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May 20, 2011 


This week's issue highlights the following significant developments here and in the Middle East:
  • President Obama gave an address this week about the Middle East and North Africa.  Read the full text here.   
  • President Obama met with Prime Minister Netanyahu this week at the White House.  Here are their joint remarks. 
  • A new Senate bill would impose mandatory parental notification for minors seeking abortions and waiting periods for all abortions nationwide.
  • PBS aired a documentary about the human story behind the Supreme Court decision which laid the framework for modern separation of religion and state.
  • Anti-semitism has returned to Europe.


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.



obamaRemarks of President Obama - "A Moment of Opportunity"
The State Department is a fitting venue to mark a new chapter in American diplomacy. For six months, we have witnessed an extraordinary change take place in the Middle East and North Africa.  Square by square; town by town; country by country; the people have risen up to demand their basic human rights. Two leaders have stepped aside. More may follow. And though these countries may be a great distance from our shores, we know that our own future is bound to this region by the forces of economics and security; history and faith.

jointremarksRemarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel After Bilateral Meeting - 5/20/2011
Well, let me, first of all, welcome again Prime Minister Netanyahu, who I think has now been here seven times during the course of my presidency.  And I want to indicate that the frequency of these meetings is an indication of the extraordinary bonds between our two countries, as is the opportunity for the Prime Minister to address Congress during his visit here.  I know that's an honor that's reserved for those who have always shown themselves to be a great friend of the United States and is indicative of the friendship between our countries.

Understanding Obama's shift on Israel and the '1967 lines'
This sentence in President Obama's much-anticipated speech on the Middle East caused much consternation Thursday among supporters of the Jewish state. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who will meet with Obama on Friday, adamantly rejected it.

Learning from the 'Jewish Spring' by Danny Ayalon
It is extraordinary that many supporters of the so-called 'Arab Spring' have criticized and condemned the only real 'Spring' to have successfully brought democracy and freedom to the Middle East. As of last week, the 'Jewish Spring' is 63 years old and showing no signs of weakening.

Was Mahmoud Abbas's Family Expelled from Palestine?
In an op-ed in the Times today (about which more later, if I can get to it), the Palestinian president,  Mahmoud Abbas writes the following about himself: "Sixty-three years ago, a 13-year-old Palestinian boy was forced to leave his home in the Galilean city of Safed and flee with his family to Syria. He took up shelter in a canvas tent provided to all the arriving refugees. Though he and his family wished for decades to return to their home and homeland, they were denied that most basic of human rights."


senatebillSenate Bill Would Require Parental Notification, Waiting Period Before Abortion Care for Minors
On Monday, Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) and five Republican co-sponsors introduced a bill (S 1005) that would require abortion providers to notify parents by certified mail if their minor daughter seeks an abortion, The Hill's "Floor Action Blog" reports. Providers would have to wait four days before performing the procedure -- a provision designed to allow parents time to seek a court action to block it. Violations of the requirements could result in fines of up to $1 million and prison terms of up to 10 years for providers.



Who Pays for Unintended Pregnancies?
While some states and the federal government debate whether to halt funding of Planned Parenthood and other providers of family planning services, a new study finds that the cost of unintended pregnancies is large, and much of the bill - about $11 billion per year - goes to government programs and ultimately taxpayers.



"Ban Carhart" Bill Planned By Democrats While Republicans Complain
A bill that would effectively shut off any attempt for Dr. Leroy Carhart to open a later term abortion clinic in Council Bluffs is about to be proposed by Democrats in the Iowa senate, leaving Republicans fuming that it doesn't go far enough.

Minnesota Senate easily approves limits on abortions
A pair of bills that would dramatically limit abortion rights passed their final legislative hurdle on Monday and will soon be headed to the governor's desk.

Kansas Anti-Abortion Bill Could Also Block Planned Parenthood Funding
The Kansas state legislature passed a bill early Friday morning that bans insurance companies from offering abortion coverage in their general plans in most cases and manipulates the state budget to cut all Title X family planning funding from Planned Parenthood.


OU urges passage of Florida measure allowing religious funding
The Orthodox Union urged Florida voters to pass a 2012 ballot that would repeal a measure banning funding of religious institutions.

Church of Scientology Booklet Rejected from Ill. School Curriculum 

An Illinois state representative seems to be at odds recently with the law after presenting a bill that would, unbeknownst to him, introduce teachings of the Church of Scientology to public school curriculums.

pbsSeparation of Church and State: PBS Airs Documentary of  a Mother's Story 

Too often we get so caught up in the pop themes that dominate our public affairs discourse -- the who's-on-first, pros-and-cons, winners-and-losers of it all -- that we blur the focus on the human factor. The people. People who are affected by the outcome. People with the courage to affect the outcome.


Don't Give Up Your Day Job
IF we are to believe the latest round of political wife coverage, Callista Gingrich is the new face of her husband's presidential campaign, and Maria Shriver is a former first lady lost in transition.

antisemitismThe Full-Blown Return of Anti-Semitism in Europe 

On April 19, the Corfu synagogue, in Greece, was burned. How many Jews live in Corfu today? One hundred and fifty. How many Jews live in Greece? Eight thousand, or about 0.8% of the population. For some, it seems these figures are still far too high. Two other synagogues were burned in Greece during the past year. Anti-Semitic graffiti on the walls are spreading all over the country.


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