JACPAC News & Opinion Digest

November 22, 2013   

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December 12
Mike Abramowitz of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum

Membership Meeting
December 2014
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January 2014
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On Our Radar

Federal Legislation we are watching:

* Federal 20-week 
   abortion ban

* Employment
   Act (ENDA)
* Sexual Assault in
   the Military

* Syrian Chemical
* Voting Rights Act
* Farm Bill - food
   aid (SNAP)
* HR 1565 - Public
   Safety & 2nd
   Rights Act

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is introducing a national 20-week abortion ban in the Senate, even though many critical diagnostic tests are not performed until the 20th week.  

Call today and tell your Senator to vote NO on a 20-week ban. 
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: 
Voter ID Laws  
34 states have voter ID requirements.

While it may seem reasonable that voting in U.S. elections requires a government-issued I.D., there are three main reasons we oppose such laws.
  1. Voter I.D. laws disproportionately affect the poor, the elderly, young adults, & minorities. These are the groups with the least access to government offices to obtain an I.D. 15% to 25% of the people in each of these groups do not currently have a government-issued I.D.
  2. Voter I.D. laws disproportionately affect women, as most women who marry take their husband's name. If a woman's name is not properly or consistently updated, it can prevent her from exercising her right to vote.
  3. 3: Voter fraud is extremely rare in this country, with fewer than 0.00000013% of known cases. To spend time and money fighting something that effectively doesn't exist is a monumental waste of resources.
People You Should Know
This week we profile Senator Mark Udall of Colorado, who faces a challenging race in 2014.  
read more

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
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:
This week's EZ Read brings you these stories and some that may have slipped past your news feed.

How did your elected officials vote? Find out in the JAC Education Foundation's Jewish Community Voter Guide.
Israel & The Middle East 
sanctionsAs more Iran talks loom, Obama presses senators to hold off on new sanctions
President Obama talked to a bipartisan group of senators Tuesday about the potential interim deal with Iran. Although some lawmakers are not satisfied with such a deal, it appears that no new sanctions are likely to pass Congress at least until December.     

Hot mic catches UN interpreter saying anti-Israel votes are 'a bit much'

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
On Thursday a United Nations interpreter, unaware that her microphone was on, uttered words of truth in reaction to the General Assembly's adoption of nine politically-motivated resolutions condemning Israel, and zero resolutions on the rest of the world. "I think when you have...like a total of ten resolutions on Israel and Palestine, there's gotta be something, [it's a bit much, no?] I mean I know... There's other really bad s**t happenings, but now one says anything about the other stuff." 

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

Israel says David's Sling missile interceptor passes new test

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

A new Israeli interceptor being developed in partnership with the United States to counter missiles held by Syria and Lebanon's Iranian-backed Hezbollah guerrillas passed its second live trial on Wednesday, officials said. David's Sling, which Israeli officials say could be ready for deployment next year after being rushed through production, is designed to shoot down missiles with ranges of between 100 km and 200 km (63 miles and 125 miles).

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

Israel's Economy Minister Bennett Schools CNN's Amanpour Over Use of Term 'Occupied Territories'

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

Israel's Economy Minister Naftali Bennett took CNN's Christiane Amanpour to task in a tense television interview on Monday, objecting to the anchor's insistence on referring to "occupied territories," to which the leader of Israel's Jewish Home party responded flatly, "One cannot occupy his own home.".

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

"Israel was not created in order to disappear - Israel will endure and flourish. It is the child of hope and the home of the brave. It can neither be broken by adversity nor demoralized by success. It carries the shield of democracy and it honors the sword of freedom."
President John F. Kennedy
Reproductive Rights
Justices Reject Bid to Block Texas Law on Abortions

The Supreme Court on Tuesday turned away an emergency application asking it to block a Texas law that requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The decision was effectively 5 to 4 and split along ideological lines.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/03/20/4133089/kansas-abortion-bill-is-cruel.html#storylink=cpy
abqThe abortion ban defeated Tuesday in Albuquerque has passed in 13 states     

Pro-choice activists scored a victory on Tuesday, but it's one in a war they've been losing in recent years. Voters in Albuquerque, N.M., defeated by a wide margin what could have been the nation's first municipal abortion ban. The measure would have prohibited abortions past 20 weeks, a policy that's been adopted in 13 states since 2010. In Albuquerque, it was defeated by a nearly ten-point margin with opposition just over 55 percent.

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

New York Court Affirms Moving Out of State While Pregnant Is Not 'Absconding With a Child'
Anti-choice activists routinely pit the rights of pregnant people against the rights of their developing fetus as a means to justify policing their behavior and holding them criminally accountable for the outcomes of their pregnancies. But a recent case out of New York shows those efforts are not limited to abortion restrictions and prosecutions for feticide, but have even shown up in custody disputes.     
Read Full Article

'Economics of Birth Control' Infographic is the Most Important Thing You'll See Today 

Birth control affects the global economy -- on a much larger scale than you might think. This infographic, created by Population Action International, shows just how much a lack of access to contraception impacts not just women and their children, but the amount countries spend on basic services for entire populations. Yet, sadly, only 22 percent of family-planning needs are being met worldwide. 

Abortion battle heats up across Tennessee

As the calendar nears the New Year, new battles are being waged over abortion both locally and nationally. 

In the U.S. Senate, a bill was introduced that seeks a nationwide ban on abortion after 20 weeks. 

Separation of Religion & State
catholichospitalsCommunites fight for control of hospitals

When Catholic hospitals take over secular ones, and in some cases when two hospitals affiliate more loosely, the employees of the formerly secular facility are bound by guidelines called Ethical and Religious Directives that prohibit abortions, emergency contraception for rape victims, and delay essential medical procedures until a woman's life is in danger. They can also override directives for end-of-life care and allow discrimination against LGBT patients, all in the name of church doctrine..

Read Full Article

A New Understanding of Legislative Prayer  
Oral argument last week in the legislative prayer case, Town of Greece v. Galloway, produced just the kind of confused meandering by the Justices that both the critics and supporters of legislative prayer have long criticized. Legislative prayer is the practice of opening various kinds of governmental meetings and activities with a prayer of some kind. Legislative prayer varies from the entirely pro forma incantation of the Supreme Court -- "God save the United States and this honorable court" -- to more formal prayers offered by rotating members of the clergy.
Read Full Article

How many Americans actually believe the earth is only 6,000 years old?  

For thirty years, Gallup has been asking Americans their views about evolution and human beings, and the results have been remarkably consistent and stable. Last year, Gallup once again reported that nearly half of the country believe the Biblical version of events: "Forty-six percent of Americans believe in the creationist view that God created humans in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years." But this may not be the whole story.

Read Full Article
Political Byte

filibusterNUCLEAR OPTION TRIGGERED: Dems Make Historic Change To Filibuster Rules

After years of threats and warnings, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and his Democratic majority on Thursday executed the "nuclear option" to eliminate the filibuster for executive branch and judicial nominees, except for the Supreme Court.

Read Full Article


Reid becomes 50th backer for Gillibrand's military sexual assault bill  
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced his support Tuesday for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's (D-N.Y.) bill to revamp how the military handles sexual assault cases, becoming the 50th public supporter of the measure.
Read Full Article


Poll: Udall vulnerable next year in Senate race 

Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado may not cruise to re-election next year, according to a poll released Tuesday that suggested a clear undercurrent of dissatisfaction among Colorado voters.The Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday put Udall ahead of all GOP challengers. But only 41 percent said Udall deserves to be re-elected.
Gun Violence Prevention
Chula Vista Students Raise $18,000 For Gun Violence Documentary  
In just over two weeks a group of Chula Vista high school juniors have passed their goal of raising $18,000 through the fundraising site Kickstarter. The money will support an unconventional school project. [O]ne group of 45 juniors is devoting the whole school year to one ambitious project - a documentary about what can be done to reduce gun violence.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/11/02/5875831/gun-violence-goes-on-and-so-does.html#storylink=cpy     
Read Full Article

unlearnviolenceUnlearning Gun Violence  
I've long believed that even without legislation, gun violence could be substantially reduced if we could change the behavioral norms. If parents started asking other parents, for instance, if they had a gun in the house - and it was locked away - before allowing a play date. Gary Slutkin and groups like S.O.S. are showing that the same is true in some of the toughest neighborhoods in America. As Ellenbogen put it to me: "Violence is a learned behavior. It can be unlearned."

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/11/02/5875831/gun-violence-goes-on-and-so-does.html#storylink=cpy     
Read Full Article

typhoonIsraeli aid to Philippines in wake of typhoon

The Israeli field hospital has already treated over 1,000 patients, including many children. The name chosen by the grateful parents of the first Philippine baby born in the field hospital was "Israel"

Casting Light on Little-Known Story of Albania Rescuing Jews From Nazis

There were a handful of European nations where the Nazi killing machine sputtered, but few seem more remarkable and less illuminated than Albania. With ordinary Albanians moving Jews from hide-out to hide-out to elude capture, Albania saved virtually all of its 200 native Jews and 400 Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria. The country also helped spirit hundreds more over from Nazi-occupied Balkan lands. 

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.