NORPAC March 2019 Newsletter
 
 
 
 
 
Dr. BenMessage from Dr. Ben

The presidential race is getting off to an interesting start with 
what is expected to be about 20 contenders in the Democratic Primary, the winner of which will presumably face President Trump for re-election. 

Even though the polls indicate a vulnerable incumbent,
expect a solid election effort from Trump as a seasoned campaigner. 
We are relieved that the Independent Council found no credible evidence of Russian influence in the Administration. It is likely that more is to come on this matter if the claims of abuse of the FISA Court are true and that the findings will impact the 2020 election.

Despite the obnoxious pressure from MoveOn to boycott AIPAC, most of the Democratic presidential contenders had either attended or met with AIPAC delegations during the conference. 

We are encouraged that the current Democratic front-runner, VP Joe Biden, has a long and deep record of favoring a strong US-Israel relationship. 

Fortunately, hard money (i.e. our donations given under FEC rules and controlled by the candidates themselves) is still very valuable and so our work has become more important as both a counterbalance to the soft (dark) money, and to give voice to ordinary citizens. 

American recognition of Israeli Sovereignty over the Golan
We applaud the Administration for this diplomatic recognition. The Golan has historic roots as part of biblical Israel and Israeli sovereignty over this sparsely populated area has been recognized as a fact on the ground for over fifty years. Most people are unaware that Syria, as an independent country, was only established on October 1945 with French troops withdrawing in 1946. While the Syrian Arab Republic controlled the Golan for about 20 years, it regularly attacked Israel from this platform until 1967 when Israel claimed it in a defensive war. 

Judicial Caution
With the news full of accusations of politicization by those that would administrate and prosecute justice, we would ask those involved to take the time to reflect on their personal oaths to impartially uphold the law.

The judicial system is the foundation of any democracy and those within it have a sacred obligation to avoid and prevent partisanship. We are proud that NORPAC members were involved in at least two cases of helping to fund the defense of political prosecution: Robert Menendez (whose incitement was announced the same day he publicly opposed the Iran deal) and before that Tom Delay. Both were eventually vindicated but the toll on these public servants, as well as the nation, was severe. 

The open letter by Alan Dershowitz criticizing the prosecution of Prime Minister Netanyahu makes the case that Israel also faces similar challenges of the politicization of the Justice Offices. It is difficult to explain to Members of Congress the confusing charges against the Prime Minister made by zealous public prosecutors. This is very damaging to the reputation of Israel that is perceived as having truth and justice as paramount values. 

Iran
The Iranian economy is continuing to experience the difficulties of American Sanctions. Even so, they remain in Syria and continue to build their military presence. They are seeking to control Iraq as well through the political influence of the Shiite portion of the country. Expect the conflict between Iran and Israel to continue both directly in Syria and though their Hezbollah proxies in Lebanon. Should Iran gain political control of Iraq, that would complete their hegemony from Afghanistan to the Mediterranean.

We expect Europe to come to the same conclusion as our Administration on Iran: that the Iranian theocracy is an aggressive, repressive entity that facilitates terrorism and doing business with it is counterproductive to European economic interests (and its values). 

American Withdrawal from Syria
the Trump Administration is slowing America’s planned withdrawal from Syria. The problem is that a vacuum of opposition was created by our military taking out ISIS which, while a terrible entity, was a major adversary of the new Persian Empire.

We expect that President Trump, known as the world's greatest deal-maker, will avoid a power vacuum which would be created by a full American withdrawal from Syria and make anyone, especially Iran, pay for every inch of territorial influence.

BDS
S.1, which included strong legislation against BDS, passed the Senate with a solid majority. The House is taking up the legislation and we expect more pushback from those supporting the ACLU position on this bill. 

Of the group of Senate Democrats running this cycle for President, only Amy Klobuchar voted for passage of S.1, which included aid funding to Israel and anti-BDS measures. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Bernie Sanders all voted against it. We are still soliciting their support for other BDS legislation and hopeful they will sign on.

The ACLU is vigorously opposing the legislation to curb the anti-Semitic BDS movement, calling it a matter of free speech. It is unfortunate that the ACLU would soil its reputation of good work by stalling the legislative efforts to combat the anti-Semitic movement of BDS. While we have no definite proof of manipulation of the organization, we are concerned that the massive 2018 Soros-directed donation of 50 million dollars to the ACLU may have influenced its activity in this matter. 

Many college campuses have become a spawning ground for BDS activity. The high school training program NORPAC and its members have been working on, to create a generation of college leaders to combat Anti-Semitism, 
is in progress. A disproportionate number of Jewish campus leaders come from these high schools.  Please contact Avi at 201-788-5133 if you would like to help with these programs. 

Syria
The country's civil war is essentially over, with Assad remaining at the helm largely due to the help of Iran, Hezbollah, and Russia. These Syrian allies are not necessarily in sync, as Russian influence would be greater without Iran in the picture. Israel's northern border with Lebanon is controlled by Iran having either domination or influence on Hezbollah and Assad. This is a mortal threat to Israel. We fear a future conflict in the north would have significant casualties on both sides. Hezbollah as a fighting force is both battle hardened and better armed, and in any conflict would be more prepared for the IDF. 

The turmoil in Syria will take years to reverse, as the mortality and morbidity from this civil war were drastic. The area is still explosive with Turkey wishing to invade Kurdish territory and Iran wishing to control Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. Two million Syrian Sunni refugees living in Lebanon, controlled by Shiite Hezbollah, has yet to play out in a conflict, but this demographic change in Lebanon is important to observe.

One of the side benefits of America's presence in Syria has been a life-saving regional stabilizing influence. 

Peace Process
Aside from Gaza, which is an economic mess due to Hamas, the current situation in Israel is relatively stable. While there are acts of terrorism in Israel originating  from the PA-controlled areas, they are relatively few and have been minimized by Israel's remarkable security forces. 

Israel has also worked to encourage economic progress and prosperity in the Palestinian-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria, the West Bank. The relative quiet in this area is reflective of good security, economic progress, and people having jobs and doing better. We are appropriately concerned with the unfortunate rhetoric coming from the bully pulpit of political and religious authorities in the PA area. We should, however, also look at facts on the ground and be cautious not to destabilize a reasonably peaceful situation.

Our job is to give Israel agency to do the best they can under enormous difficulties and pressures. If it is the decision of the Israeli government to financially support the imperfect leadership of the PA. Israel is on the front line of these choices. It should be Israel's decision, which will likely require their children to pick up arms, on how, when, and with whom to make changes in relations and agreements. 
 
 
 
 
 
NORPAC Members of the Month:
Daniel and Moshael Straus

From Left: Daniel Straus, Senator Robert Menendez, Moshael Straus

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 the Straus Brothers - Daniel and Moshael.

The Strauses have a long history of philanthropic giving to higher education, communal and Jewish causes. They have supported various initiatives at Yeshiva University, including the Joseph Straus Scholarship Fund at Cardozo, and the endowments of the Gwendolyn and Joseph Straus Chair in Jewish Education at Azrieli and the Gwendolyn and Joseph Straus Chair in Talmud at RIETS.

Moshael earned his bachelor’s degree at Yeshiva College, a JD at Fordham University School of Law, and went on to found, along with his brother Daniel, the Multicare Companies, Inc., a healthcare services company. He is currently the CEO of Ascend Capital Group International, LLC. Moshael is also Chairman of the Board of Yeshiva University. His wife Zahava is a member of the Board of Overseers at YU’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

Daniel Straus is the owner of CareOne, a major tristate area rehabilitation and senior living company that was honored as Corporation of the Year by Make-A-Wish New Jersey at its annual gala in 2017. Daniel is also a generous philanthropist, a highly successful venture capitalist, a real estate developer, and an owner of a basketball team, the Memphis Grizzlies. He and his wife started The Daniel E. and Joyce G. Straus Family Foundation, giving primarily for higher education, to Jewish agencies and to temples.

The Straus brothers have been an integral part of our NORPAC Englewood chapter, hosting several key Senators and bringing the community to meet local NJ leaders. For more than 20 years they have supported pro-Israel candidates in Congress at local and national events.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sign up for the NORPAC Mission 2019 TODAY

Registration for the NORPAC Mission to Washington 2019 is underway! This year the event will take place on Tuesday, May 21st. Sign up online here so that you don't miss the Early Bird registration rate!

Israel and the US-Israel relationship face increasing challenges and uncertainty with issues ranging from Iran’s efforts to dominate the Middle East to the evolving security threats on Israel’s borders.

Important legislation this year aims to re-authorize over $3.8 billion in security aid, stop BDS from bullying its way onto more American college campuses, and enact further sanctions against terrorist entities.

This year there are more new Members of Congress than ever before who have not had experience with these issues, and who are targets of extremist, anti-Israel propaganda. We must remain vigilant in promoting and protecting America's greatest ally in the Middle East.

NORPAC welcomes 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​​​​​​​ 

NORPAC Statement on Anti-Semitic Remarks by Rep. Ilhan Omar

NORPAC released the following statement regarding Rep. iIlhan Omar’s recent tweets, which invoked classic anti-Semitic canards.

 
 
 
 
 
 
Upcoming Events
 
 
 
 
 
Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ)
March 31- Highland Park, NJ

Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) will be hosted in Highland Park on Sunday afternoon, March 31st.
 
 
 
 
 
Congresswoman Elaine Luria (D-VA)
Sunday, April 14 - Five Towns, Monday, April 15 - Teaneck

Congresswoman Elaine Luria (D-VA) will be hosted in the Five Towns by Trudy & Stanley Stern on April 14th, and in Teaneck on April 15 by Laurie Baumel & Manuel Litchman.
 
 
 
 
 
Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA)
May 12 - Five Towns

Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) is welcomed to an event in the Five Towns on Sunday, May 12th.
 
 
 
 
 
Senator Steve Daines (R-MT)
May 19 - Englewood

Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) will be hosted at an event chaired by the Sasouness Family in May.
 
 
 
 
 
Senator Chris Coons (D-DE)
Sunday, May 19 - Closter, NJ

NORPAC welcomes back Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) to an event hosted by the Kazmir Family on May 19th, co-chaired by Esther & Ben Chouake and Deborah & Michael Blumenthal.
 
 
 
 
 
Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE)
Thursday, May 30 - Teaneck

NORPAC Teaneck welcomes back Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) to an event on Thursday evening, May 30th.
 
 
 
 
 
Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
Sunday, June 23 - Englewood, NJ

Kevin & Lori Lemmer welcome back Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) on Sunday evening, June 23rd to a NORPAC event at their home in Englewood.
 
 
 
 
 
Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD)
Thursday, July 18 - Teaneck, NJ

NORPAC Teaneck welcomes back Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD) on Thursday evening, July 18th.
 
 
 
 
 
Upcoming Events (Dates Pending)
 
 
 
 
 
Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ)
Englewood

Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) will be hosted by Esther & David Muschel later this year.
 
 
 
 
 
Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY)
Five Towns

Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) will be hosted in the Five Towns later this year once again by the Wanderer Family.
 
 
 
 
 
Upcoming Events (Later 2019)

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

Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) - Event Chairs: Gontownik and Stern Families

From Left: Trudy Stern, Leader McConnell, Stanley Stern
From Left: Anne Gontownik, Leader McConnell, Jerry Gontownik


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 Lindsey Graham (R-SC) - Event Chairs: The Jonas Family
From Left: Howard Jonas, Sen. Graham, Dr. Ben Chouake


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



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

From Left: Nathan & Shari Lindenbaum, Majority Leader Hoyer
 
 
 
 
 
Recent Past Events
 
 
 
 
 
Congressman Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ)
Teaneck, NJ

NORPAC Teaneck welcomed back its very own Congressman, Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), to an event in early 2019 hosted by Sarah & Bob Goodman.
 
 
 
 
 
Congressman Michael McCaul (R-TX)
Thursday, March 14  - Closter, NJ

The Kazmir Family welcomed back Congressman Michael McCaul to a private dinner event on Thursday, March 14th.
 
 
 
 
 
Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO)
Sunday, March 10 - Paramus, NJ

From Left: Davidi Jonas, Senator Cory Gardner, Howard Jonas

Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) was hosted at the home of Natalie & Davidi Jonas in Paramus, NJ.
 
 
 
 
 
Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY)
Sunday, March 10 - Teaneck, NJ

NORPAC Teaneck will welcomed back Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY) to an event on March 10th hosted by Phil & Rochelle Goldschmiedt.
 
 
 
 
 
Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA)
Sunday, February 10 - Englewood, NJ

Drs. Esther & Ben Chouake welcomed Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) to their home on Sunday evening, February 10th. In the Senate, Cassidy has made combating the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement one of his key focuses for US-Israel relations. He was an original co-sponsor of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S. 720), a bipartisan bill that seeks to counter the anti-Israel BDS movement.
 
 
 
 
 
Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY)
Sunday, January 6th in Woodmere, NY

Congressman Eliot Engel speaking with Rabbi Yaakov Trump

Robert & Helene Rothenberg hosted House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY) at their home in Woodmere, NY.
 
 
 
 
 
Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-NY)
Sunday, October 28th in Cedarhurst, NY

From Left: Congressman Lee Zeldin, Esther & Baruch Weinstein

Esther & Baruch Weinstein hosted the last NORPAC Five Towns event of the political cycle for Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-NY) on Sunday morning, October 28th.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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)
Tina Smith (D-MN) Event Chairs Debbie & Michael Blumenthal
Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS)
Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
​​​​​​​Tom Udall (D-NM)
Thom Tillis (R-NC)
Jeff Merkley (D-OR) 
Jack Reed (D-RI) Event Chair Moshael Straus
John Cornyn (R-TX)
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)


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
 
 
 
 
 
OCD

Political meetings are commonly colorful and heated and it is often difficult to get your message across. I, however, have what some might describe as a dubious advantage over many of my colleagues and peers. I do not have a single OCD bone in my body. I am messy, somewhat disorganized, have terrible grammar and spelling (I was fortunate to be a science major), and am glad to get to my goal going forwards or backwards. Having some level of flexibility when approaching Members of Congress makes it more possible to successfully make your case. Good thing none of these MOC's have seen my desk or they would call me Dr. Den instead of Dr Ben.
 
 
 
 
 
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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