NORPAC March 2017 Newsletter
 
 
 
 
 
Dr. BenMessage 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.

We 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
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 conflict. 

Iran
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. 

United Nations
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. 

DNC Chair
​​​​​​​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

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. David & Barbara Bortniker.

David and 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 the day.

In their 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.

Barbara 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.

We are 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

We 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 bchouake@aol.com

State 2014 PVI Incumbent 2012
result
Cook
Feb. 9
2017
[6]
Roth.
Feb. 10
2017
[7]
Alabama R+14 Luther Strange (R) N/A Safe R Safe R
Arizona R+7 Jeff Flake (R) 49% R Lean R Likely R
California D+9 Dianne Feinstein (D) 63% D Safe D Safe D
Connecticut D+7 Chris Murphy (D) 55% D Safe D Safe D
Delaware D+8 Tom Carper (D) 66% D Safe D Safe D
Florida R+2 Bill Nelson (D) 55% D Lean D Tilt D
Hawaii D+20 Mazie Hirono (D) 63% D Safe D Safe D
Indiana R+5 Joe Donnelly (D) 50% D Lean D Tossup
Maine D+6 Angus King (I) 53% I Lean D Safe D
Maryland D+10 Ben Cardin (D) 55% D Safe D Safe D
Massachusetts D+10 Elizabeth Warren (D) 54% D Safe D Safe D
Michigan D+4 Debbie Stabenow (D) 59% D Likely D Safe D
Minnesota D+2 Amy Klobuchar (D) 65% D Likely D Safe D
Mississippi R+9 Roger Wicker (R) 57% R Safe R Safe R
Missouri R+5 Claire McCaskill (D) 55% D Lean D Tossup
Montana R+7 Jon Tester (D) 49% D Likely D Tilt D
Nebraska R+12 Deb Fischer (R) 56% R Safe R Safe R
Nevada D+2 Dean Heller (R) 46% R Lean R Lean R
New Jersey D+6 Bob Menendez (D) 59% D Likely D Safe D
New Mexico D+4 Martin Heinrich (D) 51% D Safe D Safe D
New York D+11 Kirsten Gillibrand (D) 72% D Safe D Safe D
North Dakota R+10 Heidi Heitkamp (D) 50% D Likely D Tossup
Ohio R+1 Sherrod Brown (D) 51% D Lean D Lean D
Pennsylvania D+1 Bob Casey (D) 54% D Likely D Lean D
Rhode Island D+11 Sheldon Whitehouse (D) 64% D Safe D Safe D
Tennessee R+12 Bob Corker (R) 65% R Safe R Safe R
Texas R+10 Ted Cruz (R) 57% R Safe R Safe R
Utah R+22 Orrin Hatch (R) 65% R Safe R Safe R
Vermont D+16 Bernie Sanders (I) 71% I Safe D Safe D
Virginia Even Tim Kaine (D) 53% D Likely D Likely D
Washington D+5 Maria Cantwell (D) 61% D Safe D Safe D
West Virginia R+13 Joe Manchin (D) 61% D Likely D Tossup
Wisconsin D+2 Tammy Baldwin (D) 51% D Likely D Tilt D
Wyoming R+22 John Barrasso (R) 76% R Safe R
 
 
 
 
 
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 us!

Early Bird Discount ends March 13th. Please sign up!!!

Please  our Registration Page. Also follow us on Facebook to get the most up-to-date information.

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 avi@norpac.net 

 
 
 
 
 
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 jcrctemp@jfnnj.org.
 
 
 
 
 
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.

Iran
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) passed 2 parallel Resolutions condemning UNSC Resolution 2334, the biased UN report against Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with overwhelming support.

BDS
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 targeting Israel.

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 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 avi@norpac.net
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Upcoming Events
 
 
 
 
 
Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
Sunday, March 26th in Englewood, NJ
Moshael Straus will be chairing our second event for Senator Menendez this cycle on March 26th. For those wishing to participate please contact bchouake@aol.com.
 
 
 
 
 
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 bchouake@aol.com.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Upcoming Events (Dates Pending)
 
 
 
 
 
Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD)
NORPAC 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)

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.
 
 
 
 
 
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.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Recent Past Events
 
 
 
 
 
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 relations.
 
 
 
 
 
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.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Doctors are the worst patients

I 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. 

The good 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 that evening.
 
 
 
 
 
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
 
 
 
 
 
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