Come with your family and friends on the April 6, 2011 NORPAC Mission to Washington by calling 201-788-5133 or registering here. There are few Holocaust survivors left that can turn the opinion of the most dogmatic legislator. The mantle of responsibility is now upon us to be proactive as we have always needed and will continually need to be.
I recall my mother speaking with Senator Jack Reed in Washington during one of the NORPAC missions. Her family was from the Tarnopol area of Poland. She told him, “I remember my father read Mein Kemp and he realized the danger that Hitler represented”. Unfortunately the sudden Blitzkrieg of Poland overwhelmed even those who meant to prepare for it and we lost most of our family. “I fear that Ahmadinijad means to do the same”, she said. This barely five foot tall woman spoke softly to this Harvard and West Point graduate. As Senator Reed jokingly complained to me that he couldn’t say no to my mother, he immediately instructed his aide to sign on to one of the Iran bills we were asking support for.
Those of you who have been on prior NORPAC missions probably now realize the almost prophetic nature of the talking points that were raised in 2002-2005, when our members asked Congress to change the nature of economic aid to Egypt from military funding to economic credits. We foretold that a Madrassah educated and impoverished population would rise up and dispose Mubarak. We urged educational reform and economic development rather than arms for Egypt. We were only partially successful in our efforts due to resistance from the Administration, but did manage to ameliorate the threat of some advanced weapon systems from being transferred to the Egyptian military.
While we hope that the turmoil in the Middle East leads to pluralistic and tolerant societies, the outlook is ominous. We can see the danger of what the future may hold from the incident of Lara Logan, the CBS 60 Minutes journalist, who was sexually assaulted in the Cairo Main Square by members of that freedom movement the day of Mubarak’s resignation. Her offense was not being dressed in a hijab. While sexually assaulting and beating her, the crowd cursed at her “Jew Jew Jew”.
In these Middle East rebellions there will be a power vacuum. Our fear is that it will not be filled with the likes of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, or a Mahatma Gandhi. They instead have Sheik Yusuf Qaradawi, the formally exiled spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, who now speaks in front of millions in Cairo calling for the opening of the Egyptian border with Gaza and the destruction of Israel. The chaos in the Middle East gives advantage to groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, who are disciplined and organized. Current events demand our attention and reinforce our need to be prepared. Already Jerusalem is planning on increasing troop deployment along the Negev southern border and the expenses that go with this defense burden.
Twenty years ago NORPAC was born when a small group in NJ decided that having a sitting Secretary of State say (in vulgar language) forget the Jews, they don’t vote for us anyway, was a reflection of our lack of prestige and our failure to protect our interests as American citizens. It was clear that the American Jewish Community needed to be better organized and politically engaged.
NORPAC has since grown and through the tenacious efforts of our members, has been able to facilitate the introduction and passage of important legislative initiatives. It is our year after year commitment to organize local political events, in addition to our going on the NORPAC Mission to Washington, which has allowed our efforts to succeed. Citizen advocates that personally meet with Congress in Washington are effective far beyond their proportionate numbers. For those making the effort to attend our mission, each voice is like a thousand. For each of you that decide to stay home, we are one thousand less.
We are grateful that almost all of Congress is willing to meet us. There are about 100 new Members of Congress this year who need to hear from us about the importance of US-Israel relations. This is a golden opportunity to present our case for Israel to both those new Members of Congress, and to reinforce our relationship with legislators we have met with and known for years. Most importantly, it is our chance to dispel the false information so prevalent about Israel on the world stage. The Jewish homeland has many accusers. We need you to go to Congress to be her defender.
There are few Holocaust survivors left that can turn the opinion of the most dogmatic legislator. The mantle of responsibility is now upon us to be proactive as we have always needed and will continually need to be. Come with your family and friends on the NORPAC Mission and be one of those that speaks softly and is thoughtfully heard.
You can register for the April 6, 2011 NORPAC Mission by calling 201-788-5133 or by going to http://www.norpac.net/events/mission.php.