NJ: Group Wields a Big Stick for Israel


NJ: BERGEN GROUP WIELDS A BIG STICK FOR ISRAEL

An Englewood political action committee has emerged as one of the most powerful advocates for Israel, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign cash for U.S. congressional candidates.

NORPAC doesn't look like much at first glance. It operates from a private home and has only a few paid staffers.

What it does have is an abundance of money.

When Sen. Joseph Lieberman faced the political fight of his life last year, NORPAC stepped in with $140,000, the bulk of it in bundled contributions from individual donors, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan group that tracks campaign spending.

The reason for NORPAC's interest in a Connecticut race, in which Lieberman fended off a challenge from anti-war Democrat Ned Lamont, was simple.

"Lieberman was a friendly incumbent who was stellar on our issue," said Ben Chouake of Englewood, NORPAC's president.

The mostly volunteer group ventures far beyond the Northeast to back federal candidates, such as Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., whom it sees as supportive of the Jewish state. And it also helps defeat candidates, such as former Rep. Cynthia McKinney, D-Ga., whom it sees as hostile to Israel.

 


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