NORPAC March 2017 Newsletter
|Message from the President
In the news, Trump is taking up most of
the time and attention. Apparently, at least so far, people keep
reading so the papers keep writing about the new POTUS; what he
does, what he tweets, where his family eats, etc.
are optimistic that on US-Israel relations this Administration will be
committed to close ties. The selection of Governor Nikki Haley as UN
Ambassador is encouraging as she is both extremely competent and has
little tolerance for the bashing of Israel (or Jews) as usual at the
world body. To the credit of this administration, and despite the human
rights record of Samantha Power, our new UN Ambassador Haley is
speaking more clearly on the racism of anti-Semetism in one month than
the prior administration did in eight years.
David Friedman being nominated to the post
of Ambassador to Israel was also encouraging, because he has a strong
moral stance about the rights of Jews. We advocated for him
with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. We thank the following
organizations and individuals who assisted in this effort: The ZOA,
National Council of Young Israel (NCYI), Christians United for Israel
(CUFI), Dr Alan Kadish and Ann Bayefsky of Touro, Moshe Bane and
Nathan Diamond of the Orthodox Union, The American Jewish
Congress, The Republican Jewish Congress (RJC), Alex Grobman former
Director of the Wiesenthal Center, and Trudy & Stanley Stern who
represented NORPAC at the hearing. Special commendation goes to Mort
Klein and the ZOA whose research department came up, at my request,
with a paper outlining the anti-Israel Bias of the 5 prior Israel
Ambassadors that protested the nomination (see article here).
This work by the ZOA was instrumental in discrediting the untoward
effects of those prior Ambassadors to Israel whose anti-Israel bias was
previously poorly publicized.
NORPAC collected the various
organizational and leadership endorsements and sent them to the staff
and Senators. We believe our efforts were very helpful.
Syria is a terrible mess. This is more
than a typical civil war. Syria represents the front lines of the
Shiite-Sunni conflict with Shiite Assad, Iran, and Hezbollah on one
side and the Sunni States such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey and ISIS on
the other side. We are grateful that Israel has been able to largely
stay out of the conflict. The damage done in Aleppo and other sites to
old synagogues (long abandoned by the forced purging of the Jewish
population) is irreparable.
The war on ISIS
We are hoping that the Western nations
involved with the conflict consider Iran in the formula so as to prevent
the establishment of an unopposed crescent of influence from Tehran
through Lebanon. As terrible as ISIS is, the danger of Iran is
so much greater. To date, ISIS has been the only force on
the ground preventing a hegemony of power for Iran on land throughout that region. There is no land access to Syria and Lebanon through Iraq as
long as ISIS is on the ground there. Having these two terrible
adversaries fighting each other is something we need to be cautious
about involving ourselves with. There is no good winner for us in this
The testing of Ballistic Missiles with
the sole purpose of delivering nuclear warheads is ominous. Iran would
likely subject themselves to more sanctions only if the missiles have a
reasonably purposeful function. Do not be surprised if we find out Iran
has a clandestine weapons program.
The UNSC has recently voted to make
much of Judea-Samarea functionally off limits to Jews. Due to the
efforts of the National Pro-Israel Community, the Paris Summit was
diffused and Israel was not officially carved into an area largely off
limits to Jews and Christians.
There are several pieces of legislation
looking to cut UN finding that we are looking at to potentially
support. It seems that the Trump Administration may be ahead of the
curve on this effort, given that they believe the UN as an organization
is largely a missed opportunity. We agree that this world body has been
turned into a anti-Semitic forum spanning decades and that its good work
could be replaced at a fraction of the cost.
We are gratified at the
election of Tom Perez as DNC Chair. We also congratulate
Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-NY) on her election as a DNC Vice Chair.
We were among the first to actively campaign against the candidacy of Keith Ellison for DNC Chair (see op-ed) at the recommendation of Dr Richard Schlussel, one of the Mission Chairs.
Ellison has a terrible record on US-Israel relations and has shown
animus against Israel over his tenure in office. Right now, while
running for this position, he sounds like a member of the ZOA, but his
record in office indicates his untoward sentiments toward the Jewish
State. He would have been a terrible choice for the Party. Coming
out with us against this nomination is the ADL, the AJC, the ZOA, and
other major Jewish organizations.
Defending Senator Menendez
An op-ed printed in the Jerusalem Post by Caroline Glick (here)
made the erroneous claim of anti-Semitism against our champion of
US-Israel relations, Senator Robert Menendez. Please find the rebuttal
written by Ben Chouake, also printed in the Jerusalem Post, here. Many other papers have been appalled by Glick's article, and have joined in publishing our letter.
NORPAC Members of the Month:
Barbara & David Bortniker
From Left: Barbara Bortniker, Elan Bortniker, Rep. Joe Crowley, David Bortniker
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. David & Barbara Bortniker.
Barbara have been with NORPAC for over 15 years, serving as our area and
Mission leaders in West Orange, NJ. They have brought Members of
Congress to their home to raise awareness of the issues in US-Israel
relations, have a long-standing relationship with Congressman Joe
Crowley (D-NY), and have increased Israel advocacy involvement in their
community. They help organize two whole buses full of people for our
Mission each year, while also coordinating the difficult logistics of
professional lives, David Bortniker is a
board-certified Otolaryngologist. He has been recognized as a Top
Doctor by New York Magazine, New Jersey Monthly, New Jersey Life, and
Castle Connolly’s Best Doctors in NY and NJ.
Bortniker is an attorney in New Jersey and New York and an artist, who
has had solo exhibitions in Jerusalem and Rehovot, Israel, as well as
throughout the Northeastern United States. She is a Board Member at the
JNF in New Jersey and at B'nai Shalom, which offers a full range of
educational and social programs for children and adults of all ages.
constantly amazed and humbled by the tremendous amount of work that
David & Barbara put into their passion for supporting the Jewish
people and the US-Israel relationship.
2018 Senate Races
The list below contains information on the 2018 current cycle Senate races.
To date, we have Event Chairs for the following Senate races:
- Jeff Flake (R-AZ) by Kevin & Lori Lemmer
- Ben Cardin (D-MD) by Dr. Bob Goodman and separately by Dr. Munr Kazmir
- Roger Wicker (R-MS) by Leon & Roslyn Kozak on March 26th at 5PM
- Bob Corker (R-TN) by Drew & Careena Parker and separately by Dr. Munr Kazmir
- John Barasso (R-WY) by Diane & Ron Strobel and Alan & Mark Berger
- Robert Menendez (D-NJ) by Moshael Straus on March 26 at 10:30AM
- Jon Tester (D-MT) Reuven & Leah Escott
- Ted Cruz (R-TX) by Trudy & Stanley Stern
- Josh Mandel (R-OH) by Raphael & Linda Benaroya on June 5th in the evening.
- John Thune (R-SD) by Drs. Marc and Alan Berger
are looking for hosts for other members of the Senate up for
re-election. If you have an interest in one of the members below, please
contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
NORPAC Mission 2017
Wednesday, May 17th
A change in the standard Congressional
schedule for 2017 necessitated that we change our Mission date,
originally scheduled for Wednesday, May 10th. We are pleased to announce
that the next NORPAC Mission to Washington will now be held on Wednesday, May 17th, 2017!
Israel and the US-Israel relationship
face increasing challenges and uncertainty this year. With ever-mounting
pressure at the UN to impose a peace settlement on Israel, continued
threats and ballistic missile testing by Iran, the need to authorize
over $3.8 billion in aid each year, BDS bullying its way onto more
American college campuses, and the numerous new Members of Congress to
inform about our issues, this will be an extremely important year for
Early Bird Discount ends March 13th. Please sign up!!!
We hope to see you with us on this coming Mission to Washington!
Congratulations to NORPAC Members
To Dr. Mort Fridman for becoming the President-Elect of AIPAC
To Jason Greenbaum for becoming Special Advisor to the President
To David Friedman on his upcoming Confirmation as US Ambassador to Israel
To Dr. Munr Kazmir on his appointment as a Trustee to NYMC
To Irene & Robert Gottesman on the birth of a grandson to Benjy & Rachael Gottesman.
Please send announcements to email@example.com
iCan Answer Now Teen Conference
NORPAC is proud to be participating in the iCan Answer Now Teen Conference on Sunday, March 5th, 2017.
This pilot program, being launched by
the Jewish Community Relations Committee, aims to help potential
students properly respond to bigotry and other challenges on campus.
With the rise of BDS and campus
anti-semitism, teens need both information and resources. At this
half-day conference, to be held in Bergen County (50 Eisenhower Drive,
Paramus, NJ 07642) on March 5, 2017, high school students will hear
renowned speakers, enjoy skills workshops, visit a college resource
fair, and much more.
For more information, contact the JCRC at at 201-820-3944 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
NORPAC Legislative Efforts
U.S. Representatives Peter J. Roskam
(R-IL), Brad Sherman (D-CA), and Lee Zeldin (R-NY) introduced the
Terror-Free Skies Act to curb the use of commercial aircraft in support
of international terrorism.
Israel and the UN
The U.S. House
(H. Res. 11
) and Senate
(S. Res. 6
2 parallel Resolutions condemning UNSC Resolution 2334, the biased UN
report against Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with
U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) are leading a bipartisan group of 19 senators in introducing the Combating BDS Act
(S. 170), a bill to fight back against the boycott, divestment and
sanctions (BDS) movement’s economic warfare against the Jewish state of
Israel. The bill, which updates last year’s legislation proposed by
Manchin and former Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), increases protections for
state and local governments in the United States that decide to divest
from, prohibit investment in, and restrict contracting with companies
knowingly engaged in commerce-related or investment-related BDS activity
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 17th.
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
Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
Sunday, March 26th in Englewood, NJ
will be chairing our second event for Senator Menendez this cycle on
March 26th. For those wishing to participate please contact
Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS)
Sunday, March 26th in Englewood, NJ
Leon & Roz
Kozak welcome Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) to an event on March 26th.
For those wishing to participate please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming Events (Dates Pending)
Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD)
eagerly anticipates welcoming Senator Ben Cardin, Ranking Member of the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to an event in Teaneck area, and
separately in Closter, NJ, later this year.
Congressman Leonard Lance (R-NJ)
& 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 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.
Congressman Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ)
Monday, February 20th in Closter, NJ
NORPAC welcomed Congressman Josh
Gottheimer (D-NJ5) to a private dinner event hosted by Dr. Munr Kazmir
in Closter, NJ on February 20th.
Josh Gottheimer’s district encompasses
portions of Bergen, Passaic, Sussex and Warren counties, including
Bergenfield, Fair Lawn, New Milford, Paramus and Teaneck. Josh graduated
from West Essex High School before attending the University of
Pennsylvania, later becoming a Thouron Fellow at Oxford, and then paid
his way through Harvard Law School. After finishing college, Josh went
on to work in the Clinton White House as one of the youngest
presidential speechwriters in history.
Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
Sunday, February 12th in New Milford, NJ
From Left: Senator Menendez, Gail & Binyamin Rieder
NORPAC had the pleasure of welcoming
New Jersey's Senator Robert Menendez to our kickoff event of the year,
hosted by Benjamin & Gail Rieder in New Milford on February 12th.
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
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
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)
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)
David & Rena Schlussel welcomed 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.
Doctors are the worst patients
hate having my blood drawn and anything else medical regarding my
personal care. Most doctors give their patients sensible counsel.
However, when it comes to their own care, they (including myself) put
their experience and good training in a lock box. I was scheduled
for a stress test and so instead of resting until the test to make sure I
was OK, I started training for it. After all, it is a test and I have a
thing about doing well on tests. Can you believe it? I am
pushing myself on the home treadmill, worrying how angry Esther
would be if I ended up on the floor of the bedroom, so I can
do well on the test.
news is that the doctors were surprised at how long I was able to go on
the treadmill. I was grateful to foil the Cath Lab out of a
procedure and celebrated by having a steak with my Lipitor
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:
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)
Representative Carolyn Maloney
Representative Alcee Hastings
Representative Josh Gottheimer
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
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. 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
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)