Wednesday, October 20, 2010

PAC endores Pollak over Schakowsky




On Sunday, October 17th, To Protect Our Heritage (TPOH) PAC, along with thirty co-sponsoring organizations, held a Candidates' Forum, giving 900 guests the opportunity to listen to Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-9th) and her opponent Joel Pollak answer in-depth questions about their stances and proposed Congressional actions involving Israel, its neighbors and the U.S. relationship. To Protect Our Heritage, the Midwest's oldest and largest bi-partisan, pro-Israel PAC, recognizes and welcomes that both candidates define themselves as strongly pro-Israel.

The PAC has endorsed and contributed to Rep. Schakowsky in the past because of her excellent voting record on Israel-related issues. We appreciate Rep. Schakowsky's stance, stated at the Forum, that an undivided city of Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of the Jewish State of Israel and that our country should promptly move our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. We also appreciate her statement that Mohammad Abbas should immediately recognize Israel as a Jewish state in return for a two-month continuation of Israel's moratorium on additional building of homes in the West Bank, as offered by Benjamin Netanyahu.

However, following the forum, the TPOH candidate selection committee conferred and chose to endorse Joel Pollak for the 9th District U.S. Congressional seat because his responses to the questions showed him to be an articulate and unwavering LEADER for the U.S.-Israel relationship. While we appreciate Rep. Schakowsky's history of affirmative votes on legislation introduced by others, we are convinced that Joel Pollak will be a stronger advocate for the critical relationship between our country and Israel. In seeking out ways to strengthen the ties and protect Israel, he will be helping both nations.

In response to the question "What two pieces of Israel-related legislation will you propose if you are in the House of Representatives next February?" Pollak advocated (1) ceasing U.S. funding of the U.N. Human Rights Council, whose leadership has included many of the world's most sadistic tyrants and whose primary function and accomplishment for years has been to condemn Israel - while ignoring real human rights violations throughout the rest of the world, and (2) making a clear statement to Iran that the U.S. considers Israel an ally like NATO allies and thus "a strike against Israel would be a strike against the U.S." Although Rep. Schakowsky mentioned reaffirming the U.S. commitment to Israel, she offered no specifics. We note that in her twelve years in Congress she has not authored any legislation on Israel.

Problematic are Rep. Schakowsky's strong ties with individuals and groups such as J Street, whose members came as a group to cheer her at the forum. J Street has labeled itself as pro-Israel; however, its underlying mission has been revealed to be the weakening of bi-partisan Congressional support for Israel by, among other tactics, drawing away Democratic support for that relationship. J Street leadership has come out not only against AIPAC (American Public Affairs Committee) on various congressional initiatives but has ridiculed and attacked some of Israel's strongest defenders, such as Elie Wiesel, Alan Dershowitz, and Joe Lieberman. Israel's Ambassador Michael Oren characterized J Street as "a unique problem in that it not only opposes one policy of one Israeli government, it opposes all policies of all Israeli governments...This is not a matter of settlements here [or] there. We understand there are differences of opinion, but when it comes to the survival of the Jewish state, there should be no differences of opinion." J Street has recently been exposed as deceiving the public by presenting its funders as pro-Israel, when in fact they include major contributions from a mysterious Hong Kong donor and George Soros, whose antipathy towards Israel is well documented. Rep. Schakowsky, by her staunch support of J Street since its inception - and she has been a main if not the main beneficiary of J Street fundraising efforts - likely unwittingly threatens to make Israel a partisan issue between the two political parties.

The answers to the question "Why is Israel important to the U.S?" highlighted the core difference between the candidates. Rep. Schakowsky listed Israel's important technological and medical achievements which benefit the U.S. On the other hand, Pollak underscored the deeper philosophical and cultural connection between the two nations. He noted that America and Israel represent the values of opportunity, liberty, and respect for the individual human being. Moreover he stated, "America and Israel were founded on the same idea that oppressed and persecuted people could build something new through nothing more than hard work and faith... A world that is not safe for Israel and the idea of Israel is not safe for the United States and the idea of the United States."

Joel Pollak, who brilliantly articulates his pro-Israel message whether his audience is in a synagogue, church or mosque, understands the importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship and is unafraid to declare a clear and compelling case for that relationship. Therefore, To Protect Our Heritage PAC, whose sole mission is strengthening the bonds between Israel and the U.S., endorses Joel Pollak. By serving as a leader on the issue, Joel Pollak will strengthen both nations.

NOTE: The endorsement is by To Protect Our Heritage PAC and not event co-sponsors, most of whom do not endorse or contribute to political candidates.


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