NORPAC October 2013 Newsletter
Message from the President
As we enter the
fall season, the 2014 Congressional races are starting to heat up. The
government shutdown has both sides of the aisle to blame, but the
Republicans will be taking the major hit on this. It is possible for
the House to revert to Democratic Control, and the chances for the
Senate to move to a Republican Majority currently look slim. The lack
of disciplined pragmatism within the Tea Party continues to be the gift
that gives to the Democrats. The last two cycles have seen the
Republican Primary Process brutalize their senior incumbents. Any party
that regularly throws their elder statesmen under the bus, can expect
to be relegated to a minority position. In a general election the
majority of voters find fringe candidates unpalatable and punish any party
that forces out a beloved incumbent. Senate seats definitely lost by
Republicans due to this include Nevada, Delaware, Maine, Indiana,
Missouri, with other states on the probable list. This new paradigm of
contested Congressional Primaries has put both new demands and
opportunities before our membership.
The last month
has been a lesson in defying conventional wisdom. This started with
Syrian President Assad using chemical weapons in his effort to win the
civil war. President Obama, who stated a year ago that there would be
severe consequences to this, mobilized for military action. I believe
President Obama was surprised at the lack of support for this action
from the American public, international community, and Congress. To the
President's credit, he was able to get partners in this initiative and
present a credible threat. The unexpected happened; Russia and Syria
offered to get rid of the chemical weapons, and that was like hitting
The main problem
in Syria was the possibility of instability, coupled with the world's
largest stockpile of chemical weapons. Many of the Syrian rebellion
units are infiltrated or controlled by Islamists, some with Al Qaeda.
Assad himself has helped to arm Hezbollah. So, taking out this WMD element
changes a potential regional conflict with international implications
back to a civil war.
skeptics that have little trust for either Russia or Syria to comply
with their pledges, and that is a valid concern. I am cautiously optimistic
on this one.
The Nuclear Iran
Poliferation Act which passed the House by an
overwhelming margin is stalled in the Senate Banking Committee. This
legislation has the potential to tighten the loopholes on the current
sanctions. Reports that hundreds of billions of dollars have left the
Iranian economy since the last Iran sanctions bill two years ago
indicate that even though the Iranian rush to WMD is ongoing, the
ability of the Ayatollah to make mischief around the world is becoming
more limited. Iran reportedly is close to running out of cash and this
is the time to maximally push the strategy of sanctions to avoid
military intervention. Please call the members of the Senate Banking
Committee you know and ask them to push this next round of sanctions
through. Time is of the essence.
Save the Date
The Mission to
Washington this year is tentatively scheduled for April 30, 2014, so
please save the date. We will open registration for the mission, when
we get the final Congressional Schedule, hopefully in December.
Meeting with the
Under the leadership of Board Member Jack Rosen, some of
our members met with Bill Di Blasio. Although
this was not a NORPAC event, and we have no endorsement for this
election, meeting future leaders who have a large bully pulpit and have
the potential for federal leadership as well is worthwhile.
Events: October/November 2013
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
On Monday, November 11th, NORPAC welcomes Rep. Ileana
Ros-Lehtinen at the home of Dr. Munr Kazmir. Rep. Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman of the
Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, led a Congressional
delegation, along with Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), to Israel
earlier this year. The delegation met with Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, and Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein to discuss the importance of the
U.S. - Israel strategic partnership, regional stability, the threats from
Iran, Syria and Egypt, as well as the ongoing peace negotiations.
In March 2013, Ros-Lehtinen introduced H.R. 938, the United
States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013. This bill, with over
340 cosponsors, declares Israel to be a major strategic partner of the
U.S., reaffirms the U.S. commitment to enhancing security cooperation
with Israel in pursuit of shared objectives, and encourages greater
bilateral cooperation in the areas of cyber-security and the sciences.
Contact Ben Chouake to attend at [email protected]
Senator James Risch (R-ID)
On Sunday, November 3rd, NORPAC will
be sponsoring an event in support of Senator James (Jim) Risch at the home of Elisabeth & Avi Samuels in Englewood. Senator Risch is the second highest ranking Republican
member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Importantly, he is
the Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee that
oversees U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa.
Senator Risch has strongly supported Israel
and its right to defend itself since his election to the U.S. Senate in
2009. In 2010, he sponsored a resolution to express the sense of the
Senate that Israel has an undeniable right to self-defense, and to condemn
the destabilizing actions by extremists aboard the ship Mavi Marmara. He also co-authored a letter with
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) condemning
the U.N.'s anti-Israel efforts the following year. Contact Avi to participate at 201-788-5133
Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
On November 17th, NORPAC will be hosting an event at the
home of Kevin & Lori Lemmer for Senator
Kelly Ayotte. First elected to the Senate in
2010 she has quickly made her reputation as an upcoming leader in the
party and the Senate. She has been both active and vigilant in her
support of U.S.-Israel relations. She is on the short list for
Republican candidates for the Executive Branch. This will be an
intimate formal dinner with this important leader. Seating is limited.
Please contact [email protected]
Steve Chabot (R-OH)
In November, NORPAC's Teaneck chapter will be hosting an
event for Rep. Steve Chabot. Since becoming a Member of Congress, Steve
has served on the Committee of the Judiciary, the Committee on Small
Business, and the Committee on Foreign Affairs. He was named to the
role of Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the
Pacific in 2013, after previously serving as the Chairman of the Middle
East and North Africa Subcommittee from 2011-2012. Rep. Chabot is also
a long-standing member of the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus.
Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ)
NORPAC welcomed back Congressman Albio
Sires at an event hosted by Dr. Munr Kazmir in Closter, New Jersey.
Recently, Congressman Sires supported the passage of H.R. 850, the
Nuclear Iran Prevention Act of 2013, and H.R. 4133, the United
States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012. Both these
pieces of legislation were actively advocated for by participants at
NORPAC's Mission to Washington 2012 and 2013, respectively.
Coming from a Cuban background, Rep. Sires has also condemned
anti-Semitic remarks made by Fidel Castro and has worked to fight bias
against the Jewish people abroad.
Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY)
NORPAC hosted an
event in support of Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) at the home of Rabbi
Steven & Yael Weil in October. Jeffries is a freshman Congressman
whose district encompasses the lower-middle and eastern portions of
Brooklyn, including Canarsie and East New
York. He currently sits on the Committees on Budget and Judiciary,
respectively. As a Member of Congress, Hakeem Jeffries co-sponsored the
Nuclear Iran Prevention Act of 2013 (H.R. 850), The U.S.-Israel
Strategic Partnership Act of 2013 (H.R. 938), and The Iron Dome Support
Act (H.R. 1130).
Representative Ed Royce (R-CA) was hosted in Riverdale by
Howard and Debbie Jonas. For the 113th Congress, Royce was selected by
the Speaker and his Caucus to be Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs
Committee. Royce has served on the Committee since entering Congress in
1993. He also serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation,
and Trade and a member of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific.
This year, Ed Royce was the Principal Republican Sponsor of the Nuclear
Iran Prevention Act of 2013 (H.R. 850) which NORPAC members advocated
for during our Mission to Washington and passed overwhelmingly in the
House of Representatives by a vote of 400 - 20. This legislation has
been referred to the Senate Banking Committee which is currently
drafting similar legislation to move forward with crippling sanctions
against Iran, the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism.
Eliot Engel (D-NY)
Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY) was hosted in Riverdale by
Howard and Debbie Jonas. For years, Eliot has been a co-chair of the
Congressional Israel Allies Caucus and a leader in sponsoring and
drafting legislation in support and defense of Israel. His strong
record on U.S.-Israel relations is backed by his ability to work across
the aisle to gain bipartisan support on critical legislation related to
Israel, our strongest ally in the Middle East.
There are few if any Members of Congress who have both a commitment as
deep and a record of accomplishment as long on U.S.-Israel relations as
Eliot Engel. He has been at the forefront of almost every major piece
of legislation regarding the relationship of America and Israel during
his long tenure in the House of Representatives. He was the original
author of the House version of the Syria Accountability Act.
House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA)
NORPAC welcomed back Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) to an event in Teaneck in
September, hosted by Mort & Esther Fridman.
Rep. Cantor is the Majority Leader in the House of Representatives and
is one of the strongest supporters of the U.S.-Israel relationship
within our Congress. He is an active advocate for legislation
pertaining to Iran sanctions and bringing freshmen Members of Congress
to visit Israel. Rep. Cantor also spoke this year at NORPAC's Mission
to Washington during our plenary session.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Senator Lindsey Graham is the Senior Senator from South Carolina.
NORPAC proudly sponsored this great friend of the U.S.-Israel
relationship in the sukkah of Jocelyn & Shmuel Jonas in September. Since his inauguration
into the U.S. Senate in 2002, Senator Graham has been an outspoken
advocate of U.S.-Israel relations. He has the distinction of being
among the foremost national leaders as the principal sponsor on both
legislation and Senate Resolutions promoting this relationship and the
safety and security of America and Israel.
Rounds (R-SD) for Senate
chapter welcomed former South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds at an event
hosted by Mort and Esther Fridman in August.
Rounds, who served as Governor from 2003 to 2011, is running for the
open U.S. Senate seat of Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD). He recently
visited Israel and expressed his strong feelings for protecting its
safety and security. He also feels strongly about moving the U.S.
embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, in compliance with the Jerusalem
Embassy Act of 1995.
NORPAC events with dates pending:
Senator Chris Coons (D-DE);
Chair Harry Feder
Senator Jack Reed (D-RI);
Chair Moshael Straus
Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK);
Chair Jason Muss
Congressman Scott Garrett
(R-NJ); Chair Kevin Lemmer
Senator Tim Scott (R-SC);
Chair Baruch Prince
Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA);
Chair Mort Fridman
Senator Jeff Sessions Chair
We are seeking hosts for events for the following Members of
Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY)
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL)
Senator Mark Pryor (D-AK)
Senator Mary Landrieu
Congressman Nita Lowey
Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)
The Fathers Bride
We all experienced bullying to some extent while
growing up. Most of us were unfortunately on the receiving end of the losing arguments. I recall my Public High School
days in NYC. My senior year of high school we had multiple sexual
assaults, regular fist fights in lunchroom and gym, a riot,
and a gun battle. I was fortunate to be blessed with winged feet, and
on the track team (the only Jew). My adrenalin reflex of fight or
flight (mostly flight) helped me graduate in one piece.
All this pales in comparison
to being a father of daughters. You can't run, you can't hide, and you
can't fight back. Yes, even the most hardened male CEO has little spine
when confronted by their female offspring. While I am prepared to
force-ably discuss issues with National Leaders, I have become a board
certified wimp under these family discussions. There ought to be a
law. Anyone with advice or wishing to commiserate can email me at
To Roz and Leon Kozak on the birth of a
To Anne & Jerry Gontownick on the birth
of a grand-daughter
To Barbara & David Bortnicker and Sylvia Freyer for being honored at the Net El Dinner
December 8 2013 in NYC.
Any members with a mazel tov
announcement may send it to [email protected]
Renew your donation
It is difficult to imagine
the turmoil and hostility in the Middle East on every border with
Israel and beyond, and yet Israel moves forward, trying to prepare and survive.
Our work helps them secure Military Aid, prevents international
boycotts, and gives agency to Israel, so with Hashem's
help, our homeland can forge a bright future.
We help prepare America and
the West from countries like Iran by putting the best understanding of
these dangers before the national leadership.
Please do your part so that we can continue to facilitate the survival
of the Jewish people.
We need your donations to the general fund to
continue our work. 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.