JACPAC News & Opinion Digest

February 14, 2014 

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

JAC members Merle Styer (l) and Barbara Koch (r) met with Alex Sink, candidate for FL-13.

Former JAC President Betsy Sheerr with Rep. Ron Barber (AZ-2). 

JAC members met with Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) in Chicago. (r to l: Marcia Balonick, Kim Shwachman, Wendy Davis, Sen. Shaheen, Dana Gordon, Joy Malkus)

JAC met with newly appointed Senator John Walsh (D-MT)
Why It Matters: 
The Affordable Care Act    

JAC is proud to join with other Jewish organizations on FEBRUARY 18th 
for the Jewish Community Day of Action for Health Care Coverage.

Get enrolled, help someone else get covered. Don't wait - chicken soup is not always enough!  

Under the new coverage rules, more emphasis is placed on wellness and preventive care. Pregnant women and those planning to become pregnant will have access to more information and services regarding pregnancy.

This matters because millions of Americans - men, women, and children -  will have access to affordable health care, regardless of pre-existing conditions.

Call the Senate
and urge passage of the
Military Justice Improvement Act.

Tell them to END the epidemic of sexual assault and coverup in the military.  

They protect us.
We must protect them.
Your voice DOES make a difference.
Call today. 
(202) 224-3121
Stay informed,
share your knowledge.

See JAC's Action Alerts

Upcoming JAC Events

Palm Beach Reception
with Rep. Patrick Murphy
March 9th
Palm Beach, FL
Details to follow

Membership Meeting

May 5th
Detroit Area
Details to follow

Talking Points HP
March 2014
Highland Park, IL
Details to follow

4th Annual Power of Women Luncheon
Spring 2014
Chicago, IL
Details to follow

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

Upcoming Candidate Events

Reception with
Congressman Brad Schneider
February 23rd
Highland Park, IL
Click for Details

RSVP to the JAC office


People You Should Know 

Gary Peters
This week we profile Representative Gary Peters, who is facing a very tough race in Michigan.

Rep. Gary Peters (MI-9) is running for the Senate seat of retiring Senator Carl Levin. A strong proponent of JAC issues, he is facing a stiff race and tea-party funding. An active opponent of the War on Women and a strong advocate for the US-Israel relationship, JAC feels he would be a perfect fit for this Senate seat.

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On Our Radar

Federal Legislation we are watching:

* Sexual Assault in the Military  
* Federal 20-week abortion ban
* Voting Rights Act
* Unemployment Benefits
* Paycheck Fairness
* Immigration Reform 
* Farm Bill - food aid (SNAP)
* HR 1565 - Public Safety &  
   2nd Amendment Rights Act


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 
Secretary of State Kerry deserves respect and gratitude

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference in Germany a week ago, US Secretary of State John Kerry made the reasonable observation that if peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority collapse, Israel is likely to face increasing pressure from the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

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

PA's Erekat: Peace Talks Will Not Be Extended, PA Recognition of Jewish State 'Will Not Happen'
Saeb Erekat, the chief negotiator for the Palestinian Authority in the U.S.-brokered peace talks with Israel, on Monday said that direct negotiations have stalled and would not be extended beyond April. He also underlined the PA position that it would not recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
bdsTen reasons why the BDS movement is immoral and hinders peace

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
As a strong supporter of the two state solution and a critic of Israel's settlement policies, I am particularly appalled at efforts to impose divestment, boycotts and sanctions against Israel, and Israel alone, because BDS makes it

more difficult to achieve a peaceful resolution of the Mid-East conflict that requires compromise on all sides.

Read Full Article

The beginnings of an Israel-Iran reset?

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
Ben Caspit reported from Jerusalem this week that despite the hard-line approach taken by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Iran, senior officials in Israel's security agencies are assessing that changes in Iran could merit a re-evaluation of Iranian intentions. 
Read Full Article

Iran sets 'red lines' ahead of fresh nuclear talks

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
Iran laid out "red lines" Monday related to its ballistic missile programme, atomic sites and uranium enrichment ahead of fresh nuclear talks with world powers.
Read Full Article
Reproductive Rights
pentagonSenator seeks records on military sex crimes
The Pentagon is coming under pressure to give Congress detailed information on the handling of sex crime cases in the armed forces following an Associated Press investigation that found a pattern of inconsistent judgments and light penalties for sexual assaults at U.S. bases in Japan. 

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/03/20/4133089/kansas-abortion-bill-is-cruel.html#storylink=cpy
Hobby Lobby asks Supreme Court for exemption to Obamacare mandate
Hobby Lobby asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday for an exemption to the requirement under the Affordable Care Act that certain for-profit corporations provide contraception coverage to their workers.

Read Full Article 

87% of US counties lack an abortion provider.
Source: Guttmacher Institute 
Virginia Senate votes to repeal forced ultrasound law

Terry McAuliffe won the Virginia governor's mansion last year in part on his repeated promises to be a "brick wall" against restrictions on women's access to abortion and contraception. But can he and his Democratic allies knock down the barriers that have already been built?

On Tuesday, they showed a willingness to try.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/03/20/4133089/kansas-abortion-bill-is-cruel.html#storylink=cpy
Separation of Religion & State
prayerWill history prevail on prayer? 
On Wednesday morning, in Town of Greece v. Galloway, the Justices heard oral arguments in a lawsuit brought by two residents who argue that the town council's practice of beginning its meetings with a prayer violates the Constitution. A court of appeals had ruled that although prayers are permissible, these suggested that the town was endorsing Christianity.  When the hearing was over, it looked like the prayers would survive. 
Read Full Article

State Sen. Mike Fair Blocks Evolution From South Carolina Science Standards 
The South Carolina Education Oversight Committee approved most of the state's new science standards on Monday but blocked a clause featuring the phrase "natural selection." According to Republican state Sen. Mike Fair, "To teach that natural selection is the answer to origins is wrong." 
Read Full Article

Did you miss the debate last week? Watch Bill Nye and Ken Hamm debate evolution vs creationism. 
Bill Nye Debates Ken Ham - HD (Official) 
Bill Nye Debates Ken Ham - HD (Official)
Political Byte
Valentine's Special: What your candy says about your politics

Over the years, we've examined the partisan differences in consumer categories like cars (Democrats prefer Subaru), beer (Republicans drink Sam Adams), sports (Democrats love the NBA) and fast food (Republicans like their Cracker Barrel). If you're buying candy for your sweethearts this week, it's worth considering what it might mean about your - or their - politics. There's a lot at stake, after all.


Scott Brown: Will he or won't he run for Senate in New Hampshire?

For the better part of a year, the most tantalizing question in New Hampshire politics has been: What the heck is Scott Brown up to?

Read Full Article  


haganKoch brothers bombard vulnerable Senate Democrat Kay Hagan 

The Koch brothers have a seemingly bottomless pot of cash this election year - and no one knows it better than Sen. Kay Hagan.
Beyond the Core
GM: First female CEO to make $14.4M
General Motors said Monday that its first female CEO, Mary Barra, will make more than her male predecessor did as the company moved to rebut criticism of an alleged gender pay gap between its current and former chief executives.
Read Full Article

Kagan Says Her Path to Supreme Court Was Made Smoother by Ginsburg's
They share New York City roots, a liberal outlook and a personal trainer. But a gap separates Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan, one they explored during an often lighthearted joint appearance last week at the New York City Bar Association.
Read Full Article

gunsonfbMoms give Facebook's gun policy a 'thumbs down'
A pro-gun reform group would "like" Facebook and Instagram to prohibit all sales and trades of firearms that are not subject to background checks. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America last week launched a campaign and corresponding petitions requesting that Facebook, which owns Instagram, ban what the group is calling an "unregulated online marketplace" on the social media networks.
Read Full Article
School shooting since 1992. Source: stoptheshootings.com

Statement by the Press Secretary on the Visit of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu

On Monday, March 3, President Obama will host Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House.  The President looks forward to discussing with the Prime Minister progress in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, developments in Iran, and other regional priorities.  Prime Minister Netanyahu's visit is a demonstration of the deep and enduring bonds between the United States and Israel, and our close consultations on a range of security issues.
Read Full Article

natalieportmanWhat Israel Means To Natalie Portman...A Touching Description Of Her Homeland

Where I was born. Where I ate my first Popsicle and used a proper toilet for the first time. Where some of my 18-year-old friends spend their nights in bunkers sleeping with their helmets on. Where security guards are the only jobs in surplus. Where deserts bloom and pioneer stories are sentimentalized. Where a thorny, sweet cactus is the symbol of the ideal Israeli. Where immigrating to Israel is called "ascending" and emigrating from Israel is called "descending." Where my grandparents were not born, but where they were saved.

Spain: Sephardic Jews are Welcome Back... Maybe

The Spanish government has approved a law that would allow descendants of Sephardic Jews expelled from the country in 1492 to seek Spanish nationality without requiring them to relinquish their citizenships in other countries.

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.