JACPAC News & Opinion Digest

November 16, 2012  

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Today, the President spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Morsi about the rocket attacks being launched from Gaza into Israel, and the escalating violence in Gaza. 
The President reiterated to Prime Minister Netanyahu the United States' support for Israel's right to self-defense in light of the barrage of rocket attacks being launched from Gaza against Israeli civilians.  The President urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to make every effort to avoid civilian casualties.  The two agreed that Hamas needs to stop its attacks on Israel to allow the situation to de-escalate.  The two leaders agreed to stay in close touch in the coming days.  Earlier today, Vice President Biden received a briefing from Prime Minister Netanyahu on the events in Gaza.

The President also spoke with President Morsi given Egypt's central role in preserving regional security.  In their conversation, President Obama condemned the rocket fire from Gaza into Israel and reiterated Israel's right to self-defense.  The two leaders agreed on the importance of working to de-escalate the situation as quickly as possible and agreed to stay in close touch in the days ahead.
Israel & The Middle East 
Cabinet approves call up of 75,000 reservists in advance of possible ground invasion
Hamas continues to fire into Israel. The IDF continues to attack terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip. The IDF spokesperson reports that over 500 strikes have been carried out by the military since Operation Pillar of Defense commenced on Wednesday afternoon. Hamas and terrorist organizations in Gaza have launched more than 70 rockets on Friday alone. The Times of Israel is liveblogging developments.

Rockets Target Jerusalem; Israel Girds for Gaza Invasion
Palestinian militants fired rockets for the first time at Jerusalem on Friday in a daring new escalation of hostilities with Israel on the third day of their latest lethal conflict over Gaza, triggering air raid sirens and panicking residents who had thought themselves secure from such attacks because of the holy city's multi-religious heritage and large Palestinian population.
IDF kills top Hamas commander; prepares for ground offensive
As part of Israeli operation against terrorists, Hamas military chief Jabari killed, long-range rockets destroyed; infantry units moved south, reservists called up.

ussupportUS Senate unanimous in 'unwavering commitment' to Israel 
The United States Senate sent a message of solidarity to Israel on Thursday by unanimously passing a resolution that expressed firm support for Israel's right to protect its people from terrorism on the second day of Pillar of Defense.


State Department sides with Israel in new Hamas war

The State Department on Wednesday condemned Hamas for firing rockets into Israel and said the U.S. government supports Israel's right to retaliate, as Israel did today by killing Hamas leader Ahmed Jabari.  "We strongly condemn the barrage of rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel, and we regret the death and injury of innocent Israeli and Palestinian civilians caused by the ensuing violence," State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement.

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The world understands our right to defend ourselves, Israel's UN envoy says 
The "members of the Security Council understood Israel's right to defend itself," Israel's envoy to the UN Ron Prosor said Thursday following a UN Security Council emergency session dealing with the situation in Gaza.  The Palestinian Authority must condemn the firing of rockets from Gaza, he added. At the session, Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour slammed Israel for its "onslaught" in the Strip.

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Michael Oren: It's May 1967-or May 1948

Michael Oren has served as Israel's ambassador to the U.S. for the past three years. But his real trade isn't diplomacy, it's the past: Before Oren took on arguably the toughest job in Washington, he wrote books about Mideast history. So when I spoke to the ambassador yesterday afternoon about Operation Pillar of Defense, I asked him what historical moment he'd compare this one to: "In the best of circumstances, it's May 1967. And the worst, May 1948. Rarely in our history have we ever faced such a broad spectrum of monumental threats."

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The International Background to Hamas' Escalation Against Israel - by Dore Gold 

Reproductive Rights

President Barack Obama's health reform law has cleared its biggest obstacle to date - Obama's reelection - but a wave of lawsuits means a new hurdle is quickly taking shape.  Dozens of lawsuits have been filed challenging the law's requirement that employers cover contraceptives in their health insurance policies. In recent days, two developments have emerged that show the challenge could get significant attention from the courts.

unbirthcontrolU.N.: Contraception Access A Human Right
The United Nations says access to contraception is a universal human right that could dramatically improve the lives of women and children in poor countries. It is the first time the U.N. Population Fund's annual report explicitly describes family planning as a human right.

Ohio House Committee Votes To Defund Planned Parenthood 
After a lengthy and heated hearing, an Ohio bill meant to defund Planned Parenthood cleared a House committee on Wednesday by an 11-9 vote along party lines. House Bill 298, ostensibly about re-prioritizing federal family planning money, seeks to strip $1.7 million from Planned Parenthood clinics in the state. According to Planned Parenthood Ohio CEO Stephanie Knight, nearly 100,000 Ohio women depend on the organization for health care - overwhelmingly for preventative care including cancer screenings and birth control.

Nina Turner, Ohio State Senator, Wears GOP Acronym T-Shirt: 'Get Out Of My Panties'  
To protest Ohio Republicans' renewed efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, Ohio State Sen. Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) wore a provocative t-shirt at a press conference on Tuesday that suggests a new meaning for the acronym "GOP": "Get Out of my Panties."
Separation of Religion & State
Challenge to school credit for Bible study in SC refused

The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear an appeal on released time for religious education, effectively ending a three-year legal battle between Spartanburg School District 7 and parents and a former student of the district.

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schoolSchool Curriculums Face Controversial Changes Via Recent Bills, Legislation (SLIDESHOW)
Over the past couple years, several states attempted - and in some instances, succeeded - in passing legislation that brought controversial changes to school curricula. Vouchers, banning sex ed, promoting abstinence only education, anti-science, and anti-history changes have been instituted along with curricula to expand sex ed and teach the historical and current contributions of gays and lesbians.
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Political Bytes
Long lines at the polls stir calls in Congress for election reform
A growing number of lawmakers want Congress to step in to streamline voters' trips to the polls. 


Election Day: A view from the ground - Manassas  

JAC member, Johanna Mendelson Forman, discusses her experiences ensuring voting rights in Virginia.  

At 5:30 a.m. on Election Day in Manassas, Virginia, I set up my Voter Protection Stand at a Manassas schoolhouse. As part of the largest Voter Protection program launched by the Obama campaign, my mission was clear: ensure that everyone who wanted to vote had his or her chance.  

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womenWomen's Groups: 2012 Gains Were About More Than Just Todd Akin

Republicans leaders are lining up to blame failed Senate candidates Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock for dragging down the party with their comments on rape. But Democratic women say that their success this election cycle ran far deeper than one or two meltdowns. 

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Israel Flying Aid Gives Food, Generators, Gas To Hurricane Sandy New York, New Jersey Victims
Israel Flying Aid, the Israeli global humanitarian organization which was first to land in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake, has been distributing large supplies of gas to hospitals, food, batteries and generators to Hurricane Sandy victims.  "We have many years of disaster relief experience," said Israel Flying Aid North American Operations Manager Moti Kahana.  "Israel Flying Aid, in having Israelis on the ground here in New York and New Jersey, have made Israel the only foreign nation to provide humanitarian assistance to the US during this disaster. We are working in coordination with FEMA, local police, the American Red Cross and Jewish communities in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut."

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



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.