JACPAC News & Opinion Digest

January 10, 2014 

JAC Around Town
aroundtownJAC met with several elected officials, candidates and leaders around the country.

JAC met with Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) this week in Chicago.

On Our Radar

Federal Legislation we are watching:

* Federal 20-week abortion
* Unemployment Benefits 
* Employment  
   Non-discrimination Act
* Sexual Assault in the

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

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Right-Wing lawmakers have decided banning abortion is a jobs program, actually saying outlawing abortion "very much promotes job creation!"

 Taxing health plans that cover abortion, requiring IRS audits of rape survivors, making the Hyde Amendment permanent, redefining rape and incest, banning abortion from all government health insurance plans (including  Medicaid, military and  government employee plans, and residents of Washington, DC) and much more:
HR-7 must be stopped. 

Call today and tell your Representative to vote NO on HR-7. 
Your voice DOES make a difference.
Call today. 
(202) 224-3121 
Stay informed,
share your knowledge.

See JAC's Action Alerts

* source Slate.com

Upcoming JAC Events

Talking Points HP
with Shannon Watts of
Moms Demand Action
January 24th
Deerfield, IL
RSVP Today

Membership Meeting
January 2014
Details to follow

Louisville Meeting
January 2014
Details to follow

Want to host an event in your area?  Contact the JAC office.  

Upcoming Candidate Events

An Evening with
Rep. Bill Foster (IL-11)
January 30th
Evanston, IL
Click for Details

RSVP to the JAC office


Elections Matter
This week we profile Senator Kay Hagan, who is facing a tough re-election campaign in North Carolina.

North Carolina is a pick-up hope for the Republicans; JAC supports Hagan and her strong votes on our core issues. In a state that has recently passed stringent anti-choice legislation, Hagan has declared, "I am a strong supporter of a woman's right to choose."     
read more
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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.
How did your elected officials vote? Find out in the JAC Education Foundation's Jewish Community Voter Guide.
Don't Miss Out!

If you're interested in US policy on Israel and Iran, we recommend that you read
Steve Sheffey's
weekly Chicagoland Pro-Israel Political Update. Steve was an elected Obama delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention, is a former president of CityPAC, a Chicago-based pro-Israel political action committee. You can sign up to receive his Sunday morning newsletter 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 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.
Israel & The Middle East 
israelaidIsrael Aid Back to $3.1B in New Budget

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

Funding to Israel was restored to its pre-sequester levels in the spending bill the U.S. House of Representatives passed.

The bill keeps funding for Israel at $3.1 billion for 2014, the amount designated in a 2007 10-year memorandum of understanding that guaranteed Israel an average of $3 billion a year in assistance.

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

Iron Dome intercepts rockets over Ashkelon
The Iron Dome anti-missile defense system intercepted five rockets fired from Gaza over the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon. No injuries or damage were reported in the early-morning attacks on Thursday.
Vice President Joe Biden speaking at the funeral of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (image: Sebastian Scheiner/AP)
Israelis remember a leader of complexity and contradiction

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

Sitting by his tank at the beginning of the Yom Kippur War, Aryeh remembers when Maj. Gen. Ariel Sharon came by to review the armored corps. Week laster, Aryeh, then 22, would follow Sharon into battle on the Suez Canal, participating in a risky operation to surround the Egyptian Third Army that many credit with swinging the war in Israel's favor. Throughout the fighting, he says, Sharon's presence, or even the sound of his voice, was enough to inspire the soldiers.

Read Full Article

Abbas reaffirms refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state

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

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday reaffirmed his refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

He also stressed that the Palestinians would not accept any solution that did not include east Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state.

Read Full Article

A Bill Stokes Debate, and Doubt, on Iran Deal

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

Its Senate sponsors describe it as a "diplomatic insurance policy" that will help President Obama cut a better nuclear deal with Iran. The White House condemns it as a deal-killer that could put the United States on a path to war.

Read Full Article
Reproductive Rights
The Stealth War on Abortion
While more Americans support upholding 'Roe v. Wade' than ever, the Tea Party and the Christian right have teamed up to pass hundreds of restrictions eviscerating abortion rights in GOP-controlled state legislatures across the country. 

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/03/20/4133089/kansas-abortion-bill-is-cruel.html#storylink=cpy
abortionmapsWhere abortion opponents-and backers-rule, in five maps
By now it's become clear that states, rather than Capitol Hill, have become the true battleground for abortion policy. But what has been a little less obvious is how outnumbered abortion rights advocates are compared to their foes when it comes to unified control of state governments.

Read Full Article 

2013 Abortion Restrictions By State (source: Washington Post
Pro-Choice Lawmakers Fight Back Against Stringent Abortion Restrictions Advancing In The House

Abortion was at the forefront of the state legislative debate during the past three years -- so much so that states added more restrictions to the books from 2011-2013 than during the entire preceding decade, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit reproductive health research organization that tracks such things. More than 200 abortion restriction laws were passed and signed into law from 2011 to 2013, according to Guttmacher's data. That's a very sharp uptick from the pace of the previous decade: From 2001 to 2010, 189 such laws were enacted , the data show.

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

Study: Viewing an Ultrasound Does Not Dissuade Women From Abortion

With various states passing mandatory ultrasounds and crisis pregnancy centers focusing more of their efforts on getting ultrasound machines, it's important to ask: Do ultrasounds even work the way that anti-choicers claim?

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/03/20/4133089/kansas-abortion-bill-is-cruel.html#storylink=cpy
Separation of Religion & State
lifesupportSuing to End Life Support for Woman and Fetus 
Lawyers for the husband of a pregnant woman being kept on life support at a Fort Worth hospital against her family's wishes sued hospital officials on Tuesday, asking a judge to order the doctors to remove her from the machines and declare the Texas law at the center of her case unconstitutional.
Read Full Article

Atheists persuade UW-Extension to remove Bibles

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has persuaded the University of Wisconsin-Extension in Madison to remove Gideon Bibles from its 137 guest rooms.  

Read Full Article

Religious freedom under increasing pressure around the world, latest Pew report finds

Asia Bibi was getting water one day in 2009 when a handful of her Pakistani neighbors objected to the Christian mother of five sharing the well with them. Sharing water with a Christian contaminated the well, the Muslim women said. When Bibi spoke back, they accused her of blaspheming the Prophet Muhammad. That was five years ago. She has been in prison ever since.  

Read Full Article
Political Byte
votingLawmakers Unveil Proposal Broadening Voting Rights Act
House and Senate lawmakers unveiled bipartisan legislation on Thursday that would repair -- and broaden -- a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act struck down last year by the Supreme Court.


Senate Candidate Compares Pregnancy To Cancer 

Ken Buck, a Republican district attorney and erstwhile Tea Party darling who has announced he will challenge Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) in the midterms this fall, appeared on talk radio on Wednesday morning and attacked a woman's right to choose by comparing a woman's pregnancy to his own cancer..

Read Full Article

Gun Violence Prevention
gunsTwo Days In Gun America

As it happens, I'm sitting in a hotel room a few exits east up I84 from the town of Newtown in Connecticut, where a crazy man named Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School and murdered 26 people including 21 children. In the immediate aftermath, it was decided by elite opinion leaders that the country had reached a Teachable Moment in its insane attachment to its firearms. And this is what we've learned -- people are coming to get our guns and we must buy more and better and bigger guns and carry them everywhere so that we can fight off the gun-grabbers and the insane people who we still must allow to have guns because the Second Amendment has no exception for insane people and therefore freedom.

Read Full Article   


A man was shot for texting at a movie. This isn't an anomaly in America 

The spontaneous shooting of a father over some texting and tossed popcorn had barely grabbed our attention when the headlines came about the even more horrific crime in New Mexico. Both were senseless, both all the more riveting for their quotidian settings. The antsy atmosphere of a pre-screening theater, the casual boredom of a student assembly - these are the universally-identifiable situations of standup comedy routines. To have them turned inside-out by unspeakable violence provokes primal outrage and fear..

Read Full Article    


With Guns, the Threatened Can Quickly Become the Threat

Another school shooting today. A 13-year-old opened fire at a middle school in Roswell, New Mexico, critically wounding two.

As I write, details on the incident remain scarce. But here's something we do know. After this shooting, as after so many horrors past, a great number of Americans will insist that the right response to gun violence is more guns in more places. They believe that their guns keep them safe.

Read Full Article

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/11/02/5875831/gun-violence-goes-on-and-so-does.html#storylink=cpy     
Supreme Court Watch
Abortion Rights: A Good Ruling Stands
The Supreme Court made a good call, announced on Monday, not to review a 2013 ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which struck down Arizona's 20-week abortion ban as unconstitutional. For women in Arizona, the appellate ruling is critically important in protecting their reproductive rights.
Read Full Article

Recess appointments power in jeopardy, but to what extent? Today's argument in Plain English
This morning's oral argument in National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning, the challenge to the constitutionality of the president's recess appointments to the federal labor relations board, checked many of the boxes for high-profile cases.  There were long lines and cameras outside.  Inside, there was a full press gallery, from which reporters craned their necks to try to see the celebrities (or at least what passes for celebrities in Washington). 
Read Full Article

Supreme Court to Consider Gun Bans for Domestic Violence Convictions
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court agreed to re-enter the gun debate and consider the scope of a federal law that prohibits individuals convicted of domestic violence from owning a gun. 
Read Full Article

U.S. Supreme Court To Hear Anti-Abortion Group's Case For Lying In Political Ads
The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday said it will hear a challenge to an Ohio law that forbids candidates and issue groups from making false campaign statements. The case, involving an anti-abortion group's claim that Ohio's False Statement Law violates free speech, will likely be argued in April, with a ruling announced during the last months of the Supreme Court's term in May or June. 
Read Full Article 

bufferzoneJustices skeptical about Mass. abortion clinic 'buffer zone'
The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday said it will hear a challenge to an Ohio law that forbids candidates and issue groups from making false campaign statements. The case, involving an anti-abortion group's claim that Ohio's False Statement Law violates free speech, will likely be argued in April, with a ruling announced during the last months of the Supreme Court's term in May or June. 
Read Full Article

Ex-envoy Michael Oren joins CNN

Michael Oren, the former Israeli ambassador to the United States, will be a contributor to CNN.

miamiMiami Heat Players Visit U.S. Holocaust Museum 

While in Washington D.C. this week for a visit with President Obama, reigning NBA champs the Miami Heat made a surprising stop. Players on the team visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum the evening before meeting with the president, taking a tour and staying for two hours. 
Read Full Article

Nuclear research giant inducts Israel as full member 

Israel officially entered the European Organization for Nuclear Research on Wednesday, marking the occasion with an induction ceremony at the Globe of Science and Innovation near the France-Switzerland border.

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.