When I was in college the Vietnam war was occupying the bulk of my emotional resources. Nixon was president and instituted a lottery system so that one would know the likelihood of being selected for the draft. My number was 65 out of 365 so it was either medical school or the front lines for me. I was pleased to have the medical school deferment and hoping to serve in a MASH unit once my training was completed. Fortunately the war ended and the closest I came to a battle zone was the clinical training I received in Brooklyn during the AIDS crisis. That is until this last year.
When the covid virus first came out, it was devastating. Most doctors’ offices decided to close to all but telehealth. We decided to continue to attend to the patients, both by telehealth and because it was needed, in person as well. At the beginning we had inadequate protective gear and many of us became ill, but this is what we signed up for when we went into medicine and we were front liners.
As a result, many lives were saved, and I came out (fortunately alive) with an enormous appreciation for my fellow workers at every level.
The members of NORPAC are also front liners. Anti-Semitism is the last acceptable form of racism worldwide. Unfortunately it is tolerated politically and we see it on a daily basis. Bigoted Representatives, proponents of BDS who should be booted out of Congress, have been promoted to Chairmanships. On top of this, Iran is so unconcerned with the world body acting against it, they are enriching uranium to 60 percent which has no purpose other than to make a nuclear bomb. Acting out of its jurisdiction in a way unique to Israel, the ICC (International Criminal Court) has moved forward in an effort to make Israel a war criminal state. World Jewry has its own equivalent pandemic and we need our front liners now!
With so much activity paused over the last year, we have gotten used to being observers. The war on U.S.-Israel relations has been ongoing and we need to renew our advocacy work.
We are asking you to join us this year, to sign up for the NORPAC Mission to Washington and once again “Make the case for Israel” to the leaders of our country. The Virtual Mission is May 3-6 and you can take the meetings that are more convenient for you over that period to eliminate or minimize lost work hours.
When it comes to building a relationship, nothing beats being there in person. However, times are changing, and certainly this year (with the congressional offices all being remote at present), the Members of Congress have requested that we shift to videoconferencing in order to continue our dialogue and friendships. This is how other advocacy organizations are getting “face time” with the Senate and Congress this year as well. While not ideal, it is as good as it gets right now and our experience with zoom fundraisers shows that it is effective in getting the message across.
The signup fee is by family to cover some of the increased technical and staff costs related to this new format. Rabbis participate gratis, and students are subsidized. In fact, the entire mission is subsidized, but we make arrangements so no one is denied due to cost.
NORPAC is an almost completely volunteer-driven organization with minimal staff, and all are devoted to fostering the U.S.-Israel relationship. We need your time and effort to speak with the members of Congress. There are 70 new Members that need to learn our issues, and the longer-serving members need to hear from us as well. No other group has been as effective in presenting these issues. Please throw your hat in the ring again this year. We can ill afford to sit this one out.
You can sign up at norpac.net
Please do it today.
Dr. Ben Chouake, MD, of Englewood is the national president of Norpac, the largest pro- Israel political action committee in the United States. He runs a medical practice in Cliffside Park and is a board member of several Jewish organizations on the local and national level.