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February 11, 2011 


This issue highlights the following significant developments here and in the Middle East:
  • The US and the rest of the world are closely watching the unrest in Egypt and the Middle East.
  • The abortion debate is heating up on Capitol Hill as bills to limit access are taken up in the House.
  • The systematic crumbling of the separation of religion and state violates two clauses in the Bill of Rights. 
  • Senate women, through civility pact, manage to disagree yet still like one another. 
  • A useful chart showing countries in the Middle East with political and demographic information may help explain current tensions and political outcomes.  


Remember to check out our blog to keep up with current events, op-eds, reproductive rights information, sort fact from fiction in your inbox about Israel, and Presidential Ponderings - Gail's thoughts and observations.



mubarakMubarak resigns; hands power to Egyptian military
President Hosni Mubarak resigned Friday and handed power to the Egyptian military, setting off wild celebrations among protesters across the country who had demanded his ouster for the last 18 days.



Israel, Alone Again? 
ISRAELIS want to rejoice over the outbreak of protests in Egypt's city squares. They want to believe that this is the Arab world's 1989 moment. Perhaps, they say, the poisonous reflex of blaming the Jewish state for the Middle East's ills will be replaced by an honest self-assessment.


What Israel fears in Egypt 
One might expect that Israelis, who live in the only democracy in the Middle East, would turn out in the squares of Jerusalem and the gardens of Tel Aviv to show solidarity with the demonstrators in Egypt. The protesters, after all, are seeking to overthrow an authoritarian regime.
It's never been about Palestine
The anti-Mubarak revolution won't only topple an authoritarian regime. It will also topple 40-plus years of wrong-headed thinking about the causes of Middle East instability among the world's foreign-policy cognoscenti.

Is a Palestinian Statehood in the Near Future a Realistic Proposition?
On December 13, 2010 the European Union's Foreign Affairs Council issues a press release on the subject of its meeting held on the same day to discuss the Middle East Peace Process.  The document included the following clause:

No room at table for Muslim Brotherhood
Free and democratic societies take chances. They guarantee freedom of speech and of the press, despite the risk that harmful, foolish, or depraved ideas may be promoted. They require due process of law before an offender can be punished, even though some who are guilty may go free as a result. They give citizens the power to elect their rulers, notwithstanding the possibility that voters will choose officials who are corrupt or incompetent.

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood: In Their Own Words
The Muslim Brotherhood has taken a greater role in organizing the protest against the Egyptian regime as it unfolds its independent political agenda. Rashad al-Bayumi, the Brotherhood's second-in-command, announced in an interview with Japanese TV that the group would join a transitional government in order to cancel the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, as it "offends the Arabs' dignity and destroys the interests of Egypt and other Arab states." He further stressed that Egypt does not need American aid.


abortionAbortion debate heats up on Capitol Hill
A renewed - and heated - debate about abortion is underway one month into a congressional session that largely has devoted its energy to tackling economic issues.



Archaic attitudes in abortion bill
Under pressure from appalled voters, House Republicans have removed the most galling provisions from their "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act'' - the ones that would have changed the legal definition of rape and incest as exceptions to the funding ban. But there is still plenty to dislike about this outmoded bill.

It's Not About Who Pays.  It's About Respect
Pro-choice clergy in the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice network are outraged at the lack of respect for women's lives implicit in HR 3 - the deceptively named "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" introduced by Rep. Chris Smith. The injustice of this bill is appalling. Simply, it fails to acknowledge the worth - in religious terms, the sacredness - of women's lives. In that respect, it is immoral.

Texas Jumps on Anti-Abortion 'Sonogram' Bandwagon on Heels of Scary Ohio 'Heartbeat' Bill
This week, Texas State Senators will consider a barbaric new bill that would force women to look at a sonogram, hear a heartbeat and listen to their doctor's detailed description of the fetus just two hours before receiving their scheduled abortion.


separationThe Quietly Crumbling Wall of Separation
In his recent RD piece, law professor Bruce Ledewitz does a good job telling the story of the trend toward diminished protections for the free exercise of religion over the past couple of decades of federal jurisprudence. But it's not the whole story.


The Koch Brothers' Vast Right-Wing Media Conspiracy
Last June, Glenn Beck paused in the middle of a rant about the economy and climate on his television show for an important, if rather unexpected, aside. "I want to thank Charles Koch for this information," he said.



senatewomenSenate women's 'civility' pact
It's something you almost never see in Senate politics: one female senator attacking another, even when they're on opposite sides of an issue.  



chartA region on the edge
The source of much of the world's oil, the Middle East has been riled in recent weeks by a surge of protests against entrenched regimes, most notable an uprising against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.  (A helpful chart of the countries in the region.)


Battle over Mideast transit ads heating up across U.S.
With public bickering over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict already having spilled over into university student senates, corporate pension boards and even local farmers markets, the latest battlefield in the debate over the conflict is municipal transit systems.


Our members count on JACPAC to provide information on current events, candidates, and elections.  JACPAC depends on membership support to make this possible.

If you have not renewed your membership, please consider doing so today, to help us pursue a strong US-Israel relationship, reproductive choice, and separation of religion and state.  Together we can make this a better world!


Gail Yamner, President
Marcia Balonick, Executive Director
Joy Malkus, Executive Research Director