides as
less restraint will be possible. The infusion of funding from the JCPOA
makes Iran stronger and more formidable. It is both discouraging and
ominous hearing the reports of Iran seeking nuclear weapon equipment and
materials through Germany via proxies.
It is apparent that Assad, with
his Iranian, Hezbollah, and Russian Allies, has gained the
upper hand in this conflict. Expect a continuing ethnic cleansing of
Sunnis from Syria. The most effective force against Assad and Syria and
its allies is ISIS. Unfortunately ISIS has taken the tactical strategy
of being the world leading terror organization, thereby putting
themselves as a target not only from the Shiites, but from the West as
well. Expect Syria to remain in the hands of Assad and for the civil war
to be largely over in the next year.
This is played out on the battlefield
in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. Saudi Arabia and Iran are the leaders
in the conflict. The battle has been economic as well with the
Saudis (Sunni) pumping out as much oil as possible to inhibit the
economic development of the oil industry in Shiite Iraq and Iran.
With ISIS expected to collapse in the coming months, the Shiite Crescent
of influence from Iran to Lebanon will be a major strategic problem for
Israel and Jordan. Turkey is in turmoil, which plays into the hands of
increasing Shiite influence in the region.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the de facto
ruler and dictator in Turkey for the last 10 years, has dissolved any
pretense of democracy by arresting tens of thousands of opponents,
canceling media outlets, and arresting Judges.
This has been in the planning for some
years, and made more pressing by his party election losses. Expect an
Islamic Radical Regime in Turkey committed to the demise of Israel and
making necessary a withdrawal of NATO from an increasingly hostile
environment in this key geographic location.
NORPAC Members of the Month:
David & Rena Schlussel
From Left: David & Rena Schlussel
Each month, we feature member(s) of our
community who have shown exceptional commitment and passion in
support of the US-Israel relationship. We proudly recognize on this
month David & Rena Schlussel of Teaneck.
David Schlussel graduated from Yale
University with a Bachelors in Mathematics and he received
a Masters from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He served on
the Maywood, NJ CCG working with the US Department of Energy, the US
Army Corps of Engineers, and the NJ Department of Environmental
Protection. In 2009, Governor Jon S. Corzine appointed David to the
Board of Trustees of Ramapo College of New Jersey. He is co-owner and
manager of Key Properties LLC, a Real Estate company in Bergen County.
formerly the President and Chairman of NORPAC, is currently its
Chairman Emeritus. David is also on the National Council of AIPAC.
In these leadership roles, he and his wife Rena have hosted many
Congressional leaders at their home, including Senator Charles Schumer
(D-NJ), Senator Sue Collins (R-ME), Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and
Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ). During its early formative years,
David was a leading light and the banner carrier of NORPAC.
a member of the NORPAC Talking Points Committee and former Committee
Chair, David also helped formulate our legislative agenda for the
Mission to Washington. This year he was instrumental in
getting Senate offices to draft the Collins-Nelson letter urging
the administration to prevent Iran from gaining access to the US dollar
clearing system. This letter was signed by 35 members of the Senate and was recently sent to the President.
Rena, an attorney-trained mediator at
Safe Horizon Mediation Centers and the New York City court system, is
presently the chair of the Netivot Shalom Israel Action Committee. She
served on the synagogue's board for many years, as well as on its
membership committee. She also is a board member of The Frisch School's
Parent Association, and a member of the UJA NNJ Berrie Leadership
We are inspired by and proud of the work
David has accomplished with his 20+ years of involvement in
NORPAC. His leadership and guidance still drives our organization's
presence and success on Capitol Hill to advocate for a stronger
NORPAC Legislative Efforts
There were several important
legislative efforts in Congress over the past month to bolster US-Israel
relations. Most of these were part of our Mission to Washington Talking Points.
Foreign Aid to Israel
The funding in regard to the current Memorandum of
Understanding (MoU), which comes through the Foreign Affairs
Appropriation Subcommittees, should be full at about 3.1 billion
dollars. The supplemental funding for Israeli Missile Defense, which
comes though the Armed Services Committee and its companion
Appropriations Committee, is in current flux regarding
the level of funding.
On the authorization side, while the House-passed NDAA fully funds
U.S.-Israel missile defense programs at $601 million, the Senate-passed
version only authorizes $280.8 million for these programs. On the
appropriations side, however, Senators Kirk (R-IL) and Gillibrand (D-NY)
successfully persuaded the Senate appropriations committee in June
2016 to fully fund these programs at $601 million. The House
defense appropriations bill also fully funds these programs.
Senators Kirk and Kirsten Gillibrand led 36 Senators in a
bipartisan letter to urge full funding for U.S.-Israel missile defense
cooperation programs amid growing missile/rocket threats from Iran,
Hezbollah and Hamas. The Kirk-led letter comes as congressional
lawmakers work to resolve differences in the Senate- and House-passed
versions of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year
2017 (NDAA), an annual bill to authorize the Pentagon’s military
36 Senators, including 19 Republicans and 17 Democrats, signed the
Kirk-Gillibrand letter: Mark Kirk (R-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand
(D-NY), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH),
Gary C. Peters (D-MI), David Vitter (R-LA), Edward J. Markey (D-MA),
Cory Gardner (R-CO), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Richard
Blumenthal (D-CT), Roger F. Wicker (R-MS), Charles E. Schumer (D-NY),
Thom Tillis (R-NC), Ron Wyden (D-OR), James M. Inhofe (R-OK), Robert
Menendez (D-NJ), David A. Perdue (R-GA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), James
E. Risch (R-ID), Michael F. Bennet (D-CO), Lisa Murkoswki (R-AK), Bill
Nelson (D-FL), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mark Warner (D-VA), Steve Daines (R-MT),
Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Robert P. Casey, Jr.
(D-PA), John Boozman (R-AR), Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Johnny Isakson
(R-GA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Tim Scott (R-NC), and John Thune (R-SD).
New Memorandum of Understanding
Bipartisan House Resolution 729 has
garnered over 270 co-sponsors as of July. The Resolution Expresses
support for the expeditious consideration and finalization of a new,
robust, and long-term Memorandum of Understanding on military assistance
to Israel between the United States Government and the Government of
Israel. The negotiations have been difficult and the Administration has
been uncharacteristically tightfisted in this process, especially
given the impact of their generosity to Iran.
Holding Iran Accountable
Reauthorizing the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA):
There is a current struggle between a
simple reauthorization of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) favored by the
Democrats and something stronger with additional sections and less
executive wavers. The two initiatives are listed below.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-MD), Senate Democratic Policy Committee
Chair Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), and 12 other Senate Democrats
introduced legislation to renew the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996,
which is set to expire at the end of this year.
Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) introduced the Countering Iranian Threats Act of 2016.
This bipartisan bill expands sanctions for ballistic missile
development, support for terrorism, and other illicit Iranian actions;
sanctions transfers of conventional weapons to or from Iran; and extends
the Iran Sanctions Act.
Preventing Iranian Access to the US Dollar Clearing System
On July 8th, the Collins-Nelson letter
urging the Administration to continue the long-standing American policy
concerning Iran’s access to the dollar clearing system was sent to the
President with dozens of Senate signatures. This initiative was one
of our Mission Talking Points and was made possible in part due to work
of our Chairman Emeritus, David Schlussel. You can view the letter here.
Opposing Efforts to Bypass Direct Negotiations
S. Con. Res. 35
and H. Con. Res. 128
concurrent resolution expressing the sense of Congress that the United
States should continue to exercise its veto in the United Nations
Security Council on resolutions regarding the Israeli-Palestinian peace
process. Please contact Members of Congress to support this concurrent
Fighting Boycotts Against Israel
Recently New York and other states have passed laws to counter the anti-Semitic BDS movement
. One of the NORPAC Mission initiatives, the Combating BDS Act of 2016
and S. 2531) reaffirms States' rights to divest from companies that boycott Israel.
This legislation now has about 40 sponsors in the Senate and over 137
in the House. Please call your contacts to garner support for this bill.
See current list
NORPAC Speaks to the Community
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 email@example.com
We wish to congratulate the family of
Drs. Ben & Esther Chouake on the engagement of their daughter, Atara
Chouake to Adam Roth.
Congratulations to grandparents Lori
and Harry Reidler and their children Lisa and Noah Elbolgen on the
birth of a baby girl.
Congratulations to Eric Herschmann on his engagement to Orly Ganger.
Congratulations to Jack & Moran Halpern on their recent marriage.
Congratulations to Munr Kazmir on his election as VP of the American Jewish Congress.
Please send any announcements to firstname.lastname@example.org
Congressman Scott Garrett (R-NJ)
NORPAC welcomes back Congressman Scott Garrett in late August to an event chaired by Kevin Lemmer and Allen Levinson.
Congressman Garrett supports the right
of Israel to exist as a sovereign, democratic nation and defend itself
against attacks from neighboring territories. While Congressman
Garrett supports efforts to have peace between Israel and the
Palestinians, he does not believe Israel should jeopardize its security
by creating borders that could potentially leave it vulnerable to attack
The Congressman supports strong ties
with Israel, and is a strong supporter of ensuring that Israel has the
full support of the United States. In the 113th Congress, Congressman
Garrett introduced the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act of 2013.
This important legislation would require that the United States Embassy
in Israel move from its current location in Tel Aviv to Israel’s legal
Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ)
David & Rena Schlussel welcome back Congressman Chris Smith to a NORPAC event in Teaneck in September.
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)
Sunday, September 11th
NORPAC welcomes back Senator Tim Scott to a NORPAC event in NYC on September 11th hosted by Adam Sasouness.
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."
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
Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI)
Dr. Arthur Kook welcomes Senator Ron Johnson to a NORPAC event later this year.
six years ago under the leadership of Senator Joseph Lieberman, at that
time the Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Ron
Johnson created a program of grants to private institutions in need of
added security. Our schools and shuls have benefited from this important
program. Senator Johnson, as the current Chairman of the Senate
Homeland Security Committee, is a key Member of Congress for maintaining
and growing this program.
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.
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)
Edison & Highland Park chapter looks forward to welcoming Rep.
Leonard Lance to an event chaired by Robert Kreitman later this year.
Leonard Lance serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and he
is Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and
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.
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."
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
Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL)
From Left: Sen. Kirk, Scott & Abigail Herschmann
From Left: Sen. Kirk, Yehuda Blinder
proudly welcomed back Senator Mark Kirk to an Englewood event hosted by
Scott Herschmann & Yehuda Blinder on June 23rd.
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
Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ)
Edison, NJFrom Left: Susie Wolf, Rep. Sires, Barry Wolf
welcomed back Congressman Albio Sires at an event hosted by Dr. Barry
& Susie Wolf in Highland Park, NJ on Monday, June 20th.
is the Representative of New Jersey's 8th Congressional District - one
of the most diverse and densely populated in the state - covering most
of Hudson County, part of Newark, and parts of Union and Bergen
Sires serves on two Committees: Foreign Affairs and Transportation and
Infrastructure. On the Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman
Sires is the Ranking Member of the Western
Hemisphere Subcommittee as well as the Europe and Eurasia
Subcommittee. He is focused on improving human rights and freedoms
across the globe and building international partnerships to improve our
Congressman Sires was one of a handful of Democratic House members to vote against the JCPOA (Iran Deal).
Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
Teaneck, NJSenator Kelly Ayotte (Center) with the Rothberg Family
On Thursday, June 16th, NORPAC welcomed back Senator Kelly Ayotte
(R-NH) to an event in Bergen County hosted by Mordy & Eva Rothberg
and Chaired by Mort Fridman.
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
Last year, the Senate passed its
version of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 defense authorization act, which
included the U.S.-Israel Anti-Terror and Drug Tunnel Cooperation
Amendment, introduced by Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Gary Peters
(D-MI) and supported by a group of bipartisan senators.
Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA)
Manhattan, NYFrom Left: Sen. Toomey, Stanley Stern
welcomed Senator Pat Toomey at an event hosted by Ben Heller and
co-chaired by NORPAC's Long Island leaders Stanley & Trudy Stern.
Senator Toomey believes that Israel is
the United States' greatest ally and friend in the Middle East and is
among its best allies in the entire world. Israel is a beacon of
democracy and freedom in an area of the world largely suffering under
dictatorships and political persecution. A strong relationship with
Israel strengthens both countries in the continuing fight against global
Senator Toomey also believes that there
is no place for Hamas or Hezbollah in the future of a peaceful Middle
East. Israel's efforts to defend itself from terrorist-led attacks
should be supported, and we should demand that Palestinian leaders
eradicate terrorist groups like Hamas. Senator Toomey strongly supports
American military aid to, and military cooperation with, Israel. He also
believes the United States should recognize Jerusalem as the capital of
Israel, and he has cosponsored a bill that would move the U.S. embassy
from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Congressman Donald Norcross (D-NJ)
Closter, NJFrom Left: Rep. Norcross, Dr. Munr Kazmir
NORPAC welcomed Congressman Donald Norcross (D-NJ1) to an event hosted by Dr. Munr Kazmir on Thursday night, May 26th.
Norcross serves on the House Armed Services and Budget Committees. His
association with the local Jewish community began at the tender age of
four when he attended nursery school at the JCC. “I remember dressing as
a hamantaschen,” he said.
Norcross voted in favor of providing more than $3-billion in aid to
Israel in 2016 and fully supports the country’s longstanding commitment
under the Memorandum of Understanding. He also cosponsored legislation
to require U.S. companies to disclose their participation in Boycott,
Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) polices that target Israel.
Congressman Norcross was one of a handful of Democratic House members to vote against the JCPOA (Iran Deal).
Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY)
From Left: Joshua Landes, Rep. Engel
NORPAC's Riverdale chapter proudly
welcomed back its very own Congressman, Eliot Engel (D-NY), at an event
Chaired by Harry Fader and hosted by Bryna & Joshua Landes in
Eliot Engel is the Ranking Democrat on
the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He has been one of the leading
advocates of the US-Israel relationship in his more than two decades
long career in Congress, and is currently the #2 Jewish Democrat in the
House. Engel often co-introduces pro-Israel legislation with Republican
Members in order to keep these issues bipartisan. Recently, he
co-sponsored H. Res. 293 along with Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), expressing
concern over anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement within the
Congressman Engel was one of a handful of Democratic House members to vote against the JCPOA (Iran Deal).
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:
Senator Johnny Isakson
Senator Charles Grassley
Senator John McCain
Senator Jerry Moran
Senator James Lankford
Representative Carolyn Maloney
Representative Alcee Hastings
Time to step into the Ring (Host an Event)
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 email@example.com
Seen and not Heard
My arm surgery went OK and although it
put my exercise routine back a few weeks (like I needed an
excuse), I am forcing myself back on the treadmill. Esther is
facing the emotional turmoil of elderly ill parents and I mostly nod my
head in sympathy and try to help where I can. My daughters are back
living with us for a few months and so with all this going on I
have learned to be seen and not heard.
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
Training our high school students is the
most cost efficient and most effective way to prepare the next
generation for what lies ahead.
Current lay leaders funding this initiative at various schools include:
& 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.
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
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)