JACPAC News & Opinion Digest

February 21, 2014 

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

JAC member Andi Minkoff took her granddaughter Jordan to present Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-1) with JAC's support for her reelection this week in Phoenix.

JAC met with Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) in Chicago. 

Rep. Bill Enyart (IL-12), Congress' only 2-star General, has JAC's support as he runs for reelection. 
Why It Matters: 
The Affordable Care Act    

JAC was proud to join with other Jewish organizations this week 
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

RSVP to the JAC office


People You Should Know 

Gary Peters
This week we profile Representative Gary Peters, who is facing a contentious Senate race in Michigan against Terri Lynn, a vehemently anti-choice Republican.

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 very tough 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 
US: Saeb Erekat's comments against Israel harmful to negotiations
American officials are upset over chief the Palestinian negotiator's recent remarks that the Palestinians will call for a global boycott of Israel if peace talks flounder.

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

Israel thanks US for fighting academic boycott

The presidents of universities in Israel sent a letter Thursday to their colleagues in the United States thanking them for fighting against the academic boycott against Israel. The letter was sent to 150 leading universities and colleges, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, Columbia and Duke.

arafatThe Arafat precedent

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
Yasser Arafat 'definitely' understood that Israel must preserve its character as a Jewish state.
Clear-Eyed Diplomacy: Strategic Shifts Needed in the Iran Negotiations

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
The Iran nuclear talks are set to resume in Vienna today, with the aim of reaching a long-term agreement to succeed the first-step "Joint Plan of Action" (JPOA). Negotiating an agreement that advances U.S. interests will require the Obama administration to deemphasize political battles in Washington and focus on the larger issues at stake, such as Iran's regional activities and the ultimate fate of the nuclear program. It should also endeavor to transform its fractious array of domestic and international allies from a weakness into a strength. 
Israel's UN Ambassador Unanimously Nominated to Chair UN Human Rights Committee

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
Israel's Ambassador to the
Israel's UN Ambassador
Ron Prossor
United Nations, Ron Prosor, was unanimously nominated to chair a UN Human Rights Committee election on Tuesday, Israel's UN mission said in a statement. 170 countries voted for Prosor, including members of the Arab bloc. 
Reproductive Rights
abortionbills10 Dangerous Anti-Abortion Bills That Are Already Gaining Traction This Year
Less than two months into 2014, state legislatures are already busy crafting new attacks on reproductive health. The last three years have brought a record-breaking number of state-level restrictions on abortion, and lawmakers show no signs of letting up. In fact, abortion opponents in some states are simply getting more creative, using new language to ban the procedure and coming up with new ways to punish doctors. Here are the most problematic bills currently up for consideration:  

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

Mom Charged For Helping Daughter Obtain Illegal Abortion: Is This Our New Reality?
Pennsylvania mother Jennifer Whalen is being charged with multiple crimes after allegedly purchasing drugs off the internet and giving them to her then 16-year-old pregnant daughter, who wanted an abortion. Whalen said she purchased the drugs after being unable to find a clinic close enough to have a legal abortion and not wanting to take her daughter out of state to obtain one (based on her location, the likely nearest clinic would have been in New York state).

Read Full Article 

GOP abortion foes are criminalizing the doctor-patient relationship

With the victory of Barack Obama in 2008, GOP spinmeister Frank Luntz told Republicans obstructing the Affordable Care Act in Congress to once again "call for the 'protection of the personalized doctor-patient relationship.'" And during the 2012 campaign, the GOP platform declared the party would "ensure the doctor-patient relationship." But when it comes to abortion and women's reproductive health, the GOP mantra about protecting "doctor-patient" isn't just demagoguery of the basest kind. It is a cruel and vicious hoax.

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

Abortion Escorts: Stories From The Frontlines

Volunteer abortion escorts discuss the necessity for buffers between patients and pro-life protestors who stand outside of clinics and why all states should enact the buffer zone law that keeps protestors thirty feet from patients.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/03/20/4133089/kansas-abortion-bill-is-cruel.html#storylink=cpy
Separation of Religion & State
arizonaArizona passes law allowing discrimination

The Arizona legislature sent a bill to the Gov. Jan Brewer's desk Thursday that would carve a massive hole into state law allowing business owners to turn away gay and lesbian customers, employers to deny equal pay to women, or individuals to renege on contract obligations-as long as they claim to be doing so in the name of religion.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/02/12/217982/judge-notre-dame-attorneys-spar.html#emlnl=Afternoon_Newsletter#storylink=cpy 

Texas Board Of Ed, Gubernatorial Candidates Want God In Public Schools, Says Survey
Candidates for the Texas State Board of Education want to bring big changes to the state's schools -- regardless of whether or not those changes are constitutional. 
Read Full Article

Judge, Notre Dame attorneys spar in school's health care law appeal

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/02/12/217982/judge-notre-dame-attorneys-spar.html#emlnl=Afternoon_Newsletter#storylink=cpy   
A lawyer representing the University of Notre Dame got into a heated exchange with a three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday over the federal health care law's contraception mandate, which the Roman Catholic university claims violates its religious belief.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/02/12/217982/judge-notre-dame-attorneys-spar.html#emlnl=Afternoon_Newsletter#storylink=cpy 
Read Full Article
Political Byte
clintonHillary Clinton advice to women: Thick skin

Hillary Clinton told a packed auditorium of New York University students Thursday that the most important tip she could offer women in public life was a lesson she took from one of her role models, Eleanor Roosevelt: "Grow skin like a rhinoceros.


In 2014 midterms, parties see different issues and states as path to Senate majority

At the headquarters where Republicans are plotting their takeover of the Senate, camouflage netting hangs from the ceiling and walls. Military surplus sandbags are piled up around operatives' desks. And an ex-Marine named Ward Baker rattles off statistics that add up to trouble for Democrats.

Read Full Article  

Beyond the Core
backgroundchecks"The Strongest Evidence We Have that Background Checks Really Matter" - A new study makes the case for gun control 
During last year's battle over gun control, the pro-gun side did  more than passionately invoke the Second Amendment: They claimed that gun control doesn't work. Sometimes even the reformers, surveying the limited impact of legislation from the 1990s, feared the same. But a new study on universal background checks makes the strongest case yet that the policy saves lives. "This is probably the strongest evidence we have that background checks really matter," said Philip Cook, a gun expert at Duke's Sanford School of Public Policy.
Read Full Article

An 'affront to democracy' in Ohio 
About a month ago, President Obama's non-partisan commission on voting issued a detailed report, urging state and local election officials to make it easier for Americans to access their own democracy. It appears Ohio Republicans didn't get the message.
Read Full Article

Watch Bill Nye Explain Climate Change to GOP Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn

Fresh off a mega-debate that embarrassed Young Earth creationists and led to none other than Pat Robertson denouncing their views, Nye appeared on Meet the Press today to debate Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), a global warming "skeptic." On the air, Blackburn, who is vice-chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, denied that there is a scientific consensus on climate change and argued that "you don't make good laws, sustainable laws, when you're making them on hypotheses, or theories, or unproven sciences."

Read Full Article

Watch the full video below:

Israeli energy powers rural Africa  

Sivan Ya'ari's non-profit Innovation: Africa brings sustainable Israeli technologies to power rural African villages. Since its establishment in New York in 2008 with funding from foundations, philanthropies and individuals, Innovation: Africa has transformed 71 famine-ridden villages in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Malawi, Uganda and South Africa into budding communities with hope for the future. 
Read Full Article

nipplesBreast Cancer Survivor Michelle Arbel Helps Other Survivors Feel Whole Again

Michelle Arbel is traveling this week from her home in Israel to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. But this 37-year-old wife and mother won't be riding the Matterhorn with her son or posing for photos with Cinderella. Instead, she'll be attending a conference held in a Walt Disney World resort hotel this weekend for young women affected by breast cancer. There she'll try to drum up interest in her nipples-her prosthetic nipples, which she produces for other breast cancer survivors like herself.

Don't Exclude Our Gay, Orthodox Children

As a Modern Orthodox Jew and a Jewish educator, I have written, spoken and taught about homosexuality and our need as a community to address this issue within the framework of halacha, or Jewish law, for many years. I had already been an advocate for the LGBTQ community for decades when our daughter Rachie, one of our four children, came out more than four years ago.

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.