JACPAC News & Opinion Digest

March 28, 2014 

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

JAC met with Michelle Nunn, candidate for Senate from Georgia, in Chicago this week. (l-r) Marcia Balonick, Carole Boron, Leslie Bluhm, Michelle Nunn, Susan Berk, Linda Rae Sher, Jacki Parmacek.

Ambassador Danny Ayalon spoke at Talking Points NYC this week about Israel, the peace process and much more. (above: Ambassador Ayalon and host Janet Davis)

A full house at Talking Points NYC with Ambassador Danny Ayalon of Israel.

Upcoming JAC Events

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.  

Candidate Events 

Reception for
Bruce Braley (D-IA)
IA Senate Candidate
March 31st
Chicago, IL

Reception for
Al Franken (D-MN)
April 4th
Chicago, IL
Watch for details

Reception for
Loretta Sanchez (D-CA)
April 7th
West Palm Beach, FL

Jan Schakowsky's
13th Annual Women's Power Lunch
with special guest
Lizz Winstead
May 5th
Sit at the JAC Table!
Chicago, IL

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

People You Should Know  

This week we highlight Senator John Walsh (D-MT) who is running for reelection. Senator Walsh supports a strong US-Israel relationship and supports reproductive rights.


He is facing heavily financed opposition with extreme views including fierce opposition to reproductive rights. JAC supports Senator Walsh for re-election - support him today.  

We are also closely watching the Senate race in Iowa. Rep. Bruce Braley is running for the open Senate seat of retiring Sen. Tom Harkin. A strong proponent of JAC issues, we believe Rep. Braley is the right candidate for this seat.


  Tell the Senate to pass the US-Israel Strategic Partnership. 

  Call your Senator and tell them you support
the Strategic Partnership between the U.S. and Israel.

Your voice DOES make a difference.
Call today.
(202) 224-3121 
Stay informed,
share your knowledge.

See JAC's Action Alerts



On Our Radar

Federal Legislation we are watching:

* US-Israel Strategic 
* Federal 20-week abortion
* Voting Rights Act
* Unemployment Benefits
* Paycheck Fairness
* Immigration Reform 
* HR 1565 - Public Safety &
   2nd Amendment Rights

Why It Matters:
ACA Sign-Up Ends
March 31  

Deadline to enroll is next Monday, March 31st. What are the top reasons for getting covered?
  • Women can't be charged more than men
  • Being uninsured is scary
  • Because accidents happen
  • Birth control is free
  • Insurance companies can't discriminate
  • No lifetime limits
  • It will give your mom peace of mind
  • It's the smart thing to do

See these and more, vote for your favorite, then get signed up!



Deadline is March 31st!




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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!


Mark your calendars today!


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 
Standoff Over Prisoner Release Threatens Mideast Talks
The Israeli-Palestinian peace talks revived by Washington last summer are scheduled to continue until April 29, but a showdown - and possible breakdown - is likely this week over the anticipated release of a fourth batch of Palestinian prisoners.

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

Israel: Abbas refusal to discuss 'Jewish state' torpedoing talk
PA President Abbas and President Obama. Source: White House

By refusing to even discuss recognizing Israel as a Jewish state Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is

destroying any chances of reaching a peace agreement, a senior Israeli official said Wednesday.

arableagueArab League declares 'total rejection' of Jewish state recognition

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

The Arab League announced on Wednesday its full backing of a Palestinian refusal to meet Israel's demand to be recognized as a Jewish state, a condition Jerusalem says it requires for peace.

Read Full Article

How 30,000 Remaining Palestinian Refugees From '48 Morph Into 5 Million

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

Last Monday, Mahmoud Abbas not only refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, but reiterated his refusal to abandon the so-called "right of return" for Palestinian "refugees."

To understand why Abbas continues playing the "refugee" card, a brief look at how the world's refugees are treated is necessary.  

Read Full Article

Outspoken Israel critic set to replace Falk as UN monitor

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
Pressure from Arab states has caused the UN Human Rights Council president to reject the candidacy of a vetted American academic to replace outgoing Palestinian rights monitor Richard Falk, according to diplomats cited in a report on Wednesday.
Read Full Article

Divestment resolution shot down at U of Michigan

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
A resolution at The University of Michigan seeking to divest from several companies that work with Israel was shot down by the student assembly late Tuesday night, with 25 voting against the motion and 9 supporting it, student newspaper the Michigan Daily reported.
Read Full Article 
Reproductive Rights
Abortion fight haunts U.S. top court hearing on healthcare law

U.S. Supreme Court arguments over federal healthcare policy were nearly finished on Tuesday when Justice Anthony Kennedy challenged Obama administration lawyer Donald Verrilli on abortion rights. "Under your view, a profit corporation ... could be forced in principle to pay for abortions," said Kennedy, often the deciding vote on the nine-member court.

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

Fact-Checking a Texas Republican's Claims on Women's Health 'Advances'

In an editorial published Wednesday in the Austin American-Statesman headlined "Women's healthcare advancing under Republican leadership," Texas state Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) touts what she sees as her, and her party's, achievements in expanding family planning and cancer-screening care for Texas women. There is no GOP-led "war on women," she writes, calling the "so-called" war "a purely political campaign designed to paint Republicans as anti-women."

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

texasAppeals court upholds Texas abortion restrictions behind a devastating health crisis in the state
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans reversed a federal district court ruling holding that key provisions of the sweeping new law - including the admitting privileges requirement - were unconstitutional and served no "valid purpose." In the Thursday opinion, the panel of judges stated that the law "on its face does not impose an undue burden on the life and health of a woman."federal appeals court on Thursday upheld the abortion law that stands to shutter all but six of the abortion clinics in the second most populous state in the nation.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/03/20/4133089/kansas-abortion-bill-is-cruel.html#storylink=cpy
Separation of Religion & State
Female Supreme Court Justices Hammer Birth Control Challengers
In a sharply divided Supreme Court, women led the charge Tuesday in aggressively questioning the challengers of the rule under Obamacare that for-profit employers' health plans cover contraceptives for female employees at no extra cost, which the suing business owners say violates their religious liberty.

whyhobbylobbyRead This One Document To Understand What The Christian Right Hopes To Gain From Hobby Lobby

2009 was a grim year for social conservatives. Barack Obama was an ambitious and popular new president. Republicans, and their conservative philosophy, were largely discredited in the public eye by a failed war and a massive recession. And the GOP's effort to reshape its message was still in its awkward adolescence. If the conservative movement had a mascot, it would have been a white man dressed as Paul Revere and waving a misspelled sign.

Read more here:

Read more here:
Read Full Article

Special report: Taxpayers fund creationism in the classroom

Taxpayers in 14 states will bankroll nearly $1 billion this year in tuition for private schools, including hundreds of religious schools that teach Earth is less than 10,000 years old, Adam and Eve strolled the garden with dinosaurs, and much of modern biology, geology and cosmology is a web of lies.

Read more here:
Read Full Article

ACLU: Tennessee 'religious freedom' law would turn public schools into 'Sunday schools'  

Legislators in Tennessee passed a law on Tuesday protecting the rights of religious students in the state's schools to discriminate against others so long as they are doing so for reasons of faith.

Read more here:
Beyond the Core
The Affordable Care Act -- Women's History in the Making

By Representative Jan Schakowsky and Professor Amy Fried

All month we have been commemorating Women's History Month. As March comes to a close there is no better way to recognize women's history than by celebrating the Affordable Care Act. That's because we are confident the law will go down in history as landmark legislation that improves and saves the lives of countless American women. Today is the fourth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act becoming law, which makes it a good time to focus on the many stories of women across our nation who can now lead healthier lives because of new protections and access to affordable health insurance under the law.

'Guns are a health care issue'

Dr. Vivek Murthy's Surgeon General nomination was cruising right along until the National Rifle Association decided "his agenda is to treat a constitutional freedom like a disease." Nervous Senate Democrats started panicking and the White House decided to pull back, looking to "recalibrate" the confirmation strategy. But the NRA doesn't usually care much about medical issues and Murthy doesn't seem especially interested in making gun violence a key component of his public-health agenda. So how exactly did we get to this point?

Read Full Article


High Court Considers Definition Of Domestic Violence In Gun Case

Law enforcement, domestic violence organizations and gun control groups won an important victory in the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday. The justices that people convicted of minor domestic violence offenses are barred under federal law from possessing a gun, even though some states do not require proof of physical force for conviction on domestic violence charges.

Read Full Article


Kirk, Durbin want to meet with BP after Lake Michigan oil spill 

U.S. Senators Mark Kirk and Dick Durbin want to meet with BP to address the oil spill on Lake Michigan.  

Read Full Article 
Political Byte
votingWisconsin's Walker restricts early voting
Three years ago, Republican policymakers in Wisconsin, for no apparent reason, decided it was a little too easy for state residents to vote. With control of the legislature and the governor's office, GOP officials cut early voting statewide.
Yesterday, Gov. Scott Walker (R) helped finish the job, curtailing early voting even further, privately signing new restrictions into law.

Divide Grows Between Rural and Urban America

"There have always been differences between rural and urban America, but they have grown vast and deep, and now are an underappreciated factor in dividing the U.S. political system, say politicians and academicians....In many ways, the split between red Republican regions and blue Democratic ones-and their opposing views about the role of government-is an extension of the cultural divide between rural Americans and those living in cities and suburbs.

Read Full Article

GOP threatens to push self-destruct button in Georgia Senate race  
2014 is a Republican year. The party has the map, the candidates, and the money to finally retake the Senate after blowing the last two tries by nominating weak ultra-conservative candidates in critical races. And there's no way that's happening again, right? Not if Georgia has anything to say about it.

Egypt, Israel conclude peace treaty, March 26, 1979

On this day in 1979, Egypt and Israel, after having fought four wars since 1948, concluded a formal peace treaty. It was signed by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and witnessed by President Jimmy Carter at a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House.

Simon Schama's "The Story of the Jews" is scholarly, poetic history

If you caught Simon Schama on "The Colbert Report" recently, plugging his five-part PBS series "The Story of the Jews," you'd be forgiven for thinking he's a comic with a passing interest in history. In fact, the British historian and professor of art history at Columbia University has more than a dozen documentaries to his credit. His enthusiasm for his subjects is contagious.

HappyIsrael gets 'Happy' at the UN

When the non-profit news and educational organization ISRAEL21c took a camera out onto the streets of Tel Aviv to film its own version of the Pharrell Williams Academy Award-winning song "Happy," its goal was to create a feelgood video that would give people abroad a different view of the city.
Just over two weeks later, the Grammy-winning artist chose the Tel Aviv adaptation of his hit as one of the best in the world, and invited it to be submitted for use in the UN's second International Day of Happiness.

Read Full Article

Pharrell Williams - Happy Tel Aviv-Yafo 
Pharrell Williams - Happy Tel Aviv-Yafo

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.