As candidates from both sides of the aisle feverishly stump to achieve a victory in the upcoming November mid-term elections, pundits and opinion makers have been focusing on a small but highly significant race for Chicago's 9th congressional district. It is
Israel is facing existential perils that are graver than they ever were before and my opponent just does not understand that.
in this suburban Chicago setting where political neophyte Joel B. Pollak (R) is seeking to unseat the incumbent, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, (D-Ill.) who is running for her seventh term in congress.
Israel National News spoke with Mr. Pollak, a soft-spoken, 33-year-old Orthodox Jew and Harvar- trained lawyer who has decided to throw his hat in the political ring for the very first time. "I grew up in a traditional home, but my parents and I became more observant Jews and I learned first-hand of the special significance that Israel holds for the Jewish people" says Pollak.
"I love Israel – not just because it is my religious homeland, and not just because of my family roots there, but also because of the principle that it represents. The State of Israel stands for the idea that an oppressed people can take control of its own destiny, and build freedom and prosperity with nothing more than faith and hard work. It is the same idea that built America. That is why our two countries are so close, and will remain so."
Pollak, a resident of Skokie, a predominantly Jewish Chicago suburb, says that he is running for Congress because there is a failure of leadership in Washington and that the concerns of his constituents are not being addressed by their current representative. "I'm outraged that Congress did not raise their voices in indignation over the fact that 'war crimes' were committed against Israel during the Gaza flotilla debacle. Our government should demand accountability from those responsible for this attempted act of murder against Israeli soldiers and that includes Turkey and Iran. We must immediately reassess our relationship with Turkey and those countries who foster terrorism. Israel is facing existential perils that are graver than they ever were before and my opponent just does not understand that," he asserted.
Mr. Pollak feels that the tendentious climate towards Israel that has been created by the Obama administration has given tacit approval for his opponent to voice her extreme leftist views on both domestic and foreign issues. The Weekly Standard has reported that "Rep.Jan Schakowsky is one of the top recipients of campaign cash from J Street, the far-left organization that opposes Israel at every opportunity. It turns out that J Street has taken $750,000 from George Soros, despite the earlier denials of J Street executive director Jeremy Ben-Ami."
Moreover, at a recent Schakowsky fundraiser in Chicago, Helen Thomas, the former doyenne of the White House press corps appeared as the featured speaker and guest. Thomas, a long time pro-Palestinian apologist, achieved notoriety this past May 27th when she told Rabbi David Nesenoff after a White House Jewish Heritage event that the Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine" and went on to say that the Palestinian people “are occupied and it’s their land” and that Israelis should “go home” -- to Poland, Germany, America “and everywhere else.” Commenting on this, Mr. Pollak said, "Rep. Schakowsky and her guests were well aware of Thomas’s record of anti-Israel rhetoric, and were invited to distance themselves from her views. None did. Instead, Rep. Schakowsky declared proudly of Thomas: “She’s so awesome!”
On domestic issues Mr. Pollak stands in stark contrast to his opponent who has virtually rubber stamped the Obama agenda of redistribution of wealth, entitlements, government bailouts and health care reform. "I will introduce laws to roll back government interference in the economy. With appropriate regulations in place, the government should divest itself of the large chunks of the banking, insurance and automotive sectors it recently took over. We need to send the right signals to workers and entrepreneurs that the U.S. is once again a nation committed to free enterprise, job creation and economic growth", said Pollak.
Mr. Pollak added that he would lead the charge in Congress to change the current track of the Obama administration as it pertains to the economy and jobs. "I will oppose laws that hurt our economic recovery or destroy jobs. “Card Check,” for example, would violate workers’ rights and drive more businesses out of Illinois. Heavy new regulations such as Cap and Trade would wipe out jobs, raise energy costs and drive American industry overseas to high-polluting countries. We should fix the economy before creating new prohibitions or spending money on new entitlements."
Pollak plans to make job creation his top priority and has outlined his platform by saying, "I will propose an investment tax credit to help businesses invest in new capital and create new jobs. I will also help job creation and small business by proposing lower business taxes and capital gains taxes, which are currently among the world’s highest. I will work hard to reduce the federal budget deficit, which is crowding out new investment and hurting future job growth."
Mr, Pollak's views appear to have mass appeal as his constituents are representative of all nationalities, religions and race. "One of the issues that is placing tremendous pressure on working families is educational choice for their children. I happen to believe that children from economically depressed homes deserve the same quality, high ranking education that children from affluent families receive. Parents should have the choice to send their children to private schools, be they secular or religious and we should institute a system of tuition tax credits that would benefit everyone", he said.
On October 17th, Mr. Pollak received the endorsement of "To Protect Our Heritage" the Midwest's oldest and largest bi-partisan, pro-Israel PAC. Their endorsement statement said of Pollak: "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."
Concerning Pollak's opponent, TPOH expressed its thoughts by saying, "Problematic are Rep. Schakowsky’s strong ties with individuals and groups such as J Street. J Streethas labeled itself as pro-Israel; however, its underlying mission has been revealed to be the weakening of bi-partisan Congressional support for Israelby, among other tactics, drawing away Democratic support for that relationship. 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."
Mr. Pollak has also been endorsed by Harvard law school professor Alan Dershowitz, who was a featured speaker at his fundraising event.