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Action Alert: Hagel Nomination for Secretary of Defense

Dear NORPAC Members

NORPAC is opposing the nomination of Senator Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense. This position represents the single most important Cabinet and Administrative position other than the President. Senator Hagel’s history on opposing action on the threat of Iran can be best described as a fringe position. His refusal to acknowledge the danger of a Nuclear Armed Iran to America and all it’s allies, and his consistent opposition to every legislative effort to contain Iran is in contrast to almost every other member of the Senate. We are concerned that his judgment on these matters is either severely flawed or affected by prejudices. We are asking you to call the legislative leaders outlined at the bottom of this email to ask them to oppose this nomination.



Talking or Writing Points

Dear Senator,

I hope this email finds you well.

I am writing to express my concern with the possible nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense.  The most outstanding thing about the Senator’s record on the threats America and its allies face is the consistent solicitude he has shown toward Iran and the terrorist organizations and states it funds: Hezbollah, Hamas, and Syria.

For example:

In October 2000, when Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Authority (PA) launched a terror war against Israel after rejecting without counter-offer a plan for Palestinian statehood accepted by Israel, Hagel was one of only four senators who refused to sign a Senate letter in support of Israel.

In July 2001, Hagel was in a minority of only two senators to vote against extending the original Iran-Libya sanctions bill, designed to deny both regimes revenues that would assist their weapons of mass destruction programs.

In April 2002, Hagel was one of only 10 senators to oppose banning the import to America of Iraqi oil until Iraq stopped compensating the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. In November 2003, he failed to vote on the Syria Accountability Act (passed by 89 to 4) imposing sanctions on Syria for its support of terrorism and occupation of Lebanon.

In 2004, Hagel refused to sign a letter urging President Bush to highlight Iran’s nuclear program at the G-8 summit.

In 2004, 2007 and 2008 Senator Hagel opposed Iran sanctions.

In 2006, at the outbreak of the Lebanon war, Hagel argued against giving Israel the time to break Hezbollah, urging instead an immediate ceasefire. The following month, he was one of only 12 Senators who refused to formally call upon the European Union to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization. The same year, he gave an interview to former Middle East negotiator, Aaron David Miller, which appeared in Miller’s 2008 book, ‘The Much Too Promised Land,’ in which he said that “the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people” on Capitol Hill.

In 2007, Hagel declined to support the bipartisan Iran Counter Proliferation Act aimed at targeting governments and businesses that assist Iran’s nuclear program. The following year, a congressional aide told the Huffington Post that Hagel was “solely responsible” for blocking an Iran sanctions bill.

In 2009, Hagel signed a letter urging President Obama to begin direct negotiations with Hamas, a U.S. designated terrorist group committed in its Charter to the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews. Just a few weeks ago, the Atlantic Council, which Hagel chairs, published an article entitled ‘Israel’s Apartheid Policy,’ equating Israel with South Africa’s historic racist policy. Hagel also serves on the board of directors of Deutsche Bank, which is currently under probe in Washington for possible violations of sanctions Hagel opposed as senator.

Senator Hagel’s statement “the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here,” denigrates faithful citizens whose families have been persecuted throughout the millennia, and intimates that American Jews have an agenda other than the survival of their beloved America and the Jewish Homeland, Israel.

A great threat to America and its allies is Iranian expansionism, its state sponsored terrorism, and its developing nuclear weapons program. At the risk of stating the obvious, this solicitude for America’s enemies is out of step with the solid bipartisan consensus on Iran and those on its payroll. We need a Secretary of Defense who is able to recognize the danger and is inclined to addressing this issue.

Finally, Hagel’s stance against Women’s rights and Gays is indicative of someone who should not run the nation’s largest employer, the Department of Defense.

Other Problems with Chuck Hagel

His opposition to the rights of women are well known.

Senator Hagel repeatedly voted against amendments to allow servicewomen to pay for abortion services at military hospitals out of their own pockets. He also opposed abortion in cases of rape and incest because those cases are “rare.”

His discrimination against Gay Rights is offensive.

When Hagel served in the United States Senate he consistently voted against gay rights; his record earned him a zero-per-cent rating (three times) from the Human Rights Campaign, the leading LGBT rights lobby. Among other things, Hagel voted against extending basic employment nondiscrimination protections and the federal hate-crimes law to cover gay Americans.

In 1998, after President Bill Clinton nominated a prominent gay-rights advocate from San Francisco, James Hormel, to be the ambassador to Luxembourg, Hagel, then a Senator, seemed to go out of his way to malign not only Hormel-“openly, aggressively gay”-but gay Americans generally, with comments that were blatantly offensive even then; they suggested that the very fact of being gay should disqualify one from representing America abroad. Read more:

There are many qualified individuals of both parties who would make a superb Secretary of Defense and further the interests of the United States – but Senator Hagel is not one of them.

Very truly yours,



Contacting your Senator

Since the Presidential pick for Secretary of Defense must first pass through the Senate Armed Services Committee, it is important to focus initial efforts on contacting those Members who serve on the Committee. However, regardless of their committee appointment, it is imperative to get the support of your local U.S. Senators in deterring the nomination of Senator Chuck Hagel. Listed below is the contact information for Senators in the NY-NJ-CT tri-state area.


If you live in New York:

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)

Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee

(202) 224-4451
Web Form:


Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY)

Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee


(202) 224-6542

Web Form:


If you live in New Jersey:

Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ)

Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee


(202) 224-4744

Web Form:


Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)


(202) 224-3224

Web Form:


If you live in Connecticut:

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)

Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee


(202) 224-2823

Web Form:


Senator Christopher Murphy (D-CT)


(202) 224-4041

Blog Events News and Press Past Events

Concise list of NORPAC-supported candidates

Congressional Candidates Supported by NORPAC

Throughout the 2011-2012 election cycle, NORPAC has supported and endorsed many candidates in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate who have shown a deep commitment to supporting the sovereignty of Israel, U.S. foreign aid to Israel, and sanctions on Iran. Below is a list of Congressional candidates supported this cycle: Some of these candidates will win and we will cheer, and we will lament those heartbreaking elections where our favored candidates lose. I try to keep in mind that both the home run king and the strikeout king were both that same Babe Ruth. We hope to be remembered for our victories.

Running for Senate
Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
Senator John Barrasso (R-WY)
Cong Rick Berg (R-ND)
Cong Shelley Berkley (D-NV)
Attorney General Jon Bruning
Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD)
Senator Bob Casey, Jr (D-PA)
Senator Bob Corker (R-TN)
Cong Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Governor Linda Lingle (R-HI)
Senator Richard Lugar
Governor Angus King, Jr. (I-ME)
Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV)
Treasurer Josh Mandel (R-OH)
Senator Bob Menendez (D-NY)
Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R-IN)
Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL)
Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY)
Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Senator  Jon Tester (D-MT)
Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS)
Cong Heather Wilson (R-NM)
Senator Mark Warner (D-VA)

House and Leadership Races
Speaker of the House Cong John Boehner (R-OH)
Majority Leader Cong Eric Cantor (R-VA)
Democratic Leader Cong Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
Democratic Whip Cong Steny Hoyer (D-MD)
Democratic Chief Deputy Whip Joe Crowley (D-NY)
Cong Gary Ackerman
Cong Rob Andrews (D-NJ)
Cong Rob Bishop (R-UT)
Cong Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY)
Cong Dan Burton (R-IN)
Cong Ben Chandler (D-KY)
Cong Charlie Dent (R-PA)
Cong Eliot Engel (D-NY)
Cong Scott Garrett (R-NJ)
Cong Jesse Jackson, Jr (D-IL)
Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY)
Cong Nan Hayworth (R-NY)
Cong Jack Kingston (R-GA)
Cong Leonard Lance
Cong Steven LaTourette (R-OH)
Cong Nita Lowey (D-NY)
Cong Buck McKeon (R-CA)
Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-NY)
Cong Gary Peters (D-MI)
Cong Mike Rogers (R-MI)
Cong Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
Cong Steve Rothman
Cong Ed Royce (R-CA)
Cong Adam Schiff (D-CA)
Cong Tim Scott (R-SC)
Cong Chris Smith (R-NJ)
Cong Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
Cong Henry Waxman (D-CA)

Annual Events Blog Events News and Press

Levaya for Pepe Chouake and Shiva Information

Dear NORPAC members,


The Levaya for Pepe Chouake, mother of NORPAC president Dr. Ben Chouake, will be held Thursday, August 16 at Noon at the Riverside-Nassau North Chapel in Great Neck, Long Island. 

Riverside-Nassau North Chapel
55 North Station Plaza
Great Neck, NY

Shiva will be held at Dr. Chouake’s home following the funeral services at 245 Hutchinson Rd, Englewood, NJ. Shiva will be observed through Wednesday morning, August 22.

Please note the following Minyan times:

Shacharit on Friday, Tuesday, and Wednesday at 6:30am / Sunday at 8:00am / Monday at 6:15am.

Mincha/Marriv on Thursday at 7:35pm and Sunday through Tuesday at 7:25pm.

HaMakom yenachem et’chem b’toch shar avay’lay Tzion vee’Yerushalayim.

May the Omnipresent comfort you among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Please contact or call (201) 788-5133 for more information.


Annual Events Blog Events News and Press

NORPAC’s 2012 Mission to Washington In The News (Updated 5/29/12)

NORPAC’s Mission to Washington has been having a tremendous impact both in Congress and abroad; here are some articles pertaining to the event:

An Inspiring Day of Advocacy (Jewish Press) – by Yehuda Raskin

NORPAC Mission to D.C. (Jewish Standard) – by Abigail Klein Leichman

NORPAC’s Mission to Washington: US Aid to Israel, including Sanctions against Iran, Is Morally Right and Mutually Beneficial (Jewish Voice and Opinion) – by Susan L. Rosenbluth

Five Towns Jewish Times: Power to the People with NORPAC

Long Branch’s Congregation Brothers of Israel Thanks Avram Tuvy on his Leadership During the Mission

Rep. Jeff Flake Tweets About Speaking at the Mission Plenary Session

More to come!
Annual Events Blog Events News and Press

Mission to Washington 2012 Photographs Now Online

We have uploaded several photographs from the NORPAC Mission to Washington 2012 that can be viewed here. Credits go to Josh Justic and Charlie Gross.

If you have any pictures from the event that you would like us to add to our online album, please contact Avi at

Blog News and Press

NORPAC 2012 Mission to Washington Reaffirms Strong Commitment to the U.S.-Israel Strategic Relationship in Congress

May 14, 2012
Contact: Avi Schranz

Members of Congress support legislation to strengthen ties with Israel

On Wednesday, May 9th, NORPAC – America’s largest pro-Israel Political Action Committee – brought one thousand supporters of the U.S.-Israel relationship to D.C. to advocate for the continued support of America’s staunchest strategic ally, Israel. NORPAC hosts this annual event, called the Mission to Washington, for the purpose of garnering greater support for Israel in the U.S. Congress.

Departing from numerous locations around New York and New Jersey, 24 buses brought Mission attendees to D.C. from New York City, Bergen County, Rockland County, Long Island, and other areas. The central Jersey leaders Marc Hanfling and Barbara Bortniker were proud of their area representation of 4 of the 24 buses that went from the metropolitan area to Washington, D.C.

The event kicked off before Noon with a plenary session at the Washington Convention Center where speakers such as House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez spoke passionately about America’s strong commitment to Israel. The session was immediately followed by 460 personal meetings that were held with Members of Congress and Congressional aides comprising 85% of the House and 92% of the Senate. Core discussion topics included support for continued foreign aid to Israel, toughening sanctions on Iran and preventing its nuclear capability, enhancing U.S.-Israel security cooperation, and procuring further assistance for the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system.

Attendees of the Mission to Washington reported overwhelming support for the state of Israel through their meetings with members of Congress and their staff. H.R. 4133 – the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act – passed in the House of Representatives that day almost unanimously (411–2). Senate bill S. 380 – for increased Iron Dome funding – got critical co-sponsorship during the meetings, and the House Appropriations Committee on Defense approved an additional one billion dollars above and beyond the foreign aid package for anti-missile defense funding for Israel.

NORPAC proudly applauds the Senate and House of Representatives for their continued show of support for U.S.-Israel relations. The new legislation will promote greater peace and stability in the Middle East, and give the U.S. a qualitative military edge in the region. It will also extend the loan guarantees pledged to Israel in 2002.

Ben Chouake, MD, President of NORPAC, commented, “This Mission represented a milestone for NORPAC in the number of meetings and quality of the meetings with members of Congress. It is  the willingness of NORPAC members to assist Representatives and Senators both in their campaigns and their knowledge of the issues with integrity and  selflessness that results in our warm reception in Washington.” Regarding the high attendance rate this year, Dr. Chouake stated, “It is inspiring to see the grand ballroom of the Washington Convention Center filled with volunteer advocates [for the state of Israel].”

News and Press

Contact Congress Today!

You too can help NORPAC enhance the relationship between the United States and Israel

Urge Congress to support the following legislation:
(click on the links below to learn more about the legislation and Congressional voting records. Scroll down to see the info from the Library of Congress)


The first issue was the 2011 foreign aid request for Israel is expected to be $3.075 billion and $205 million in additional assistance for the Iron Dome anti-rocket defense system.  Of that American Foreign Aid package to Israel 75% will be spent in the US on military procurements.

“This aid is more of an investment than an expense,” noted Ben Chouake, NORPAC president.  “Given Israel’s strategic location on the Mediterranean with access to the Red Sea, and other -vital shipping lanes, it is imperative that Israel continues to serve as a port-of-call for our military and intelligence operations,”


Member of Congress were urged to support the U.S. led peace process under which Arab states and the Palestinians must accept the legitimacy of the Jewish state of Israel.  According to Chouake, “Although the current Israeli government has accepted the concept of a two-state solution and has made countless other concessions, Arabs and Palestinians refuse to even recognize a Jewish state.  Peace cannot possibly be achieved when one of the parties is unwilling to recognize the other.”


The third item on the NORPAC agenda with congress called for action to strengthen the Iran Sanctions Act passed in 2009. NORPAC was one of the early supporters of the concept of a gasoline embargo on Iran, and was instrumental in having this as one of the cornerstones of the 2009 Iran Sanctions Act. Although this legislation on energy sector sanctions for companies investing in Iran is strong, the enforcement needs to be more consistent.

NORPAC advocated this mission for the Iran Transparency and Accountability Act of 2011. The Act would improve the ability to implement previously enacted economic sanctions by requiring greater disclosure of inappropriate conduct and setting deadlines for the issuance by the U.S. Treasury of interpretative regulations.  The Act would also require the President to make certain determinations regarding firms which have violated sanctions legislation.Mission members stressed the importance of the bill’s passage in order to send a clear and unequivocal message to Teheran that its current course toward nuclear armament cannot stand.


Although the PA is legally obligated to stop hatred and incitement against Jews in the Oslo Accords, the opposite has taken place. The results of years of breeding hatred have created a culture where terrorists can slay a Jewish family in their sleep, and slit the throat of a 3 month old in their crib. America gives 550 million dollars per year to the PA, and our funds have been enabling this culture of hatred. We asked Congress to link all aid to the PA to a halt in incitement.