JACPAC News & Opinion Digest

September 12, 2013   

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September 23rd
Talking Points HP
with Rep. Brad Schneider (IL-10)

Membership Meeting
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January 2014
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September 27th
Women's Senate Network Luncheon
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October 6th

Women's Brunch with Nancy Pelosi & Lilly Ledbetter
Evanston, IL

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On Our Radar

Federal Legislation we are watching:

* Syrian Chemical
* Voting Rights Act
* Federal 20-week 
   abortion ban
* Employment
 Act (ENDA)
* Sexual Assault in
   the Military
* Farm Bill - food
   aid (SNAP)
* HR 1565 - Public
   Safety & 2nd
   Rights Act

Say NO to hunger. 

Jewish tradition demands we care for the poor and feed the hungry.

Call your elected officials and urge them to reinstate and support the SNAP program and other food assistance programs in the Farm Bill.

No one should ever go hungry in our country.  
Your voice DOES make a difference.
Call today. 
(202) 224-3121 
Stay informed, share your knowledge.
See JAC's Action Alerts here.

Why It Matters: 
Colorado Recall Election  

Two Democratic State Senators from Colorado were recalled this week in an election that will have impact far beyond the state's borders.  State Sens. John Morse and Angela Giron faced a single-issue recall election based solely on their support of stricter gun laws in their state. Historically, recall elections have been considered in cases of criminal or unethical activity, not over a single vote.

This matters because the recall election, and its resulting ouster, will give pause to any lawmaker in any state who considers a vote to impose stricter gun laws, or potentially any controversial issue.

Read more here.

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.  


Have something you want to say -  

submit it to Open Mic today!

This week's issue highlights these key developments here and in the Middle East:
  • Syria has agreed to surrender their chemical weapons
  • It's a woman's body and ultimately a woman's decision.   
  • Texas textbook reviewers are once again looking to put creationism in the nation's science books. 
  • How to spot a losing candidate - or 10 things losing candidates say.   
  • Is America's militia movement growing?  
  • CO state recall could have national repercussions on gun violence prevention and beyond.  
  • Archeologists may have discovered the oldest Torah ornament yet found at the base of the Temple Mount. 
  • and so much more! 
This week's EZ Read brings you these stories and some that may have slipped past your news feed.
Israel & The Middle East 
syriaSyria accepts Russian plan to surrender chemical weapons stockpile as strike momentum eases
President Bashar Assad's government on Tuesday accepted a Russian plan to turn over its chemical weapons stockpile as momentum mounted for a proposal that could avert American strikes against the regime. The U.S. and France turned to the United Nations for a resolution to ensure Damascus complies.  


Obama makes case for war, but takes path of diplomacy on Syria 
Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/06/11/4287441/israel-hasnt-given-up-on-persuading.html#storylink=cpy
President Obama said he would pursue a peaceful solution to the crisis in Syria in the context of a primetime address that made a forceful case for striking Syria militarily.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/06/11/4287441/israel-hasnt-given-up-on-persuading.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/06/11/4287441/israel-hasnt-given-up-on-persuading.html#storylink=cpy
Read Full Article

Obama's Pleas Draw Mixed Reactions From Hill

President Obama made an unusually emotional pitch to Congress and the country Tuesday night, seeking to rally support for a strong American response to Syria's use of chemical weapons, an attack he cast as horrifying, gruesome, and terrible.

The response from Capitol Hill was swift but fairly predictable, with many Democrats saying they heard a message of strength from the president while Republicans were largely unconvinced that the administration has a firm handle on the ongoing crisis.

Read Full Article

Analysis: The Syrian deal - more bad than good for Israel

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
The emerging Russian-brokered deal to remove chemical weapons from Syria to forestall any US attack is - from Israel's point of view - a very mixed blessing.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
Read Full Article

U.S. would notify Israel hours before Syria attack: Israeli official

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
While formally on the sidelines of the Syrian crisis, Israel fears coming under reprisals from its northern foe should the United States launch strikes to punish Damascus for alleged use of chemical weaponry.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
Read Full Article

Israel deploys missile defense system near Jerusalem in preparation for possible Syria strike

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy

The Israeli military has deployed an "Iron Dome" missile defense battery in the outskirts of Jerusalem.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
Read Full Article

Fatah-aligned Aksa Martyrs Brigades call for terror attacks against Israel

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
A leaflet distributed on Tuesday by the Fatah-affiliated Al- Aksa Martyrs Brigades called for launching "fedayeen [guerilla] operations" against Israel as of this coming Friday.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
Read Full Article

Israel, Palestinians 'remain steadfast' on peace talks

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
US Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday that Israel and the Palestinians are determined to push forward with peace talks.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
Read Full Article

Jewish Institutions Awarded Vital Security Grants 

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
The Jewish Federations of North America this week hailed the award of $10 million in federal Homeland Security funding to help secure nonprofit institutions vulnerable to terrorism. The Jewish Federations have for years led the effort to secure the Department of Homeland Security's Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) and to assist Jewish agencies in applying.  Nearly 90 percent of this year's awards - nearly $9 million -- will go to Jewish institutions including synagogues, JCCs, Federations, and museums.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
Read Full Article
Reproductive Rights
Rate of Abortion Clinic Closures Doubled Since 2011
Abortion clinics are closing at a record rate nationwide under state regulations designed to make it logistically difficult or prohibitively expensive for them to operate, Bloomberg Businessweek reports. According to research by Bloomberg, based on Guttmacher Institute data, one in 10 clinics -- totaling at least 58 -- have closed or stopped offering abortions since 2011. 

Abortion foes take campaign to municipal level  
Albuquerque may wind up with the nation's first local ban on some abortions since activists collected signatures to put the issue before voters in New Mexico's largest city. 

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/03/20/4133089/kansas-abortion-bill-is-cruel.html#storylink=cpy
The Triumph of Bureaucracy Over Abortion Rights 
The abortion battleground is becoming a fight over reams of red tape. No wonder nobody is really paying any attention.

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


abortionMy Abortion, My Miscarriage, and My Right To Have My Own Feelings
Women are entitled to a wide range of emotions about their bodies and fertility. But under Jewish law, the rules are clear.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/03/20/4133089/kansas-abortion-bill-is-cruel.html#storylink=cpy
Separation of Religion & State
texasschoolbooksOfficial Texas Review: "Creation Science" Should Be Incorporated Into Every Biology Textbook

Behind closed doors, textbook reviewers appointed by the Texas State Board of Education are pushing to inject creationism into teaching materials that will be adopted statewide in high schools this year, according to new documents obtained by watchdog groups. Records show that the textbook reviewers made ideological objections to material on evolution and climate change in science textbooks from at least seven publishers, including several of the nation's largest publishing houses.

Read Full Article

ACLU joins Kountze ISD in legal effort to ban religious signs at school events

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/08/03/3540465/sd-joins-other-states-in-legislative.html#storylink=cpy

The American Civil Liberties Union has agreed to help the Kountze Independent School District in its effort to ban the Kountze High School Cheerleaders from displaying banners with religious messages at football games.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/08/03/3540465/sd-joins-other-states-in-legislative.html#storylink=cpy.  
Read Full Article

Appeals Court Boosts Speech Protection for 'Teaching'

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/08/03/3540465/sd-joins-other-states-in-legislative.html#storylink=cpy

A federal appeals court has boosted free-speech protection for "teaching and writing on academic matters by teachers employed by the state."

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/08/03/3540465/sd-joins-other-states-in-legislative.html#storylink=cpy.  
Read Full Article
Political Byte

losers10 Things Losing Candidates Say  

It's August of an odd-numbered year, but the 2014 cycle is heating up. That means dozens of candidates are visiting us at The Rothenberg Political Report in anticipation of the midterm elections.

Some of them will win, but most will lose. So we've started taking notes on some sure-fire ways that candidates end up in the latter camp. Here's a working set of ten buzz phrases that almost always guarantee that the candidates uttering them are headed toward defeat.

Right Wing Watch

militiaIs America's Militia Movement on the Rise? 

You may have seen it on The Colbert Report. A proposed walled city of "patriots," known as The Citadel, received the particular dose of sarcastic humor the show reserves for militiamen and gun nuts. Colbert's reading of the requirement that all patriot residents must own one AR-15 and 1,000 rounds of ammunition, and periodically prove their weapons' proficiency, drew the most laughs from the audience. Six months later, this past June, when several of the Citadel's principals appeared on Glenn Beck's television show, the tone was just the opposite.  
Gun Violence Prevention

coloradoColorado lawmakers ousted in recall election over strict gun laws 

In an unprecedented backlash, two state lawmakers who helped stiffen Colorado's gun laws were ousted Tuesday in a recall that turned into a nationally watched referendum on gun control.   

New Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott Known as Outspoken Israel Supporter 

Australians elected Tony Abbott of the conservative Liberal Party as prime minister in a national election on Saturday. Abbott is known for supporting Israel, and said during his election campaign that he is "firmly committed to restoring the Australia- Israeli friendship."

New International Olympic Committee Chief Head Of Group Supporting Israel Ban

The newly elected president of the International Olympic Committee heads a German-based organization that helps companies to guarantee that their products do not contain anything from Israel.
Read Full Article

treasureAncient Golden Treasure Found at Foot of Temple Mount  

In summer excavations at the foot of the Temple Mount, Hebrew University of Jerusalem archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar made a stunning discovery: two bundles of treasure containing thirty-six gold coins, gold and silver jewelry, and a gold medallion with the menorah (Temple candelabrum) symbol etched into it. Also etched into the 10-cm medallion are a shofar (ram's horn) and the image of a Torah scroll.

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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!



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.