JACPAC News & Opinion Digest

April 19, 2013   

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This week's issue highlights the following significant developments here and in the Middle East:
  • Despite budget cuts, Pentagon intends to continue supporting Israel's Iron Dome.   
  • So far 2013 has seen almost 700 state laws introduced aimed at reproductive rights and abortion.


    Separation of religion and state is not a new idea - even Roger Williams promoted it. 

  • Don't like this president's judicial nominees? Let's eliminate the seats.

  • Impassioned and outraged, Gabrielle Giffords reflects on this week's Senate vote on gun violence prevention. 
  • Children work towards peace and understanding on the soccer field.



Remember to check out our blog to keep up with current issues and opinion and to sort fact from fiction on the Internet.  Be sure to read Presidential Ponderings, thoughts and observations from JACPAC President Janna Berk.


Check out the all-new Open Mic for comments, opinions, essays, and more from JAC members. 

Israel & The Middle East 
US Senate committee passes resolution to back Israel in conflict with Iran
While Israel was marking 65 years of independence on Tuesday, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to endorse Resolution 65, affirming that the U.S. will fully back Israel should it be drawn into a conflict with Iran.


PM: Israel's self-defense not open for debate 

Iran needs only 80 kilograms more of 20% enriched uranium before it can produce a nuclear bomb, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the BBC in an interview broadcast on Thursday afternoon.

Read Full Article

irondomeUS to invest additional $400 million in Iron Dome
The Pentagon, which had already spent $204 million in 2011 and $70 million in 2012, also foresees a budget of 176 million for the Iron Dome system in 2015.
Read Full Article

Hagel: US can support Israel if it strikes Iran

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told the House subcommittee on defense appropriations on Tuesday that the US has "the military capability" to back any Israeli action against Iran should President Barack Obama decide to do so.
Read Full Article

Fayyad Resignation Comes Amid Internal Palestinian, Diplomatic Disarray; Leaves Future US Aid In Doubt
Palestinian Authority (PA) President Muhammad Abbas's Saturday evening decision to accept the resignation of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad came as a result of political jockeying and amid intense international diplomacy.
Israel's Natural Gas Finds Win the World's Notice

Israel's visiting guest this week is not a head-of-state. But he is just as important. It is Noble Energy's Chief Executive Charles Davidson, whose company is working with government and business there to commercialize huge natural gas deposits.

Read Full Article 

Reproductive Rights
guttmacherState Policy Trends 2013: Abortion Bans Move to the Fore

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/04/01/4156563/abortion-clinic-to-open-in-wichita.html#storylink=cpy
In 2013, as in recent years, state legislatures are devoting significant attention to issues related to reproductive health and rights. During the first three months of the year, legislators have introduced 694 provisions on these issues, and 93 have been approved by at least one legislative body.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/04/01/4156563/abortion-clinic-to-open-in-wichita.html#storylink=cpy   

Courage in Kansas
Nearly four years after an anti-abortion extremist opened fire and killed a Wichita abortion provider, Dr. George Tiller, as he stood in the foyer of his church, a new medical clinic offering comprehensive reproductive health services - including abortions through the first trimester of pregnancy - opened on April 3. It is in the building that once housed Dr. Tiller's clinic.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/03/20/4133089/kansas-abortion-bill-is-cruel.html#storylink=cpy
Read Full Article

Religious Birth Control Exemptions Are a Double Standard

In a letter sent on March 30, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and 12 other Republican attorney generals asked the White House to exempt private employers who object on religious grounds from an Obamacare rule that mandates free contraceptive coverage in all health plans. But providing a regulatory exemption on religious grounds wouldn't just weaken good socioeconomic policy; it would also undermine long-established, sensible rules about commerce and the government's role in the economy.  
Read Full Article

States Embracing More Aggressive Approach on Abortion Restrictions   
Although states enacted a record number of abortion restrictions in both 2011 and 2012, abortion-rights opponents this year are employing more aggressive tactics in conservative states where lawmakers are receptive to their ideas, according to abortion-rights advocates.  
Read Full Article

Johns Hopkins grants anti-abortion group official status as campus organization   
After previously being denied by the Student Government Association's Senate, an antiabortion group at Johns Hopkins University has been granted official status as a campus organization and will continue to conduct "sidewalk interference" sessions outside clinics, now with possible university funding. 
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Gosnell Trial Should Sound Alarm 
The Gosnell trial tells the story of everything that's dangerous about taking away access to abortion for women who are so desperate that they feel they have nowhere else to turn. 
Separation of Religion & State
churchChurch, state must remain separate

An ACLU lawsuit over a religious portrait in a small public school in Jackson, Ohio, seems to some a strictly modern phenomenon, a controversy invented by the godless masses to pull this nation in a direction its Founders never intended.   

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Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor talks church, state law in South Carolina

Issues dealing with church and state will always be among the toughest the nation's courts deal with and there's no easy test for deciding them, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said Monday.
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Political Byte

dccourtGrassley Proposes Eliminating 3 Seats On Powerful Court To Keep Obama From Filling Them

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is the second most powerful court in the country. It's also a bastion of right-wing jurisprudence thanks in no small part to Senate Republican filibusters.
Read Full Article

You can't understand what's happened to the Senate without these two graphs   
The senators who blocked the Manchin-Toomey background checks bill represent about a third of the country's population. The Senate has always disproportionately represented small states, but the bias hasn't always been extreme.   
Read Full Article 
Gun Violence Prevention

Senate rejects background checks on gun purchases in 54-46 vote

The Senate delivered a devastating blow to President Obama's agenda to regulate guns Wednesday by defeating a bipartisan proposal to expand background checks.
Read Full Article

gabbyA Senate in the Gun Lobby's Grip, Gabrielle Giffords
SENATORS say they fear the N.R.A. and the gun lobby. But I think that fear must be nothing compared to the fear the first graders in Sandy Hook Elementary School felt as their lives ended in a hail of bullets.   
Read Full Article

Growth of suburbs in pro-gun states changing the political calculus in Congress 
Pennsylvania, Georgia and Virginia have long been bastions of gun-rights supporters, with vast rural areas and strong hunting traditions. But in recent days, lawmakers from those states have demonstrated a new willingness to back stricter firearms regulations. 
Read Full Article 

Boston Marathon Blasts: Doctor Credits Israelis With Helping Set Up Disaster Team (VIDEO)   

Hours following a pair of blasts at the Boston Marathon that left 2 dead and up to 100 wounded according to reports, a chief doctor at the hospital where many of the patients are being treated credited Israelis with teaching his team how to respond to such disastrous attacks.
Read Full Article

Israel: Shining bright for 65 years 
Smiles and sunsets, babies and bakers, surfers and clergymen - they're all part of the Israel we love, accompanied by the awesome song "Shine" by Israel-born Rosi Golan.
Watch Video

soccerIsraeli, Palestinian kids come together for soccer  
After a week of unrest in Gaza and the West Bank, where there have recently been rocket attacks and violent protests, Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian children will come together on Friday to take part in a "meet your neighbor" soccer tournament run by the "Mifalot" peace organization. 
Read Full Article  

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 rights, and separation of religion and state.  Together we can make this a better world!



Janna Berk, 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.