JACPAC News & Opinion Digest

July 18, 2014 

What did President Obama say about the Israeli conflict?
JAC NEWS: Obama on Israel 7-17-14

Call Congress and Say THANK YOU.






Congress voted to give $351 million in assistance to Israel for it's Iron Dome defense system as part of the $3.1 billion long-term aid package.


The Iron Dome has kept millions of Israeli's safe from Hamas Rockets.


At this perilous time, nothing is more important than a strong U.S.-Israel relationship.


Not sure who your Congressmen are?





(D MI-14) Running for U.S. Senate


Representative Gary Peters is running to replace retiring U.S. Senator Carl Levin, who is a long-time JAC friend. This open seat makes this race very competitive and could ultimately tip the balance of power in the Senate.  As a Congressman, Peters earned a 100 percent rating from pro-choice NARAL. 


He called the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision "a dangerous step backwards for women's health (that) could significantly impact women ... across the country by leaving them without access to essential health care services. Women, not their bosses, should make their personal health care decisions." 


His anti-choice opponent wants women to purchase an insurance rider for abortion services. The extremists have even attacked his daughters saying Peters "wants to make sure abortion is accessible and cheap for his daughters."  


Peters has also demonstrated a strong commitment to strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship.  He "strongly supports Israel's right to self defense from indiscriminate attacks on its civilians because innocent children should never know this kind of fear."



CONTRIBUTE to Peters today.  

He will fight for JAC's issues in the Senate.










(D-CO) Running for Re-Election


JAC has supported U.S. Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) since his first run for the U.S. House in 1998.  Since then, Udall has proven to be one of JAC's strongest allies in Congress, consistently promoting our agenda.  


Udall's Senate 2014 race will be extremely tight and competitive. He faces an anti choice opponent who supports the personhood amendment and a statewide ban on abortion.  Udall took a leadership role in the Senate and introduced a bill this week to overturn the Hobby Lobby decision.  "No one should have to ask their boss for a permission slip to access critical health services - birth control or otherwise. But just over two weeks ago, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5 to 4 decision, turned back the clock on decades of progress toward gender equality by deciding to allow the vast majority of employers to refuse to cover contraception as part of employees' health insurance policies," Udall said. He supports Israel's right to defend itself and has voted to increase Israel's financial military assistance.  


As a strong advocate for energy independence, Udall has worked to promote the development of renewable energy and increased energy efficiency. JAC needs Udall to win re-election and continue his work on behalf of our issues.  



CONTRIBUTE to Udall today.

Send him back to the Senate. 



SEPT. 17-18


Senator Ed Markey (D-MA)
July 20th
At the home of Wendy and Jim Abrams in Highland Park 

Call the JAC office for details on these
 and other upcoming events.   


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


JAC met with elected officials, candidates and leaders around the country.
JAC Member Deborah Gordon Klehr with MA Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey

JAC Meets with Florida Representative Patrick Murphy. (l to r: Marcia Balonick, Rep. Patrick Murphy, Dana Gordon, Janna Berk, Friends of JAC, and Linda Rae Sher

JAC Member Betsy Sheerr with Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin

JAC meets with Representative Ron Barber. (l to r, Hollis Wein, Linda Rae Sheer, Marcia Balonick, Dana Gordon, and Rep. Ron Barber)

On Our Radar

Federal Legislation
we are watching:

* US-Israel Strategic Partnership
* 2015 Appropriations 
* Voting Rights Act
* Unemployment Benefits
* Paycheck Fairness
* Immigration Reform 
* HR 1565 - Public Safety & 2nd
   Amendment Rights Act
This week's issue highlights these key developments here and in the Middle East:
  • Kerry slams Hamas for bucking ceasefire with Israel
  • Senate panel doubles money for Israel's Iron Dome
  • Democrat birth control bill stall
  • Senate considers rare bill supporting abortion rights
  • The Gun Lobby and a dumb law are keeping us from safer guns
  • What's in a name? An analysis by JAC Research Director Joy Malkus
  • 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 

Israeli Troops Begin Ground Invasion of Gaza

Campaign launched to neutralize Hamas tunnels; US calls on Israel to 'redouble efforts' to protect civilians.

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


Kerry Slams Hamas for Bucking Ceasefire with Israel

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

US Secretary of State John Kerry blamed Hamas for powering through a ceasefire Israel, brokered by the Egyptian government and accepted by Israel's cabinet Tuesday morning.


Senate Panel Doubles Money for Israel's Iron Dome

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

Congress is showing tangible support for longtime ally Israel as Gaza militants fire rockets, backing a measure that would double the amount of money for Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system. The Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee approved a defense spending bill on Tuesday that would provide $621.6 million for Israeli missile defense, including $351 million for the Iron Dome system that intercepts short-range rockets and mortars. In the latest hostilities between Israel and Hamas, Iron Dome has been successful in shooting down rockets and preventing Israeli deaths.

Anti-Israel Protestors Attack Paris Synagogue
Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy

Attacks against Jews by anti-Israel demonstrators around the globe since the start of Israel's Gaza offensive on July 8th are excuses for those biased against Jews to "vent their anti-Semitic hatred." At least three Jews were taken to hospital as a result of the clashes that erupted; synagogue briefly besieged.

Media Death Count Encourages Hamas to Use Human Shields
Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy

By emphasizing the comparative body counts without providing the reasons for the disparity, the media plays into the hands of Hamas, and encourages that terrorist organizations continue to pursue its dead baby strategy.


Hamas members are seen close up during a press conference in the Gaza Strop last week.
Assad Hopes to Unite War-Torn Syria Against Israel

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

Syrian President Bashar Assad's long term plans include a continued struggle against Israel, Lebanese officials visiting Syria told Lebanese paper Al Akhbar. "The commitment of the Syrian community to resist the Israeli enemy can help fortify the internal struggle facing Syria," Assad told the officials.

Egyptian Doctor, Stop using Palestine as a wedge between a Jewish Israel

Orthodox Jews - and all Jews- Owe President Obama A Big "Thank You"

President Obama's editorial in Haaretz elicited predictable partisan responses. Supporters of the President and Israel gleefully shared the article as evidence of the unwavering support the current United States government continues to provide for Israel. Simultaneously, the president's detractors criticized the timing of the article, its omissions, and dismissed its 'acceptable content' as political bluster that was contradicted by observable fact.

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

Watchdog: Al Jazeera's Gaza Fatalities Data Indicates Israel Killed Mostly Combatant-Age Males, Not Women or Children
Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy

Data published by Al Jazeera on Monday shows that in its ongoing operation in Gaza Israel killed mainly combatant-age males, not women or children, according to CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in American, contradicting media reports that tried to paint Israel's Operation Protective Edge as indiscriminately killing civilians.

Reproductive Rights

Democrat Birth Control Bill Stall

Senate Republicans on Wednesday block a bill that would require companies to offer birth control coverage in staff health plans. Democrats had moved the legislation as a response to last month's Supreme Court ruling rejecting the healthcare law's mandate that employers include coverage for birth control in their employee health plans. Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine) and Mark Kirk (Illinois) voted with Democrats, but the bill still failed to advance in a 56-43 vote.
From left, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.  Democrats are pushing legislation to overturn the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision. 
White House: Employers Must Disclose Objections to Covering Birth Control
The White House on Thursday sent a message to companies that want to opt out of covering birth control, saying those employers are required to be transparent about their objections. The Department of Labor updated its website to indicate that closely held for-profit corporations must include in their insurance plans "a description of the extent to which preventive serves are covered under the plan."
Why Pro-Choice Groups Are Going on the Offensive

The heads of Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and the Center for Reproductive Rights spoke to Cosmopolitian.com about why Congress needs to pass a law protecting women's rights. Across the country, legislators propose and pass restrictions on abortion rights and contraception access so frequently that most of them never make the national news. For decades, pro-choice group have pushed back against anti-abortion laws, but those laws ramped up over the past three years: There have been more abortion restrictions in that short period than in the previous decade.


Senate Considers Rare Bill Supporting Abortion Rights
The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing Tuesday on a rare bill in support of abortion rights that would block states from passing laws that chip away at women's access to abortion services. Sen Richard Blumenthaon abortion "that are more burdensome that those imposed on medically comparable procedures." 
Separation of Religion & State
Discrimination Is Un-Christian, Too

Much to the chagrin of women's rights advocates, Hobby Lobby has won its legal battle - but claims of "victory" for religious freedom must be emended. Make no mistake: This is no victory for the freedom to exercise Christian principles. Though employers like Hobby Lobby are now free to deny women access to contraceptives through their employer-subsidized health plans on the basis of religious objection, they will be violating their own purported Christian principles if they do. While Christians are not compelled by their faith to engage in religious practices that impose upon the freedoms of others, they are compelled- by their beliefs that all persons, men and women, are created in the image of God- to oppose discrimination.

The 'Splainer: RFRA and the Hobby Lobby Case
Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito said that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act applies to regulations that govern such companies. So, what is this RFRA of which the Supremes speak?


How Religious Is Your State?

Which of the 50 states has the most religious population? Since there are many ways to define "religious," there is no single answer to this question. But to give a sense of how the states stack up, the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion and Public Life used polling data to rank them on four measures: the importance of religion in people's lives, frequency of attendance at worship services,  and frequency of prayer and absolute certain of belief in God.

Beyond the Core
Who Gets Shot in America: What I Learned Compiling Records of Carnage for the New York Times

A year and a half ago, after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Joe Nocera, an Op-Ed columnist at the New York Times, asked me, an editorial assistant at the newspaper, to find our who gets shot in America every day.

Read Full Article

Andy Raymond, the owner of a Maryland gun shop, said he got death threats after announcing he would sell the Armatix smart gun.

The Gun Lobby and a Dumb Law Are Keeping us From Safer Guns

Imagine a gun that a person could leave on his or her kitchen counter, without havimart gun" uses biometrics or radio signals to stay locked until it's held by its rightful owner. Smart guns could save hundreds of lives, many of them children's, lost in accidental shootings every year. And they could reduce the number of shootings committed by criminals with stolen guns.

Read Full Article



U.S. House of Representatives Votes to Block Enforcement of D.C. Gun Laws

Yesterday the U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Thomas Massie (KY-4) to the fiscal 2015 D.C. appropriations bill that appears to prohibit the District of Columbia from enforcing the city's gun laws. Under the amendment, D.C. government employees, including the Metropolitan Police Department, could not enforce virtually any local D.C. gun law. This dangerous amendment could allow the sale of some firearms without background checks and would enable currently prohibited domestic abusers to obtain firearms. 

Political Byte
What's In A Name? by Joy Malkus, JAC Research Director

When running for political office, name recognition is key. Most voters know little else but a candidate's name. Campaigns and special interests groups spend millions of dollars enhancing name recognition. This cycle there are several JAC-supported candidates running with family names that are not just familiar in their states, but venerated by voters.

Read Full Article



The 2014 quest to get single women to the polls

Single women tend to stay home in greater numbers in mid-term elections than in presidential years. But Democrats are trying to reverse that trend this year, galvanizing those voters on issues like access to birth control, as they try to keep control of the Senate.

The Michigan Democratic Party is Arming EVERY Democratic Candidate with a Free Website

The MDP has partnered with Ruck.us to provide websites free of charge to every Democratic candidate and local Democratic organization in the state. We've worked with Ruck.us to provide or candidates and activists with a number of tolls that are only available to Michigan. These sites even include a built-in tool to accept online contributions.


Israeli-Palestinian Fighting Puts Entertainment Biz on Edge
Tensions are running high across Israel as the worst fighting in years between Israelis and Palestinians shows no signs of abating, and relentless rocket fire from Gaza has sent citizens of every major city, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, routinely running for cover. The entertainment industry is starting to feel the sting.
Read Full Article 

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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.