JACPAC News & Opinion Digest

July 11, 2014 

JAC met with elected officials, candidates and leaders around the country.
JAC Member Nancy Hoffman with Senate Candidate and Kentucky Secretary of State Allison Lundergan Grimes at an event in Lexington, Kentucky.

During a briefing call with Lt. Col. Peter Lerner of the IDF, JAC on Thursday was informed of the latest developments with Operation Protective Edge and the military's efforts to end the reign of terror.  Lerner said the military's main objectives were to return stability and eliminate and destroy Hamas' terror infrastructure.


Lerner said one of the army's priorities was to close the "tunnels of terrorism."  Hamas has built an elaborate labyrinth of tunnels that they use for terrorist activities in Israel and to smuggle weapons into Gaza.


Before any Israeli strike in Gaza, Lerner said that the IDF uses a three-stage system to warn civilians to leave the area.  First, flyers drop on residents homes. Then, calls and texts are made to the residents advising them to leave their homes. As a final warning, a non-lethal device is dropped onto the roof as the last warning before the air strikes. Hamas has used it's own civilians as human shields, putting them directly in harm's way.


Concerns have been raised about possible Hezbollah involvement.  Currently, Hezbollah "has no interest" in being involved in this uprising. They could however, eventually enter the conflict, even if in a minor, symbolic way, Lerner said. Israel is prepared to engage in a multi-front operation.


Asked what the Jewish community should do, Lerner urged us to "amplify our voices and take that message and convey it to the world. Israel can not be expected to idly sit by."

SEPT. 17-18


Senator Elizabeth Warren 
with Alison Lundergan Grimes & Natalie Tenant
July 12th
Co-Hosted by Betsy Sheerr
Edgartown, MA
Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
July 11th
Co-Hosted by Betsy Sheerr
Edgartown, MA
Senator Ed Markey (D-MA)
July 20th
At the home of Wendy and Jim Abrams in Highland Park 
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 and other upcoming events.   


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* 2015 Appropriations 
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* Unemployment Benefits
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Janna Berk, President
Marcia Balonick, Executive Director
Joy Malkus, Research Director 

This week's issue highlights these key developments here and in the Middle East:
  • Obama calls Netanyahu and Affirms Israel's Right to Defense
  • State Department: Hamas responsible for civilian casualties
  • Court conservatives add insult to injury on contraception
  • Haaretz minute-by-minute updates on Israel.
  • Briefing to JAC from Israeli Lt. Col. Peter Lerner of the IDF
  • Dems strike back on Hobby Lobby Case with 'Not my Boss's Business' Act
  • 2014 Candidates YOU SHOULD KNOW
  • JAC around town   
  • and so much more! 
This week's EZ Read brings you these stories and some that may have slipped past your news feed.
Israel & The Middle East 
Obama Calls Netanyahu and Affirms Israel's Right to Defense 

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

In a phone call with the Israeli prime minister, President Obama affirmed Israeli's right to defend itself from rocket attacks but called for deescalating the violence. "The President expressed concern about the risk of further escalation and emphasized the need for all sides to do everything they can to protect the lives of civilians and restore calm."

State Department: Hamas is Responsible for Civilian Casualties

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

The United States reiterated on Thursday its support for Israel in defending itself. Speaking to reporters, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki reminded that Hamas was responsible for civilian deaths because of its rocket attacks against Israel.

Israeli Locations in Range of Hamas Rockets from Gaza, July 2014


Haaretz Live Updates 

Stay informed with Harretz minute by minute updates on what is happening in the Israel and Gaza conflict.

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

U.S. Lawmakers Introduce Resolution Backing Israel in Gaza Conflict

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

A resolution in support of Israel's right to defend itself against rocket fire from Gaza was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives. The resolution, which has more than 50 bipartisan sponsors, was introduced Wednesday by Representative Steve Israel (D-NY) and Tom Cole (R-OK) in response to the attacks on Israel following the murder last month of the three Israeli teenagers.

Read Full Article

Ten Questions and Answers About the Current War in Israel

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

We have final launched a defensive operation to stop the current barrage of rocket attacks from Gaza. There seems to be a lot of people unaware of the background and facts and what this is all about, so to make things clear, here are the top ten questions and answers about the current situation.

We Have Been Here Before

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

Daniel Gordis writes a thoughtful and compelling post for The Times of Israel. "We've been here before. That's the whole point of the Jewish calendar. None of this is new." 

Reproductive Rights
Mass. Moves to Protect Clinics After Supreme Court Ruling; Other Municipalities Weigh 'Buffer Zone' Laws
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) on Wednesday said he aims to have a bill on his desk by the end of July to bolster abortion clinic security in a manner consistent with the Supreme Court's ruling striking down the state's "buffer zone" law.
Dems Strike Back on Hobby Lobby Case with 'Not My Boss's Business Act'
Democratic Senators Patty Murray and Mark Udall fought back today against the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling with plans for legislation intended to restore the contraceptive coverage requirement under the Affordable Care Act. "We are here to ensure that no CEO or cooperation can come between people and their guaranteed access to healthcare," Murray, of Washington state, said, speaking at the Capitol. "I hope Republicans will join us to revoke this court-issued license to discriminate and return the right of Americans to  make their own decisions about their own health care and their own bodies."
Separation of Religion & State
Court Conservatives Add Insult to Injury on Contraception

A week ago today, a narrow Supreme Court majority broke new legal ground, issuing a 5-4 ruling that said some corporations can restrict employees' access to birth control. And while that controversial decision generated considerable attention, what much of the country may not realize is that the same conservative justices quietly returned to their decision- twice.

Clergy Protests Supreme Court By Handing Out Condoms At Hobby Lobby

A group of clergy handed out condoms to customers in froth of an Illinois Hobby Lobby store on Wednesday, staging a creative, faith-based protest against the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to grant the craft store giant religious exemptions from the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate. The action, which was reportedly initiated by a local United Church of Christ minister in Aurora, IL, included representatives from the UCC, the Unitarian Universalist Association, and Planned Parenthood.

Beyond the Core

Chris Christie Responds to Gun Critics

The potential GOP presidential contender in 2016 vetoed a gun reform bill that would have reduced magazine capacity from 15 rounds to 10 rounds. Christine, who on Monday emphasized his opposition to "wanton gun violence," said he simply thought the bill would have been ineffective in accomplishing its goal.

Read Full Article


Colleges Ignoring Sexual Assault, Senator Charges

More than 40% of the colleges and universities nationwide have conducted no alleged sexual assaults over the last five years and in some cases have turned oversight of cases involving student athletes over to their athletics departments, a survey of more than 300 schools find.

Read Full Article


7 Papers, 4 Government Inquiries, 2 News Investigations, and 1 Court Ruling Proving that Voter Fraud is Mostly a Myth 

Voter ID Laws are back in the news this week afar a group of college students joined a lawsuit challenging North Carolina's new restrictive rules. All of these restrictive measures take their justification from a perceived need to prevent "voter fraud". But there is overwhelming scholarly and legal consensus that voter fraud is vanishingly rare, and in fact non-existent at the levels imaged by voter ID proponents.

Political Byte

Supreme Court to Women: Father Knows Best

This is a very bad time for American women in the Supreme Court. Three big cases were decided right at the end of its term that will profoundly affect women's lives, subject them to conditions that never applied to men, and damage their ability to control their own lives and health.

Florida Illegally Drew Congressional District Boundaries To Benefit GOP, Judge Rules

The Florida Legislature illegally redrew boundaries defining congressional districts to benefit the Republican Party, a circuit court judge ruled Thursday. The League of Women Voters, along with a coalition of voters, challenged the state's Republican-controlled Legislature after it redrew congressional district lines in 2012, suggesting the boundaries were manipulated to benefit GOP candidates.

Sen. Brandon Smith goes to Mars
Republican Calls Climate Change a Hoax Because Earth and Mars Have 'Exactly' Same Temperature

In a condemnatory speech last week agains the Obama administration's new Environmental Protection Agency carbon emission regulations, Republican Kentucky state Senator Brandon Smith claimed that man-made climate change is scientifically implausible because Mars and Earth share "exactly" the same temperature. Smith is the owner of a mining company called Mohawk Energy.

Despite Rockets, 64 Americans Move to Israel
Despite the escalating security situation in Israel, 64 new Americans immigrated to Israel, where they said they felt safe and at home.
Read Full Article 

U.S. Intervenes in Europe's Circumcision Wars
Circumcision has become a focus for Ira Forman, the State Department's special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism. He has been using the pulpit his office provides to warn European governments that moves to ban ritual circumcision could lead to the demise of their countries' Jewish communities.

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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.