JACPAC News & Opinion Digest

May 23, 2014 

  Tell your Senator
Violence against women must end. Support IVAWA.

Every woman deserves better. From the kidnapping of school girls in Africa, child marriage, slavery, unfair wages, religious persecution and so much more, it is past time for women around the world to be protected and treated fairly.

to International Violence Against Women Act


Your daughters and granddaughters are counting on you.

Your voice DOES make a difference.
Call today.
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Stay informed,
share your knowledge.
JAC Around Town
aroundthecountryJAC 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)

JAC met with Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) in Chicago. (l to r: Rachel Sher, Hollis Wein, Susan Berk, Marcia Balonick, Senator Shaheen, and Tiffany Keane)

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 

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

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

Senator Jeanne Shaheen
June 13th
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

Michelle Nunn
Senate Candidate for GA
June 25th
Chicago, IL

Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
June 27th
Chicago, 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).  


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.

This race is one of the most closely watched races in the country. Minority Leader McConnell is running for his 6th term in the Senate and is staunchly anti-choice. 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)


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

Please support her today.   



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 
* Senate Confirmation of Surgeon
   General Nominee Vivek Murthy
* 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 
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Announcing special guest
Debbie Wasserman Schultz

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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 
orenIsrael isn't, and will never be, an apartheid state, by Michael Oren
he war against Israel has passed through three phases.

The first was the attempt to annihilate Israel by conventional means. It began with Israel's birth in 1948, when Arab armies nearly captured Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and ended in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when Israeli forces came within artillery range of Cairo and Damascus. The next stage, starting in the early 1970s, sought to cripple Israel through terror. Suicide bombers nearly paralyzed the country, but by 2005 they too were defeated.

However, unwittingly, those who associate apartheid with Israel are aiding the third and perhaps ultimate stage in the effort to destroy the nation. 

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
Open a Middle Road to Mideast Peace,
by Dennis Ross 

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

Once again the pursuit of Israeli-Palestinian peace is at an impasse. President Obama speaks of a pause. Martin Indyk, the American envoy for the negotiations, talks of a reassessment. Secretary of State John Kerry's hopes for a breakthrough now seem distant, if not misplaced. Do we walk away and let the parties stew in their own juices, as some in the administration are arguing? Do we put forward our proposal for resolving the core issues of the conflict even though they will almost certainly be rejected by both the Palestinian Authority's leader, Mahmoud Abbas, and Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu? Or do we continue trying to coax the parties toward a final-status agreement?  

Read Full Article

depaulIf you know a DePaul student, read this

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
If you know any student at DePaul - undergraduate or graduate - you need to get them to vote against the anti-Israel divestment referendum.

Unlike other divestment resolutions, this is put to a full student body vote, not just the student government.

The vote is expected to be close. Every vote counts. You can help make a difference.

Read Full Article

In praise of Shimon Peres

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

There has never not been Shimon Peres. For all of my life, somewhere in the drama of Israel and the world, have appeared the generous, handsome features of Israel's eternal public figure - big nose, lips, hair, laugh-lines and sharp eyes. This week, the US Congress voted to begin the process of conferring America's highest civilian honour, the Congressional Gold Medal, upon Israel's president. In July, Mr Peres will step down from his job and finally relinquish his long labours in the service of the Jewish state.

Read Full Article
President Obama awards Israeli President Simon Peres with Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.
Photo Credit: Jerusalem Post

Israeli defense official: Iran can break out to nuclear weapons 'very quickly'

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

Head of political-military affairs at Defense Ministry, Amos Gilad, warns of storm clouds "on the horizon," says Israel has not been able to stop build up of Hezbollah's rocket arsenal.  

Read Full Article

Anti-Israel official needs to go: Ban Ki-Moon must replace cabinet member Rima Khalaf 

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

Despite its charter's solemn affirmation of "the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small," the United Nations is the home of singular mistreatment for one member state, Israel, whose commitment to equality can rival that of virtually any country in the world. The mistreatment of Israel manifests itself in myriad ways. A permanent Human Rights Council agenda item is dedicated to singling out Israel, alone among nations,  for hostile scrutiny.

Read Full Article
Reproductive Rights
With New Bill, Abortion Limits Spread in South
The Louisiana State Legislature on Wednesday passed a bill that could force three of the state's five abortion clinics to close, echoing rules passed in Alabama, Mississippi and Texas and raising the possibility of drastically reduced access to abortion across a broad stretch of the South.
abortionHere's How Long You Have To Wait For An Abortion In Each State

The Missouri legislature approved a measure on Wednesday that would mandate a 72-hour waiting period between required counseling and abortion. Only two states, Utah and South Dakota, currently have a 72-hour waiting period, though 26 states make women wait at least 18 hours for an abortion.   

Read Full Article   

NARAL adds Yahoo success after Google  
NARAL Pro-Choice America has convinced Yahoo to take down some ads for "crisis pregnancy centers" after the group had similar success with Google last month. Abortion rights activists complained the ads were deceptive, but activists opposed to abortion were outraged at their removal. "We have found at least some of the ads to be out of compliance with our policies, and we are taking them down," a Yahoo representative told The Hill in a statement. "We're in the process of reviewing the other ads and will take similar action if any are found to not be in compliance with our policies."
Campaign for Mississippi 'Personhood' Ballot Initiative Fails

An anti-choice campaign in Mississippi to get a "personhood" initiative on the ballot in November 2015 ended unsuccessfully last week. A year after filing paperwork for the ballot initiative, organizers failed to turn in petitions with the required number of signatures.

Read Full Article 

Separation of Religion & State
necandidateNebraska Senate Nominee Says Religious Beliefs Can Justify Breaking Any Law

"[O]ur right to the free exercise of religion is co-equal to our right to life," according to the campaign website of Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican who won his party's nomination to the United States Senate on Tuesday. Nebraska is a solid red state that preferred Romney to Obama by a massive 21 point margin in 2012, so Sasse is now all but certain to succeed retiring Sen. Mike Johanns (R) this November. If he does, Sasse promises to promote an almost anarchistic vision of religious liberty as a member of the Senate. According to Sasse's website, "[g]overnment cannot force citizens to violate their religious beliefs under any circumstances."

Americans United To Launch "Operation Inclusion" After SCOTUS Prayer Decision   
Americans United for the Separation of Church and State will announce tomorrow that it is launching "Operation Inclusion," following efforts by some local government officials to interpret last week's Supreme Court decision in Greece v. Galloway to permit them to sponsor Christian-only prayer at government meetings.
Beyond the Core
stewartJon Stewart Asks 'Why Did Chipotle Have to Institute a 'No Guns, Please' Policy?' 

"Bad news tonight for Americans who like to hunt and kill their own burritos," Jon Stewart opened The Daily Show last night. He was referring, of course, to Chipotle's request that customers not bring firearms into their restaurants.  

Read Full Article



NRA stalls surgeon general pick

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

Obamacare may not hold up sensitive high-level health nominations in the Senate these days. But the NRA does.

The White House's pick to serve as the nation's top doctor has been stalled since February because the National Rifle Association opposes him. There's no sign of movement and no clear strategy to get a Senate vote on Vivek Murthy as surgeon general, several supporters say.

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

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

A majority of likely voters in swing congressional districts and states this year support stricter background checks on gun purchasers, and the support spans both parties, a new POLITICO poll finds. Seventy-nine percent of those surveyed would support tougher measures while 21 percent are opposed.

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

House Science Committee Is More Worried About Aliens Than Climate Change

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

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, has a long track record of climate change denial. And under his leadership, the committee has spent more time holding hearings on the existence of extraterrestrial life than it has examining climate science or the repercussions of global climate change. The House and Senate have held a combined 19 hearings on space exploration during the 113th Congress, according to a report Wednesday in the National Journal. Smith's committee alone has organized 15 of those hearings, including three that focused on discovering alien life.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/04/10/4051905/for-miami-dade-county-a-dispute.html#storylink=c
Political Byte
supertuesday5 things we learned on Tuesday
Six states held primaries on Tuesday, and once again anti-establishment candidates came up short in high-profile Republican showdowns. That's a sharp difference with what we have seen over the last two election cycles, when establishment Republicans were overwhelmed by the insurgency in their own party and did little to stop it. But they appear to have turned the tables on the conservatives so far in this election cycle and have a string of victories to show for it. Here are five things we learned Tuesday night:

Woman Who Says She Was Raped Criticizes GOP Challenger in Dem Senate Rival's Ad  

In an indication that reproductive rights could be a central issue in one of this year's top races, Sen. John Walsh (D-Mont.) is airing a new television ad in which a woman who says she was raped criticizes his Republican opponent for backing legislation that would restrict abortion access.
 Read Full Article

All 20 Female U.S. Senators Join Forces to #BringBackOurGirls

Well, female politicians are officially crushing it lately. (Not that they ever weren't, but you know.) Yesterday, we reported that West Virginia will have its first woman Senator ever in November. Now, all twenty female U.S. Senators (16 Democrats and four Republicans, if you're keeping track) have joined together to condemn the abduction of over 200 Nigerian schoolgirls.
Read Full Article


fdrLong-Lost Plea to FDR Revives Question: How Could Europe's Jews Have Been Saved?

Last month, 60 Minutes aired an interview with Sir Nicholas Winton, the London-born son of German Jews who has become known in England as "the British Schindler" for his efforts to rescue hundreds of Czech children, most of them Jews.

Ain't no party like a White House stamp club party

Today is Harvey Milk Day, and the White House is remembering the California politician and LGBT activist by unveiling a new forever stamp. Every year, a citizen advisory committee sifts through thousands of proposals to pick the 20 subjects that the U.S. Postal Service commemorates with a stamp.

Read Full Article

Bnei Menashe: Lost tribe found, but still lost 

The story of Bnei Menashe was just starting to unfold in the early 1990s. It all sounded so exotic and so remote, a group of people with a collective memory of 'crossing a body of water to freedom,' not using yeast products for a week each yer, and with men named Jacob and Gilead. Could they really be the lost tribe of Israel, descendents of Menashe, the son of Joseph?

Read Full Article

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.