NORPAC July 2019 Newsletter
 
 
 
 
 
Dr. BenMessage from Dr. Ben

The 2020 election cycle is well under way and the rhetoric is
intensifying by the day.  With the exception of very few issues, bipartisanship in Washington is at a nadir (low point) and it is increasingly likely that the country will have jolts of change in policy all of which historically have been difficult times for Jews in the Diaspora. This is not meant as a criticism of our blessed America. Jewish Americans have gotten and given greatly to our country, largely conceived and governed as a meritocracy. It is worthwhile to be prepared because severe changes in domestic policy may affect the positive climate for Jewish Americans.

In the last ten years the anti-Zionist camp in American politics has become more competent and effective. It is incumbent upon the community active in US-Israel relations to avoid complacency and understand that we have significant competition for the ears of our leadership and fellow citizens.

Missed opportunity
In Queens there was a successful election of a 31 year old for progressive DA of the county who has as her associations and friends Linda Sarsour and AOC. She won by about 1000 votes in a low turnout primary. (about 31000 to 32000 in all of Queens County with a population of 2.4 million). The percentage of voters going to the polls in the Jewish communities in Queens was tragically low. The percentage of voting age young people in these communities that are either unregistered to vote or fail to vote is an embarrassment. The Jewish community is not generally known for being lazy or stupid but our voting percentages in these elections would indicate we deserve these titles. Our diligence, especially with low turnout primary races, needs dramatic improvement or we will find ourselves under the foot of leaders antagonistic to our community. 

Casting your vote in a primary election is like purchasing Apple Stock at 15. You get over 10 times your proportionate value. Please make the effort to have everyone in your household registered, and to vote especially in these low turnout races.

Iran
Iran has significant or dominant influence in the capitols of 5 countries- its own country Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen. It has used the vast financial windfall from the JCPOA to expand a Shiite crescent of influence from Afghanistan to the Mediterranean sea. Due to the re-imposition of American sanctions they have run out of money very quickly. They overspent in an aggressive pursuit of a regional hegemony.

​​​​​​​The value of their currency is plummeting. Tehran's solution seems to be military aggression against the free passage of commerce through the Persian Gulf and waterways. I predict this will soon find a response from international interests that will protect their own ships. President Trump has made clear it is not our job alone to protect these shipping lanes, as we have for decades at sole American taxpayer expense.

Syria
America wants Iran out of Syria and it is likely that this is a shared goal with Russia. The civil war is largely over and hopefully President Assad of Syria will be too busy rebuilding his shattered country to make too much trouble elsewhere. Although the Iranian influence in Syria and Lebanon runs deep, the ability to project power is more limited because Iran is broke. Assad for his part has managed to stay as head of state in one of the most turbulent places in the world by ruthless elimination of his rebel and civilian adversaries and avoiding open conflict with Israel. Israel has reciprocated by chiefly targeting Iranian controlled interests in the region. The exception being the several hundred North Korean engineers that were vacationing (building a nuclear plant) in Syria before the civil war broke out. 

BDS
The Norpac mission advanced the resolution in the Senate and House against BDS and was an educational opportunity for us to explain to members of congress the anti-Semitic nature of the BDS movement. Since our mission 5 weeks ago we have doubled the number of anti-BDS sponsors. We have seen a change in the last couple of months in that the BDS movement has stalled because more people see it as bigotry rather than morality. Congratulations to the mission participants for a job well done. 

The 2020 election
While there is concern among Democrats about the very wide field of candidates, this competition spurs interest, and news coverage. A robust competition will likely help evolve a well vetted strong candidate for the party.

Immigration as an issue will appeal to some people with relatives abroad and to many with compassion for the poor, but less to those trying to keep their jobs from a flood of inexpensive labor. Health care will be a potential good issue for the democrats as so many people are disgusted at the arrogance of and mistreatment by health insurance carriers. This will be a  vulnerability for Republicans as socialized medicine seems progressively more attractive than the current system of being subject to the whims and unethical practices of greedy insurers. 

We are disappointed when candidates like Mayor Pete Buttigieg slam Israel and those living in settlements in Judea-Samaria (the West Bank). He and Bernie Sanders have threatened to cut aide to Israel. If these areas were to be turned over to the PA, they would clear out or kill every Jew and Christian. Under current law in the PA controlled area, Pete and his husband would receive the death sentence for gay practice and marriage. We are seeing, for some candidates, political pandering trumps (adjective not noun) sensibilities and a good moral compass. Fortunately, the vast majority of Democratic candidates have a solid record on US-Israel relations.
The stock market appreciation has been a windfall for more than just wall street. Almost every state, municipality, and most large companies have severe shortfalls in their pension fund and have been largely bailed out from bankruptcy by the stock market climbing almost 50 percent in the last two years. This is something the President and his party may wish to promote as a talking point. A thriving Dow Jones lifts all boats and is the salvation for the retirement and pension savings of most Americans.

The Senate, the House, and executive branch are up for grabs. We continue to work on a nonpartisan basis to promote US-Israel relations and due to the incredible participation of a host of Norpac leaders are hosting a record number of Members of Congress each year. The good will of this work goes a long way.
 
 
 
 
 
NORPAC Member of the Month:
Dr. Munr Kazmir

Each month we recognize the accomplishments of our members and community leaders who help to advance the cause of pro-Israel advocacy. This month we express our great appreciation to Dr. Munr Kazmir of Closter, NJ.

Dr. Munr Kazmir is a doctor, businessman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. His accomplishments range from being a dedicated CEO, to avid supporter of human rights and education throughout the world.

Dr. Kazmir serves on the Board of Governors of the Republican Jewish Coalition, Chabad House, and Anti-Defamation League (ADL), among others. He has been a member of the Rabbinical College of America (RCA) Board of Trustees since 2001, and a currently serves as Vice President of the American Jewish Congress (AJC).

Dr. Kazmir became a board member of NORPAC in 2010, and he has since hosted numerous candidates and sitting members in Congressional, as well as Presidential, elections in his house to promote the U.S.-Israel relationship. National leaders who have been to his home include former President George W. Bush, Senators Ben Cardin, Tim Scott, Kirsten Gillibrand, Chris Coons, and Jeanne Shaheen, Bob Corker, Charles Grassley, former House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Ed Royce, and current House Foreign Affairs Ranking Member Michael McCaul, Congressmen Deutch, Norcross, Estes, Pascrell, Rothman and numerous other members of congress.

He was a key advocate in convincing former Governor Chris Christie to approve 22 million dollars in security funding for private schools in NJ.

Dr. Munr Kazmir greatly inspires us through his leadership in pro-Israel advocacy and numerous projects to help people around the globe. We look forward to continuing our work with him to advance these most worthy causes.
 
 
 
 
 
 
NORPAC Mission 2019 Follow-Up

More than 1,100 people signed up to join us on the NORPAC Mission last month to meet with our national leadership to advocate for stronger US-Israel relations. Topics included continued aid to Israel, sanctions on Hamas and Hezbollah, countering BDS, and continued security cooperation. You can see our Talking Points online here.

Now that it has been some time since the trip, we urge all those who attended to follow up with the offices in which you met during Mission day. Specifically, inquire about sponsorship on the legislation and Resolution that we discussed.

Attendance is crucial, but following up and keeping a dialogue open with these offices is the key to ensuring that these issues make their way through Congress.

We thank all of our Mission Lay Leaders and the Chairs for their tremendous efforts: Dr. Laurie Baumel, David Steinberg and Trudy Stern as our Mission Chairs, Jeff Schreiber as Logistics Chair, and Allen Friedman as Talking Points Chair this year.
 
 
 
 
 
U.S.-Israel Relations in the News​​​​​​​ 

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made improving trade relations with Israel a priority for his administration in a trip last month to Israel. Along with visits to various sites and speaking about the importance of US-Israel relations, DeSantis unveiled and signed an important anti-Semitism bill for his State that helps crack down against BDS.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Upcoming Events
 
 
 
 
 
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Sunday, July 14 - Englewood, NJ
From Left: Howard Jonas, Sen. Graham, Dr. Ben Chouake

The Jonas Family welcomes back Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to a NORPAC event in Englewood on Sunday, July 14th.
 
 
 
 
 
Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD)
Thursday, July 18 - Teaneck, NJ

From Left: Esther Fridman, Sen. Rounds, Mort Fridman

NORPAC Teaneck welcomes back Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD) on Thursday evening, July 18th.
 
 
 
 
 
Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ)
Sunday, July 21 - Englewood, NJ

David & Esther Muschel welcome Senator Martha McSally to an Englewood event on Sunday Evening July 21
 
 
 
 
 
Congressman Brad Schneider (D-IL)
Wednesday, July 31 - Teaneck, NJ

From Left: Allen Friedman, Rep. Brad Schneider

Congressman Brad Schneider (D-IL) will be hosted in Teaneck, NJ by Rachel & Allen Friedman.
 
 
 
 
 
Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL)
Sunday, September 22 - Teaneck, NJ

From Left: Dr. Robert Goodman, Rep. Deutch, Sarah Goodman

The Goodman Family welcome back Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL) to their home on Sunday, September 22nd.
 
 
 
 
 
Upcoming Events (Dates Pending)
 
 
 
 
 
Upcoming Events (Later 2019)

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) - Event Chairs: Rena & David Schlussel
 

Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) - Event Chairs: The Stern Family

From Left: Trudy Stern, Leader McConnell, Stanley Stern


Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) - Event Chairs: Debbie & Michael Blumenthal
 


Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) - Event Hosts: Irene & Robert Gottesman
 


Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) - Event Chair: Debbie & Michael Blumenthal


Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) - Event Chairs: Richard Schlussel & Avi Samuels

From Left: Elisabeth & Avi Samuels, Dr. Ben Chouake, Sen. Risch
From Left: Dr Richie Schlussel, Sen. Risch


Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) - Event Chair: Jason Muss



Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) - Event Chairs: Esther & Paul Lerer


Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) Event Chairs Shari & Nathan J Lindenbaum

From Left: Nathan & Shari Lindenbaum, Majority Leader Hoyer
 
 
 
 
 
Recent Past Events
 
 
 
 
 
Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY)
Sunday, June 30 - Riverdale, NY

From Left: Joshua Landes, Rep. Eliot Engel, Bryna Landes
 
Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, will be hosted in his district at the home of Bryna & Joshua Landes for a brunch event on Sunday, June 30th.
 
 
 
 
 
Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
Sunday, June 23 - Englewood, NJ

From Left: Kevin & Lori Lemmer, Senator Capito, Lemmer Family
 
 
 
 
 
Congressman Dan Lipinski (D-IL)
Monday, June 17 - Teaneck, NJ

From Left: Miriam Pfeiffer, Congressman Lipinski, Allen Pfeiffer
 
 
 
 
 
Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Sunday, June 16 - Englewood, NJ

From Left: Dr. Ben Chouake, Sen. McConnell, Jerry Gontownik
 
 
 
 
 
Congressman Dan Crenshaw (R-TX)
Sunday, June 2 - Five Towns, NY


From Left: Ruth Jungreis, Rep. Crenshaw, Aaron Jungreis
 
 
 
 
 
Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE)
Thursday, May 30 - Teaneck, NJ

From Left: Esther Fridman, Sen. Sasse, Mort Fridman
 
 
 
 
 
Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-NY)
Wednesday, May 29th in Cedarhurst, NY

From Left: Congressman Lee Zeldin, Esther & Baruch Weinstein
 
 
 
 
 
Senator Steve Daines (R-MT)
Sunday, May 19 - Englewood, NJ

From Left: Adam Sasouness, Sen. Daines
 
 
 
 
 
Senator Chris Coons (D-DE)
Sunday, May 19 - Closter, NJ

From Left: Dr. Ben Chouake, Sen. Coons
(Hosted by The Kazmir Family)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Seeking Hosts and To-Be-Scheduled 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:
Doug Jones (D-AL)
Dan Sullivan (R-AK)
David Perdue (R-GA)
Dick Durbin (D-IL)
Ed Markey (D-MA)
Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) Event chairs William Weiss and Leon Kozak
Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
​​Thom Tillis (R-NC)
Jeff Merkley (D-OR) 
Jack Reed (D-RI) Event Chair Mort Fridman
John Cornyn (R-TX) Event Chair Esther & Paul Lerer
Mark Warner (D-VA)
John Thune (R-SD) Event Chairs Marc & Allan Berger

House Members
Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
John Lewis D (GA) Event Chair Mayor Michael Wildes
James Clyburn (D-SC)
Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM)
Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY)
Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) 
Steve Scalise (R-LA)
Liz Cheney (R-WY)
Gary Palmer (R-AL)
Nita Lowey (D-NY) Event Chair Ezra Lightman
Kay Granger (R-TX)
Adam Smith (D-WA)
Mac Thornberry (R-TX)
John Yarmuth (D-KY)
Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)
Alcee Hastings​​​​​​​ (D-NY)
Donald Norcross (D-NJ) Event Chair Mayor Michael Wildes


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
 
 
 
 
 
Dark Chocolate
Recent studies have indicated dark chocolate is good for coughing. Better in fact than codeine. While I admit this is a very tough sell to patients I treat who are suffering from severe coughing, I do try to make the pitch. I get a ten for honesty and a two for being believed. 

Sort of like telling your young kids how good spinach is for you. How many of us were successful at that?
 
 
 
 
 
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, and 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. 
 
 
 
 
 
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)
President NORPAC
 
 
 
 
Paid for by NORPAC
 
 
  
 
 
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