JACPAC News & Opinion Digest

March 7, 2014 

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

JAC was honored to meet with Israeli Ambassador Danny Ayalon this week in Chicago. (Dana Gordon & Candy Hyman)

Kim & Perry Shwachman with Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) in Washington, DC.

Upcoming JAC Events

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

Talking Points HP with
Rep. Tammy Duckworth
March 17, 2014
Highland Park, IL

Membership Meeting

May 5th
Detroit Area
Watch your inbox!

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

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

This International Woman's Day, call your Senator and urge them to PASS the International Violence Against Women Act.
Your voice DOES make a difference.
Call today. 
(202) 224-3121
Stay informed,
share your knowledge.

See JAC's Action Alerts
Why It Matters:
The Affordable Care Act

Deadline to enroll is
March 31st 

Have you enrolled yet?
Click here to enroll today. 

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.

People You Should Know 

This week we highlight Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC), who is up for reelection in North Carolina. She is facing fierce opposition from the far right and needs our help.

A strong proponent of women's rights, voting rights and expanding background checks, JAC strongly supports Kay Hagan's reelection.

We are also closely watching the race of Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), who faces a tough reelection for her fourth term in a red state against Rep. Bill Cassidy. Cassidy was a 'yes' vote for both the anti-choice HR-7 and the government shutdown. Landrieu has been a great friend an JAC's issues, ranging from Israel, to reproductive rights to gun violence prevention. JAC strongly supports Landrieu's reelection.
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On Our Radar

Federal Legislation we are watching:

* US-Israel Strategic Partnership
* 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!


Capricia Marshall,  

 former Chief of Protocol for the US State Department


Step up and be counted!

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 
Obama promises Netanyahu to press Palestinians on framework
Photo Credit: Reuters
US President Barack Obama committed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu he would push Palestinians to match any Israeli concessions as he seeks to negotiate a framework for peace talks.

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

Netanyahu Promotes Efforts Toward a Peace Deal

A day after meeting with President Obama, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel on Tuesday made an uncharacteristically enthusiastic pitch for a peace accord with the Palestinians, saying it would enable Israel to tighten ties with its Arab neighbors and "catapult the region forward" on issues like health, energy and education.

partnershipbillHouse of Representatives Passes U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Bill

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

The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved with an overwhelming majority a bill which describes Israel as a "major strategic partner" of the U.S.

Read Full Article

US: We were ready to act against Iranian arms shipment but Israel volunteered

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

US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed on Wednesday that "the Israeli government interdicted a shipment of illicit Iranian arms," adding that the US was ready to act before Israel made its move. 

Read Full Article

Kerry to AIPAC: I will always oppose boycotts of Israel

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told AIPAC's annual policy conference that he would always oppose boycotts targeting Israel. "I will continue to staunchly, loudly and unapologetically oppose boycotts of Israel," Kerry said Monday evening at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's conference, drawing a standing ovation. "That will never change."  
Reproductive Rights
justiceSenate rejects further revamp of how Pentagon handles sex assault
The Senate rejected a controversial proposal Thursday to remove military commanders from decisions on whether to prosecute major crimes in the ranks. The concerns of Pentagon leaders trumped calls from veterans groups to dramatically overhaul how the Defense Department handles assault and rape cases.

The FDA Expands Access To Cheaper Versions Of Plan B
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will now allow generic versions of Plan B One-Step - one of the most popular types of emergency contraception - to be sold over the counter to women of all ages. The move, announced in a letter from the agency last week, will effectively expand young Americans' access to this type of contraception, particularly since generic versions of the morning after pill can be as much as $10 cheaper than Plan B. 

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/03/20/4133089/kansas-abortion-bill-is-cruel.html#storylink=cpy
Texas law shuts clinics without helping women

Rachel Maddow reports on the consequences of a Texas anti-abortion law that has forced clinics closed and left women to treat themselves.

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

Repro Wrap: Alabama Introduces Every Abortion Restriction it Can Think of and Other News

We are midway through many states' legislative sessions, which means that for many red states, the lipservice to concentrating on "economic issues" has been paid and they can move straight to their favorite feat: limiting a person's rights to abortion and birth control. In no state is this more clear than in Alabama, where five different bills meant to curb the right to legal abortion, and even birth control, have been introduced or reviewed this week.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/03/20/4133089/kansas-abortion-bill-is-cruel.html#storylink=cpy
Separation of Religion & State
religiousfreedom31 states have heightened religious freedom protections
The recent flurry of state bills giving religious exemptions from certain laws -- including the Arizona law that Gov. Jan Brewer (R) just vetoed -- raises a question: How many states already provide heightened protection for the exercise of religion?

5 Things Kentucky Could Spend $73 Million On Instead Of A Fake Noah's Ark

Creation Museum founder Ken Ham announced Thursday that enough money had been raised to begin construction of a 510-foot "replica" of Noah's Ark as part of a multimillion-dollar Ark Encounter project.

Read more here:
Political Byte
senatelandscapeThe 2014 Senate Landscape

Dozens of states will hold Senate primaries this year, beginning with Texas on Tuesday. Here is a look at the key races in every state. The outlook of each contest is based on an analysis of data from the Cook Political Report and from Larry Sabato, a professor of politics at the University of Virginia.

Americans Think Republicans Are Out Of Touch, But Plan To Vote For Them Anyway

Americans overwhelmingly consider Republicans to be out of touch, and they trust them less than Democrats on the issues -- but that doesn't mean the GOP is in bad shape for the 2014 elections.

Read Full Article  

Beyond the Core
gunlobbyHow the Gun Lobby Became a Threat to Public Safety, by Bill Moyers  
Just a generation ago, the NRA was a nonpartisan and relatively non-ideological organization that advocated for responsible and safe gun ownership in addition to defending gun rights. But in its 20 years under the leadership of chief executive Wayne LaPierre the organization has become another cog in the broader conservative advocacy machine.

10 things the gun industry won't tell you
In the U.S., there are now somewhere between 270 million and 310 million guns, according to the Pew Research Center - that's almost one gun for every person in the nation. Judges and legislators across the political spectrum recognize the constitutional right to bear arms. And gun and ammunition sales to private citizens are a significant part of a nearly $15 billion industry that's seeing plenty of growth: On Tuesday, for example, Smith & Wesson SWHC +1.10% reported that its fiscal third-quarter profit rose to $20.8 million, up from $14.6 million a year ago.
Read Full Article

How Advocates Are Trying To Protect The Right To Vote

When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key part of the Voting Rights Act last June, justices left it to Congress to decide how to fix the law. But while Congress deliberates, activists are turning again to the courts: At least 10 lawsuits have the potential to bring states and some local jurisdictions back under federal oversight 2013 essentially doing an end-run around the Supreme Court's ruling.

Read Full Article

oscarDocumentary on oldest Shoah survivor wins Oscar a week after her death

A documentary about the world's oldest Holocaust survivor  won an Oscar one week after she died. Alice Herz-Sommer, who died in London on Feb. 23 at the age of 110, was the subject of "The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life," which won the Academy Award for documentary short on Sunday night.
Read Full Article

With Venezuela in a tailspin, growing number of Jews opting for Plan B

They left after Venezuelan secret police raided a Jewish club in 2007, and after the local synagogue was ransacked by unidentified thugs two years later. They left after President Hugo Chavez expelled Israel's ambassador to Caracas, and when he called on Venezuela's Jews to condemn Israel for its actions in Gaza in 2009.

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.