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Joint Action Committee for Political Affairs

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JACPAC's News & Opinion Digest

September 2, 2011 

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This week's issue highlights the following significant developments here and in the Middle East:
  • A UN report has deemed Israel's naval blockade of Gaza legal.   
  • While many states have been limiting access to abortion, the Obama administration has been actively prosecuting those who restrict access to clinics.  
  • Just after Indiana authorizes the widest voucher program in the country, Catholic schools see a surge in enrollment.  
  • The impact of Israel as a partisan issue
  • A remembrance of Dr. King from someone who marched with him and a reaffirmation that we still have work to do. 



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.

Palestinian Leaders to Seek the U.N.'s Blessing 

Late this month, leaders of the Palestinian Authority are expected to issue a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) and ask, in the words of PA foreign minister Nabil Shaath, that it receive "the blessing of the U.N."


Israeli Amb.: Palestinian statehood vote could end all PA agreements with Israel and the U.S.
If the Palestinians go forward with their drive to seek recognition as a state at the U.N. General Assembly next month, all agreements governing Israeli-Palestinian and U.S.-Palestinian cooperation could become null and void, according to Israel's ambassador to the United States.  



Iron Dome is not enough to protect Israeli citizens
As the walrus said to the carpenter in Lewis Carroll's fable, "the time has come to talk of many things." In Israel, after the pounding Israel's citizens in the south took from assorted rockets and mortar shells in the past weeks, the time has come to talk of that great Israeli development, the Iron Dome rocket interception system.  


gazaIsrael blockade of Gaza legal, UN review says
A UN review has found that Israel's naval blockade of Gaza is legal and appropriate but that the way its forces boarded a Turkish-based flotilla trying to break that blockade 15 months ago, killing nine passengers, was excessive and unreasonable.



Israel defiant: No apology to Turkey
Israel has no intention of apologizing to Turkey over the 2010 flotilla raid despite Ankara's latest ultimatum, a senior official told Ynet Thursday.



Turks reduce Israel's diplomatic presence, expel envoys
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Friday said that Israel's diplomatic presence in Turkey was being cut to second secretary level, effectively expelling Israeli diplomats after details emerged of the Palmer Report which dealt with the IDF raid on the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara ship. 



'UN recognition won't stop PA demand for right of return'
The Palestinians will continue to demand the right of return for millions of refugees to their original homes inside Israel even after the UN recognizes a Palestinian state along the June 4, 1967, lines, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday.



If the Arab Spring Turns Ugly
The Arab Spring is a hopeful chapter in Middle Eastern politics, but the region's history points to darker outcomes. There are no recent examples of extended power-sharing or peaceful transitions to democracy in the Arab world. When dictatorships crack, budding democracies are more than likely to be greeted by violence and paralysis.   



The Unbreakable Muslim Brotherhood: Grim Prospects for a Liberal Egypt  

The protesters who led Egypt's revolt last January were young, liberal, and linked-in. They were the bloggers who first proposed the demonstrations against Hosni Mubarak on Twitter; the Facebook-based activists who invited their "friends" to protest; and Wael Ghonim, the 30-year-old Google executive who, after Egypt's state security agency detained him for 12 days, rallied the crowds to hold Tahrir Square. 


The Ground Shifts in the Middle East, by Elliott Abrams
How quickly the ground has shifted in the Middle East. The apparent fall of Tripoli suggests that the Gaddafi regime will not last long, and this must send shivers down the spine of the cousins who run the Assad mafia in Damascus. For once Gaddafi is gone all attention will turn to the remaining Arab despotism, and the opposition to Assad will grow in energy and confidence. Now is the time to turn up the pressure and make Assad fall sooner rather than later, for every additional week means scores more Syrians murdered in the streets of the country.  

Reproductive Rights

Federal Judge rejects key provisions of Texas anti-abortion law

Finding that a Texas law requiring doctors to display and describe the sonograms of women seeking abortions violates the First Amendment-and certifying as a class action a lawsuit brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights to overturn the law-a federal judge today blocked enforcement of key provisions of the law until the case is resolved.


Idaho woman challenges abortion laws after prosecution

An Idaho woman prosecuted for terminating her own pregnancy with an abortion pill ordered over the Internet has filed suit challenging a decades-old law under which she was charged, as well as a new state ban on abortions after 20 weeks of gestation.

protestJustice Department Tougher on Abortion Protesters 

The Obama Justice Department has been taking a more aggressive approach against people who block access to abortion clinics, using a 1994 law to bring cases in greater numbers than its predecessor.

Here's some school choice for you: Let's choose to wait and see on vouchers 

Just as backers had hoped and opponents feared, a new statewide school voucher program in Indiana is draining money from public education and offering new life to struggling parochial schools.


vouchersVouchers filling private schools 

Weeks after Indiana began the nation's broadest school voucher program, thousands of students have transferred from public to private schools, causing a spike in enrollment at some Roman Catholic institutions that were only recently on the brink of closing for lack of pupils.
Political Bytes

Obama can't win for winning in Libya, by E.J. Dionne 

You have to ask: If unemployment were at 6 percent, would President Obama be getting pummeled for not having us back to full employment already?


The Great Divide 

The collision between Jon Huntsman and Rick Perry over climate change and the evolution of human life threatens to widen the central rift in the Republican electoral coalition even as it helps each man sharpen his image in the party's crowded 2012 presidential field.

israelThe Obama Effect  

When an Orthodox Jewish, kippa-wearing Democratic candidate might lose a congressional election in the most Jewish (and 75% Democratic) congressional district in America - a seat occupied by Democrats for nearly a century - to a non-Jewish Republican, something significant is going on. And Golda Koppelman knows what that something is.

An Old Hatred Returns By Europe's Back Door 

In mid-August, as London's neighbourhoods underwent violence, looting and fire, France's Jews looked on with a familiar disquiet. Jews were in no sense the target of this summer's rioting, but a decade ago, something similar went wrong on the streets of Paris that has not been put right since. The present era of European street violence began with widespread assaults on Jews around Paris in the autumn of 2000, the year of the so-called "second intifada" in Israel. The following year saw riots in Oldham and Rochdale - overshadowed in retrospect by the destruction of the World Trade Center just weeks later.


kingJourney to freedom: Reflecting on the King memorial 

Time affirms what heroism discerns. The dedication of a statue in memory of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is a belated yet significant tribute to a man who did so much to redefine the meaning of our democracy.

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

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Joint Action Committee for Political Affairs (JACPAC) is a national network committed to the special relationship between the US and Israel and a social agenda that includes reproductive rights and separation of religion and state.  JACPAC supported US Senate and House candidates who uphold this agenda and maintains ongoing dialogue with those it helps elect.  In addition, JACPAC serves as a political resource for the Jewish community, furnishing information about candidates, elections and issues.