JACPAC News & Opinion Digest

May 16, 2014 

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

JAC met with Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) in Northbrook, IL. (l to r: Executive Director Marcia Balonick, Hollis Wein, Senator Begich, Dana Gordon, Marcey Barichello)

A month of birthdays at the JAC office - Happy Birthday, Tiffany! (l to r: Marcia Balonick, Denise Young, Tiffany Keane, Hollis Wein, Dana Gordon)

JAC met with Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes in Chicago. (l to r: Linda Rae Sher, Anne Oppenheimer, Alison Lundergan Grimes, Joy Malkus)

Upcoming JAC Events

4th Annual Power of Women Luncheon
Featuring Capricia Marshall
Honoring Lois Zoller
with special guest
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
June 3rd

Chicago, IL

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

Candidate Events 

Join Senators Dick Durbin & Michael Bennet
with special guest
President Obama
May 22nd
Chicago, IL

Senator Mark Udall (D-CO)
May 28th
Chicago, IL

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
June 9th
Chicago, IL

Rep. Cheri Bustos (IL-17)
June 16th
Chicago, IL

Women for Brad Schneider
with special guest
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz
June 22nd
Highland Park, IL

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

People You Should Know

Alison Lundergan Grimes  

This week we focus on Kentucky, where Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is seeking the Senate seat held by anti-choice Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY).  This race is one of the most closely watched, competitive races in the country. Minority Leader McConnell is running for his 6th term in the Senate and is one of the most staunchly anti-choice members of the Senate. He even wants bosses to decide whether their female employees should have access to birth control. McConnell has worked to keep President Obama's agenda from succeeding, saying "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president." (11/4/2010)


Grimes, 35, is proud to say that she is "pro-choice down the line," and will fight for women's reproductive rights in the Senate. Your support can make the difference in defeating one of the the nation's staunchest anti-choice Senators. 


As a strong proponent of all of JAC's issues, we strongly support Alison Lundergan Grimes for Senate.    

Please support her today.   



  Tell your Senator
Senators, led by Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) are once again trying to ban all abortions at 20 weeks.

Anti-choice Senators need to stay our of our doctors' offices and our wombs.

to unconstitutional 20-week abortion bans.


Your daughters and granddaughters are counting on you.

Your voice DOES make a difference.
Call today.
(202) 224-3121

#stopthebans #S1670  
Stay informed,
share your knowledge.

On Our Radar

Federal Legislation we are watching:

* US-Israel Strategic 

* 2015 Appropriations 
* Federal 20-week abortion
* Voting Rights Act
* Unemployment Benefits
* Paycheck Fairness
* Immigration Reform 
* HR 1565 - Public Safety &
   2nd Amendment Rights

Why It Matters:
20-Week Abortion Bans 

A rash of 20-week abortion bans are cropping up around the country, and proposed in Congress. These dangerous and unconstitutional laws are preventing women from accessing necessary legal medical care.

Here are some key reasons to oppose 20-week bans. 
  • They directly contradict Roe v Wade, which defines viability at 22-24 weeks
  • Overwhelmingly impact young and poor women
  • They are one more way to limit women's reproductive choices 
  • Certain fetal anomalies may not be discovered until after the 20th week
  • Some women experience serious health risks necessitating termination after 20 weeks
  • Where public funding or insurance coverage are unavailable, women may need extra time to gather funds for the procedure 
  • Many young women (12-17 years of age) do not access care until after the 20th week
  • 20 weeks is an arbitrary number decided upon by legislators and objected to by medical professionals  
  • Leading medical experts have debunked the argument the "fetal-pain" argument cited by anti-choice groups
  • Although only 1.5% of abortions occur in after 20 weeks, women need access to safe, legal abortion care options 
Visit Us Online  
Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter 
If you are interested in US policy on Israel and Iran, we recommend that you sign up to receive
Steve Sheffey's
Chicagoland Pro-Israel Political Update.  
Steve was a 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 weekly Sunday mornging newsletter here.

add my name

Announcing special guest
Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz

RSVP button
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 
hagelHagel in Israel to meet with Netanyahu, Yaalon and Peres
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is in Israel for meetings on the Middle East nation's missile defense and border security. Hagel, making his last stop on a weeklong trip to the region, will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon. 

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
Adviser Rice reiterates vow to keep Iran from nuke

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

Susan Rice, the national security adviser to US President Barack Obama, vowed to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and said the United States would work to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Read Full Article
US National Security Advisor Susan Rice
Photo credit: David Buimovitch/AFP

The White House Says the Peace Process Is Never Over-But Neither Is the Conflict

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
Last week, at a think-tank conference in Washington, D.C., Martin Indyk recounted his most recent adventures in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, in which he served as a special envoy for Secretary of State John Kerry. "For the time being the talks have been suspended," Indyk, who served as the American ambassador to Jerusalem under President Bill Clinton, told the audience. "Some have said this process is over. But that is not correct. ... As you all know well, in the Middle East it's never over."
Read Full Article

Netanyahu: If Fatah-Hamas unity deal signed, we'll hold Abbas responsible for every rocket

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

Israel will hold Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas responsible for every rocket fired on it from Gaza if he goes through with his national unity pact with Hamas, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday.  

Read Full Article
Reproductive Rights
Lindsey Graham Pushes Abortion Ban, Says He Knows Twins Born At 20 Weeks
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) tried to bypass the Senate committee process on Tuesday and force a vote on his 20-week abortion ban, claiming he has friends who were born that early into a pregnancy.
bansReal Goal of Abortion 'Limits': Bans

Anti-abortion groups that saw a chance to get state legislatures to restrict women's reproductive rights piously declared that all they wanted to do was to make women safer. This argument had little credibility then, and it has even less now. What has actually happened is that in state after state, with the enthusiastic support of Republican lawmakers, it has become increasingly difficult, if not impossible, for women to get safe and legal abortion care.   

Read Full Article   

Kirsten Gillibrand: 'We Will Not Allow These Crimes to Be Swept Under the Rug Any Longer'  

After a long and hard-fought effort to reform the military justice system, my office was approached by two extraordinary young women. They told me a story similar to what I had heard over and over from our brave men and women in uniform.

Read Full Article 

Mo. lawmakers pass 3-day abortion wait period

Missouri could become only the third state requiring women to wait 72 hours to have an abortion under legislation passed Wednesday night.Following a tense debate, the state House voted 111-39 to send House Bill 1307 the abortion measure to Gov. Jay Nixon. Lawmakers ensured the passage of the legislation earlier this week when Senate Democrats cut a deal with Republicans to stop filibustering the bill in exchange for stopping other controversial bills.

Read Full Article 

Separation of Religion & State
separationPraying for Separation of Church and State

This week's Supreme Court decision to allow local town meetings to open with a sectarian prayer sends us barrelling once again through the barrier separating church and state. On a very practical level, it opens the door for citizens in small towns across America to be subject to religious doctrine not of their choosing that may in fact be antithetical to their beliefs. And ironically, this blatant exclusion could confront individuals at the very time they are choosing - or need - to participate in local civic affairs.

'Washington - A Man of Prayer:' Highlights from the Religious Right Prayer Event Inside the US Capitol  
Last night, members of Congress and Religious Right activists gathered in Statuary Hall inside the US Capitol for an annual event called "Washington: A Man of Prayer" at which they honored George Washington by collectively praying that God would protect and defend the United States of America. Hosted by Mike Huckabee, the two hour event featured a variety of elected leaders, such as Rep. Tim Huelskamp and Rep. Steve King, who spoke together from the podium. Huelskamp asserted that God is at the heart of America because there is a small chapel located literally in the very center of the continent in Kansas, while King proclaimed that America was established by God.
Read Full Article

Alabama justice says the First Amendment only protects Christians 

Alabama's chief justice offered an unusual interpretation of the U.S. Constitution in a newly-released video, telling a religious organization that the First Amendment only protects Christianity. "They didn't bring the Koran over on the pilgrim ship, the Mayflower" Chief Justice Roy Moore announced at the Pastor for Life Luncheon, an event hosted in January by Pro-Life Mississippi. In a video, Moore told his audience that religion in the First Amendment only applied to the God in the Bible.

Beyond the Core
Facebook Gun Clubs Buy, Sell, Trade And Cause A Stir  

Mass shootings in the U.S. in recent years have put access to firearms in the cross-hairs of gun control groups. Last year, some gun control advocates urged Facebook to ban posts advertising guns. Facebook recently announced that it wouldn't do that, but that it would tighten its rules. Some gun control groups say Facebook missed the mark, but for gun owners, it's a good deal.

Read Full Article


Spitting, Stalking, Rape Threats: How Gun Extremists Target Women
Mannequin used as target practice by Open Carry Texas

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/04/10/4051905/for-miami-dade-county-a-dispute.html#storylink=cpy

As Jennifer Longdon steered her wheelchair through the Indianapolis airport on April 25, she thought the roughest part of her trip was over. Earlier that day she'd participated in an emotional press conference with the new group Everytown for Gun Safety, against the backdrop of the National Rifle Association's annual meeting. A mom, gun owner, and Second Amendment supporter, Longdon was paralyzed in 2004 after being shot in her car by unknown assailants, and has since been a vocal advocate for comprehensive background checks and other gun reforms.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/04/10/4051905/for-miami-dade-county-a-dispute.html#storylink=c
Marco Rubio's climate change remarks fly in the face of fact

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/04/10/4051905/for-miami-dade-county-a-dispute.html#storylink=cpy

Last week, senator Marco Rubio, by many counts a rising star in conservative political circles in the US, answered simple questions put to him on climate change. His comments are particularly striking in that they follow a major report put out by the US administration and respected scientists on the observations we are already making of climate change. That report, the National Climate Assessment, points to increases in floods, more severe droughts, heavier precipitation, rising sea levels, and other markers of climate change.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/04/10/4051905/for-miami-dade-county-a-dispute.html#storylink=c
Read Full Article

boggsWhy Democrats are Opposing the Confirmation of Judge Boggs

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/04/10/4051905/for-miami-dade-county-a-dispute.html#storylink=cpy

A Georgia judge nominated by President Barack Obama to the federal court is getting strong pushback from Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee who are expressing concern about his conservative positions on abortion, gay rights and other issues. While Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Michael Boggs has the support of the two Republican senators in his home state, Democratic constituencies signaled early on that he would face a rough path to his confirmation to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/04/10/4051905/for-miami-dade-county-a-dispute.html#storylink=c
Political Byte
Where the Girls Are
This election season is going to be all about women. Men occupy most of the seats in Congress and that's not going to change in November. However, women are starring in a lot of exciting election stories this year. 

republicanabortionWhy Republicans are talking about abortion now 

It's not your typical campaign commercial. For one thing, it takes place in jail. And the candidate, Richard Cash, who is one of six Republicans challenging South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, is bragging about how he landed there 10 times for blocking access to abortion clinics. Graham needs 50% of the primary votes on June 10 to avoid a runoff, and is clearly leaving nothing up to chance - including anti-abortion bona-fides. His campaign manager Scott Farmer has cited Graham's predecessor, Strom Thurmond, on this front: 'You always run like you're behind and take nothing for granted.'
Read Full Article

Eric Cantor's tea party opponent in Va. primary may be picking up momentum

There was a time when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) sympathized with the tea party's frustration with Washington. Now, he's engaged in open warfare with the GOP's insurgent wing.
Read Full Article

Southern Democrats' surprising '14 strength: Mark Pryor, Kay Hagan debunk critics

We've been reading Mark Pryor's political obituary for months now. When Rep. Tom Cotton announced that he was going to run for Pryor's Senate seat last August, political reporters were quick to shovel dirt on the Arkansas Democrat. "Tom Cotton sends Mark Pryor's outlook from bad to worse," was the Washington Post's take. "If there were any doubts that Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) is the most vulnerable senator in the country this election cycle, Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) appears to have put them to rest."
And yet here we are, six months from Election Day, and Pryor is still very much alive with a 5-point poll average lead over Cotton.
Read Full Article
Senators Kay Hagan and Mark Pryor
Photo Credit: AP/Gerry Broom/Danny Johnston

When Pope Francis Makes His Visit to Israel, This Rabbi Will Be His Guide

Abraham Skorka, an unassuming scientist and rabbi in Buenos Aires, is the pontiff's friend and interlocutor.

brownvboardObama honors Brown vs. Board of Education

President Obama is honoring the Supreme Court decision that in some ways made his election possible. "Brown v. Board of Education shifted the legal and moral compass of our Nation," Obama said in a presidential resolution on the 1954 ruling. Saturday marks the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, the ruling that struck down school segregation and marked a major turning point in the civil rights movement.

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 

Find Us Online:

Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter  View our profile on LinkedIn  Visit our blog 
better jac logo
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.