Speaker Mike Johnson with Stanley Stern

Congressman Brandon Williams, who has been serving as the U.S. representative for New York’s 22nd congressional district since 2023, is a great friend of Israel and the Jewish people. He is running for re-election in November. Williams is a Republican in a very heterogeneous district. Amongst other details, he points out that Joe Biden won his district in 2020 by 12%. But at the same time, Lee Zeldin won his district by 3% when he ran for Governor of New York two years ago.

He additionally points out two other very fascinating and important details. He believes that if he wins his race, it is an important indication that the Republicans will retain the majority in the House of Representatives. To buttress and reiterate that point, he adds, Minority Leader, Hakeem Jeffries, has specifically targeted his race and the DNC is ready to spend as much as $10 million in this relatively obscure part of upstate New York.

Williams, 57, is a Navy veteran and is completing his first term in Congress. His district in Syracuse is adjacent to better-known Republican representatives like Elise Stefanik and Claudia Tenney. As unknown as Williams may be, this is how important his presence in Congress is for Israel and the future of our country.

Rep. Brandon Williams with Shalom Maidenbaum
Rep. Brandon Williams with Stanley Stern

Despite the relative obscurity of the 22nd Congressional District in upstate New York, experts predict that if Williams can defend his seat against his Democratic opponent in November, it’s likely the Republicans will be able to maintain their majority in the House.

The Williams district is a bit of an anomaly. His district, which consists of Syracuse, Utica, and several surrounding counties, was won by President Biden over Donald Trump in 2020, but was also won by Lee Zeldin for Governor, who bested Kathy Hochul by 3%. In his own race in 2022, when Williams won his first House term, he won by just 1%.

Brandon Williams explains that Syracuse is a very mixed middle-class area. He explains that because his district is mostly middle-class, he has to reach outside the district to raise the money he needs to run a proper campaign.

Listening to Brandon Williams speak about how his life and career led to a successful congressional run is an illustration of a man who followed his heart and his faith both in G-d and in taking pride in what it means to be an American.

Williams was a high-ranking Naval officer on a nuclear submarine of which he makes clear he cannot speak too much about. Today, he is just one of two members of Congress who are naval veterans.

Williams is obviously a fair-minded individual whose life has been dictated by principle and an ethical forthrightness. He cites as an example a congressional bill known as H.R. 5 – The Parents Bill of Rights, a bill that establishes various rights of parents and guardians regarding the public elementary or secondary school education of their children, which includes the right to review the curriculum, the right to inspect books and other reading material, the right to receive information about violent activity in the school, and the right to be informed of and grant consent to certain activities.

Congressman Williams said that his objective is to teach Holocaust studies as part of the curriculum in public schools around the country. He adds that the Democrats in Congress fought him at every turn.

At our meeting, Williams spoke for about a half hour and every word was captivating. And that was regardless if he spoke about his leading position on a nuclear submarine, his naval work in Jordan, or his valued family trips to Israel.

The local NORPAC group, led by Lawrence residents Stanley and Trudy Stern, had a very busy weekend as the 2024 election cycle begins to hit its stride in earnest. Following the meeting with Congressman Williams, we were off to the city for a lunch meeting with House Speaker, Mike Johnson.

Speaker Mike Johnson with Trudy and Stanley Stern and Dana Gibber

Congressman Johnson is running the House with a razor-thin margin and is traversing the country campaigning for candidates who are either seeking re-election or hoping to flip a seat in various vulnerable parts of the country.

Johnson is a great supporter of Israel and frequently finds himself doing battle with the Biden administration to ensure the Biden foreign policy apparatus does not prevent the United States from fulfilling its congressional mandates to supply Israel with the vital arms they need to defend themselves from the terrorist groups surrounding them.

It was Speaker Johnson’s initiative to invite Prime Minister Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress on July 24, in just under a month. Mr. Johnson probably had to do a bit more than the usual arm twisting to get Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to agree to offer the opportunity to Mr. Netanyahu.

This, of course, is in the aftermath of Schumer doing the mindless bidding of the Biden foreign policy folks by standing up in the Senate and announcing that it was Netanyahu who was responsible and at fault for the Israel-Hamas war now in its eighth month. At the time, Schumer thought it appropriate at the height of a war for Israel’s survival to call for new elections in the Jewish State.

It reminded me of what Menachem Begin once said about Richard Nixon’s “Rogers Plan,” which was a framework proposed by then-Secretary of State William P. Rogers to the Arab-Israeli conflict after the Six Day War and the ongoing wars of attrition that essentially called for a two-state solution. At the time, Begin remarked on one of the Sunday news shows that “this was the plan of a man whose feet are firmly planted in the air.”

Begin argued in front of the Knesset in 1971 that 97% of the Knesset rejected the Rogers Plan because it would allow for Israeli cities to be vulnerable to Arab shelling. Furthermore, the plan gave Arabs everything, and he also reminded Rogers that Israel was the only obstacle preventing a Russian invasion into the region. Begin was also quoted as saying the U.S. supporting the Rogers Plan did not help, but only exacerbated the problem.

I don’t mean to compare Schumer to Nixon, but you see what I mean.

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik with Trudy Stern

Stanley and Trudy Stern with Congressman Gregory Meeks

Later that day and the next day, the NORPAC leadership group met with Congresswoman Elise Stefanik of upstate New York and Queens-Far Rockaway Congressman Gregory Meeks, who in the past, was Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs (2021-2023) and still serves on the committee. Meeks has very good contacts with his supporters in the Jewish community in his district, which includes Far Rockaway.

These encounters are vital as the political process gets into gear and the voters get serious first and foremost by kicking Congressman Jamaal Bowman out of his seat in the House and back to the classroom where he came from as a junior high school assistant teacher.

As you’ve no doubt seen on the news over the last few days, Bowman was carrying on like a lunatic at a Bronx rally on Saturday. Now we stand in the aftermath of a preliminary primary election with a result that shows Bowman was roundly rejected by a high, double margin, losing his Democratic primary by almost 20% to George Latimer.

Bowman was a member of the squad and he was nothing but trouble for the Democrats. The district is unevenly divided between parts of the Bronx and Westchester County. When you study the Bowman district map you have to wonder how he managed to ever get elected in the first place.

In Westchester, Latimer beat Bowman 63% to 37%, but in the Bronx Bowman won 84% to 16%. That Bowman lost handily is a good and positive omen for the future. In Bowman’s wild tirade last weekend, he spoke viciously and condescendingly, criticizing AIPAC’s role in the election where it was reported they poured in more than $14 million.

In addition to AIPAC, it’s important to note the vital involvement of Westchester Unites, a division of the Teach Coalition directed by Maury Litwack. Guided by Teach Coalition, they partnered with 35 Westchester community institutions that mobilized 650 volunteers to knock on 12,500 doors and make 50,000 calls to urge voters to cast their ballot.

As a result, 14,871 Jewish voters came out to vote in the primary, representing a turnout of 57% of eligible Jewish voters in comparison with a turnout of just 23% in the rest of the district. That’s how Bowman was defeated.

In the final analysis Bowman’s loss means a win for us all.

1 COMMENT

  1. B”H The old adage fits here: birds of a feather stick together. Larry Gordon, long occupying the constellation’s fringe political extremes demonstrates again the worry decent Americans, particularly, Jewish citizens, feel as he has long gravitated to MAGA politicians. The acronym does not make America great, but demeans it for recalling another dark period almost a century ago when the nativist America First movement surfaced. The three congresspeople he lionizes —- Brandon Williams, Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, and Speaker Mike Johnson —- represent their idol 45th President’s worst impulses to bring him back to power and restrict Constitutional First Amendment prerogatives! This bunch, part of a greater number endorsing a convicted felon, favor the craziness of removing books from public school and library shelves; overlooks the Speaker’s religious fundamentalism to turn America into a Christian nation; cowardly remaining silent on supporting Ukraine, and so much more. Let’s take the Speaker’s troubling invitation to the the Israeli premier to address a joint session of Congress. This divisive move is clearly designed to stir the pot of our own internal malaise, and has already made several lawmakers decide to boycott or otherwise create or attend other events. Such political intrusion further accentuates already a fraught American campaign season. Our democracy is facing a crisis that can only worsen if the demonstrably disgraced and unfit 45th President returns to sully the White House, along with these three and other MAGA cultists. We can’t expect fair, balanced, and unafraid journalism from the publisher-editor of the 5TJT. We must make our own independent decision to spurn such candidates on November 5; for our nation and for ourselves! With fraternal affection, Asher 🙏😢🇺🇸🤣

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