JACPAC News & Opinion Digest

August 8, 2014 


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

Former JAC President Betsy Sheerr talks about her recent trip to Israel. 

Hamas: By the Numbers
Hamas: By the Numbers

Upcoming Events 
Talking Points with Deputy Consul General of Israel Alex Goldman and Executive Director JCRC and Government Affairs Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago David Prystowsky
Highland Park, IL
August 27th, 2014

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

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

SEPT. 17-18


A Reception with Senator Dick Durbin, Assistant Majority Leader
Lincolnwood, IL
August 10, 2014

Barbeque with Rep. Brad Schneider
Northbrook, IL
August 12, 2014

Evening Reception with
Rep. Cheri Bustos (IL-17)
Northbrook, IL
August 26th
For Details or to RSVP,
contact the JAC office at
[email protected]

This week we highlight four women seeking Senate seats from southern states with a challenging voter base.  These candidates are fighting hard to win their races against candidates who want to severely limit women's access to reproductive choices. Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) are running for re-election and Alison Lundergan Grimes (D-KY) is challenging GOP Senator Mitch McConnell. Michelle Nunn (D-GA) is running for an open seat currently held by a Republican who is retiring. These races will be some of the most expensive races in the nation. Every dollar raised puts each of these women one step closer to fighting for JAC's issues in Congress. 

Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC)
Sen. Kay Hagan's opponent claims his proudest moment was being endorsed by Right to Life. He is a proponent of "traditional family," and is vehemently anti-choice, whereas Hagan says she wants "abortions to stay safe and legal." She is committed to the welfare, security, and survival of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure borders. Hagan voted to demand background checks on gun purchasers, but her opponent voted to allow guns in North Carolina's bars, parks, churches and schools. Hagan is a friend of JAC and her votes are needed in the U.S. Senate.
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Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
Sen. Mary Landrieu, who hails from a long line of Louisiana politicians, is running for her third term in the U.S. Senate. She is a strong supporter of the U.S.-Israel relationship and has long been a leader in the effort to enhance U.S.-Israeli collaboration on energy development. Landrieu earned a 100 percent rating from pro-choice groups. She took an important stand when she voted to expand background checks, an unpopular issue in her state. She is facing a Tea Party-backed opponent who voted for government shutdown and voted "yes" on the anti-choice HR-7 bill. Landrieu has been a great proponent on JAC's issues and we need her in the Senate.
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Michelle Nunn (D-GA)
Michelle Nunn's race is a pick-up opportunity in Georgia. As the daughter of former Senator and Chair of the Armed Services Committee Sam Nunn, she is well known to the Jewish community. She supports Israel's right to defend itself against terror attacks and she understands the importance of a strong, safe and democratic State of Israel. Her opponent is strongly anti-choice and would work to pass restrictive laws against women. Nunn will be a common sense voice representing the moderates of her state. We need Michelle Nunn in the Senate.  

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Alison Lundergan Grimes (D-KY)
Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is in a tight race to defeat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Grimes will advocate for a strong U.S-Israel relationship in the Senate.  She supports a two-state solution, Israel's right to defend itself, and Iron Dome funding. McConnell is one of the most ardent anti-choice Members of Congress. He also boasts of his 100 percent rating from NRA. Grimes will be an important  and consistent pro-choice vote in the Senate. She believes that a woman should be able to make her own reproductive choices with her doctor and family.  Defeating McConnell will be a big boost to JAC's agenda on women's reproductive rights, Israel and separation of religion and state.

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On Our Radar

Federal Legislation
we are watching:

* US-Israel Strategic Partnership
* 2015 Appropriations
* College Campus Sexual Assault Legislation
* Military Health Insurance Birth Control Co-Pays 
* Voting Rights Act
* Unemployment Benefits
* Paycheck Fairness
* Immigration Reform 
* HR 1565 - Public Safety & 2nd
   Amendment Rights Act

* Transportation Bill 
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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 

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 
"Shalom Aleichem" Violinist 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin Killed in Israel/Gaza Conflict

IsraelCease-Fire in Gaza Expires, and Strikes Resume
Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy

As the 72-hour cease-fire ended at 8 AM, the longest pause of the month-old war, militants in Gaza fired barrages of rockets into Israel and the Israeli military responded with airstrikes, killing five people including a 10-year-old boy.


Elie Wiesel Condemns Hamas for Using Children as Human Shields, Calls on Gazans to Reject Hamas's Child Sacrifice

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

Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel on Friday published a full-page ad in U.S. newspapers condemning Hamas for using children as human shields. Provocatively, Wiesel's paid Op-Ed was headlined, "Jews rejected child sacrifice 3,500 years ago. Now, it's Hamas's turn."

Israel Might Have Won; Hamas Certainly Lost

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

Op-ed: 10 Thoughts at the end (maybe) of the summer 2014 Israel-Hamas war.

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

Backers of the Israelis and supporters of the Yazidis in Iraq found common ground this week: both protested the media's obsessive focus on the fighting in Gaza.

Read Full Article 

Watch: Rare Videos that Actually Show Hamas Firing Rockets into Israel

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

We have seen many videos of rockets falling from the sky into Israel. There has been endless footage of Israeli forces in Gaza. Of Israelis watching airstrikes hit the Gaza Strip. What we rarely see is actual Hamas militants in action.

Read Full Article


Hamas' Phony Statistics on Civilian Deaths
Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy

It's a mystery why so many in the media accept as gospel Hamas-supplied figures on the number of civilians killed in the recent wars. Hamas claims that of more than 1800 Palestinians killed close to 90% were civilians. Israel, on the other hand, says that close to half of them were combatants. The objective facts suppose a number much closer to Israel's than to Hamas'.

Op-Ed: European Governments Must Act to Stem Rising Anti-Semitism
The conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza is spilling over into Europe, where in the past several weeks, Jewish communities have witnessed a chilling display of anti-Semitism, the likes of which has not been seen in many years.


Protesters at an unauthorized anti-Israel rally in front of Paris' Gare du Nord train station, July 19, 2014. (Cnaan Liphshiz)

The Gaza War, and the New U.S. Jewish Consensus on Israel

According to a new Gallup Poll released on August 1, when asked about the Gaza War, 93% of American Jews said they sympathize with Israel, 5% sympathize with both sides, and 2% sympathize with the Palestinians.
Reproductive Rights
StateState Abortion Restrictions Fuel Fight for Senate
The 2014 campaign hasn't had the equivalent of Todd Akin's infamous rape comments driving the abortion debate. Instead, Democrats and Republicians are using a slew of new state abortion restrictions as weapons in the tight battle for control of the Senate.




Federal Court Strikes Alabama Anti-Abortion Law, Citing Violence Against Abortion Providers

Probably the single most important constitutional issue facing women who seek abortions is whether a state may enact a sham health law which, on it's surface, appears designed to make abortions safer- but which, in reality, is designed to create regulatory burdens that limit access to abortions. An Alabama law that was declared unconstitutional on Monday is the most aggressive example of these sham health laws.

Separation of Religion & State
House Republican Sends Bible to Every Member of Congress

If the solution to the dysfunctional Congress can be found in any book, it might be the Good Book. A Mississippi lawmaker sent a copy of the Holy Bible to all 535 members of the House and Senate in an attempt to provide the historically unproductive Congress with some divine guidance.


"On a daily basis, we contemplate policy decisions that impact American's future. Our staffs provide us with policy memos, statistics, and recommendations that help us make informed decisions. However, I find that the best advice comes through meditating on God's Word."- Rep. Steve Palazzo (R-NY)


Beyond the Core
President Clinton Signs The Brady Bill
President Clinton Signs The Brady Bill

BradyTaking a Bullet, Gaining a Cause: James S. Brady Dies at 73

James S. Brady, the White House press secretary who was wounded in an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan and then became a symbol of the fight for gun control, championing tighter regulations from his wheelchair, died on Monday in Alexandria, VA. He was 73.


Florida Court Tells Doctors to Shut Up About Guns

It is pitted as a battle between the First Amendment right of free speech and the Second Amendment right to bear arms, christened by court observers as the "Docs v. Glocks" case. A fitting fight, after all, for the state of Florida, derisively dubbed by some as the "Gunshine" state and the place where Trayvon Martin was killed by George Zimmerman.

Read Full Article


A Comprehensive Investigation of Voter Impersonation Finds 31 Credible Incidents Out of One Billion Ballots Cast

Voter ID laws are back in the news once again, with two new opinions from the Wisconsin Supreme Court late last week dealing with the state's ID requirement, which would allow people to vote only if they provide certain forms of government-issued ID. The Court made some minor changes to the law, but otherwise upheld it. However, the ID requirement is still on hold pending federal lawsuit,

Political Byte
Photo: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post

Right, Left Call for Strong Response to Renewed Hamas Rocket Fire
Opposition and coalition lawmakers were united in calls to hit Hamas hard after it renewed rocket fire at the end of a 72-hour ceasefire Friday.

As Virginia's Demographics Have Changed, So Has Mark Warner's Campaign Approach
Turkey hunting, NASCAR and a bluegrass campaign ditty: not the most obvious path to the governor's mansion for a multimillionaire raised in Connecticut. Yet it worked to Mark R. Warner, running in Virginia in 2001, and still looks like a stroke of genius to many of an admiring Democrat.

Birthright Trips to Israel Continue Despite Mideast Conflict

Lila Faria, 19, a student at New York University, heard the whine of a bomb siren for the first time last month in Jerusalem. Along with several dozen other Americans on a trip with the Taglit-Birthright Israel organization, she was quickly hustled into a bomb shelter.

Google Pulls More Gaza-Israel Games From Android Store

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

The US-based firm has now removed Rocket Pride by Best Arabic Games, in which players attempt to outmaneuver Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system, from its Google Play app store. It also deleted Iron Dome by Gamytech, which challenged players to "intercept the rockets launched by Hamas".

Israeli Scientist Leads Search for Ebola Cure

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

Unlike many people, Dr. Leslie Lobel has not been shocked to hear about the current Ebola epidemic in West Africa, the largest ever recorded since the virus's discovery in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (then Zaire).

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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.