JACPAC News & Opinion Digest

August 15, 2014 


JAC Member Madalyn Schenk with
Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA)

JAC Staff with Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) in Chicago. (l to r: Marcia Balonick, Dana Gordon, Rep. Eliot Engel, Hollis Wein, and Joy Malkus)

 JAC Members Hollis Wein and Steve and Timna Sheffey supporting Rep. Brad Schneider at an event in Northbrook, IL. (l to r: Hollis Wein, Rep. Brad Schneider, Steve Sheffey, and Timna Sheffey)

Upcoming Events 

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* Supported increased funding for Iron Dome


* Supported Israel's Operation Protective Edge


Supported Israel's right to self-defense against        rocket attacks


Supported Israel as a major strategic partner of the United States


Supported cooperation between the U.S. and Israel in areas of energy, water, homeland security, agriculture, and alternative fuel technologies


Supported an unwavering commitment to the welfare, security, and survival of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure borders


Supported toughening sanctions against Hezbollah


Supported efforts to push the United Nations to make the removal of Hamas's rocket arsenal a top priority


*Call 202-224-3121 



Evening Reception with
Rep. Cheri Bustos (IL-17)
Northbrook, IL
August 26th

Alison Lundergan Grimes in 
Philadelphia, PA
Tuesday, September 23th
(Address given upon RSVP)
For Details or to RSVP,
contact the JAC office at

This week we focus on candidates from the Midwest and Arkansas.  Cong. Bruce Braley (D-IA) is running to fill the retiring seat of JAC friend Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA).  Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) is running for re-election from a state that has not voted for a Democratic president since 1996.  The right wing, in the hopes of pushing their extreme agenda in Congress, has targeted these Democratic seats for defeat. Pryor and Braley have been consistence and strong supporters of JAC issues and their races are of great importance to JAC.  DONATE today so we can keep the anti-women, anti-family agenda out of Washington, DC.








Congressman Braley (D-IA) has been a strong supporter of Israel, condemning the anti-Israel Boycott Divest Sanctions movement.  He has worked hard in Congress to promote a strong U.S.-Israel relationship.  Braley support for Israel includes increased funding for Iron Dome and preventing Hezbollah, a major security threat to Israel, from gaining access to international financing. Braley strongly condemned the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision. "Women's health care shouldn't be subject to the whims of corporations and we need to continue to fight to ensure that women have equal access to health services," Braley said.  His record on choice earned him a 100 percent approval rating from NARAL. Braley's opponent would work to restrict women's access to reproductive choices if elected to the Senate. 


JAC is confident that Braley's commitment to our agenda will continue in his  Senate work. We need to win this race. 


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Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) has consistently stood up for Israel throughout his Congressional career.  He voted for increased funding for Iron Dome and he strongly supports Israel's right to defend itself against Hamas rockets.  He also recently co-sponsored legislation calling on the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to dissolve the unity governing arrangement with Hamas. Pryor will face a very conservative opponent in his reelection to the Senate. His opponent, who receives support from the Tea Party, is against all abortion for all reasons, believing that life begins at conception; he is also against most forms of contraception. His opponent is leading the debate in Congress for a personhood amendment.  


Pryor's opponent extreme views will endanger women. JAC can count on Sen. Pryor.  



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 

SEPT. 17-18


This week's issue highlights these key developments here and in the Middle East:
  • Learn about the women of Nahshol ("large wave" in Hebrew) the world's first female-only unit dedicated to combat intelligence missions
  • The Enormous, Unbelievable Stakes For the Supreme Court
    in 2016 
  • 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 

StateState Department Briefing Addressing US-Israel Relationship During Operation Protective Edge
"The United States has an unshakable commitment to Israel's security," said the State Department this week in response to a Wall Street Journal article that alleged the White House had intervened in the delivery of munitions to Israel. "And let me be clear: There has been no change in policy, period," stated Marie Harf, Deputy Spokesperson for US State Department.
Read the transcript of the press conference from the US State Department addressing issues raised in the article.
Eyes Turn to Cairo Talks as Cease-Fire Holds in Gaza

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

The calm of a renewed cease-fire settled over the Gaza Strip on Thursday, with focus shifting to the outcome of the talks in Cairo on a long-term deal to end the latest fighting between Israel and Hamas.

Hamas Manipulated and Intimidated the Media in Gaza. Why Was That Kept from Us?
Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy

The Foreign Press Association (FPA) issued an astonishing protest yesterday about "blatant, incessant, forceful and unorthodox" intimidation of journalists in the Gaza Strip by Hamas. "In several cases," they complained, "foreign reporters working in Gaza have been harassed, threatened, or questioned over stories. The FPA said this amounted to "denying readers and viewers an objective picture from the ground," adding  "we are also aware that Hamas is trying to put in place a 'vetting' procedure that would, in effect, allow for the blacklisting of specific journalists. Such a procedure is vehemently opposed by the FPA." The statement raises a lot of questions. Here is one: why have British broadcasters not mentioned any of this to their viewers? 

Read Full Article 


Hamas Could Have Chosen Peace. Instead, Made Gaza Suffer by Dennis Ross
Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
In the winter of 2005, Ziad Abu Amr, a Gaza representative in the Palestinian Legislative Council, invited me to speak in Gaza City. As I entered the building for the event, I saw Mahmoud al-Zahar, one of the co-founders of Hamas. Before I could say anything, Ziad explained: "We decided to invite the opposition to hear you. We think it is important that they do so."


Hamas and the Islamic State: Is There a Difference?

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

The world agrees that the Islamic State (IS) is morally repugnant and must be stopped from wiping out 40,000 mountain-bound Yazdis, but Hamas is able to escape the same condemnation.

Read Full Article 



Magen David Adom cooperated with the Foreign Ministry and the Turkish Red Crescent to Transfer Wounded to a Hospital in Ankara 

Photo: Magen David Adom

UN Gaza Probe Head: Me? Anti-Israel?
Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy

Prof. William Schabas, a Canadian law professor chosen to helm a United Nations commission examining possible war crimes in Gaza, scoffed Monday at charges he's biased against Israel, but his past utterances leave little doubt as to his lack of objectivity.

BDS: The Attempt to Strangle Israel
Alan Dershowitz Video on BDS

Agriculture Ministry for Farmers: Separate West Bank, Golan Heights Products Ahead of EU Ban
In a letter recently sent out by the Ministry of Agriculture to Israeli dairy and livestock producers, Israeli farmers were told to start separating out their products that come frm beyond the Green Line ahead of the European Union's boycott of dairy, poultry, eggs, and meat that come from the West Bank and Golan Heights.

You Couldn't Make it App: BDS Activists Reliant on Israeli Technology

Ivan Pardo is the designer behind the app Buycott, the stated aim of which is to bring transparency to the consumer marketplace by allowing users to identify the companies behind the products they are buying. The app works by scanning a product's barcode and giving a list of the companies and interested parties involved in its production. So far the socially conscious app has been used for a host of personal crusades, like boycotting the sponsors of American Football team Washington Redskins until they agree to change their name to something less offensive.

Read Full Article

Reproductive Rights
ObamaObama Administration to Issue New Rules for Religious Accommodation to Birth Control Benefits
The Obama Administration announced its plans to issue new interim rules to accommodate those religious nonprofits that object to complying with the birth control benefit under the Affordable Care Act by August 22.


Why the History of Anti-Abortion Violence Cannot Be Ignored

Last Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Myron H. Thompson issued the second ruling in a week striking down laws that required abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges at local hospitals. He joined judges from an appeals court panel who ruled that a similar law in Mississippi was unconstitutional because the restrictions, if enacted, would have the net result of driving doctors out of business, shuttering clinics, and effectively rendering the right to access abortion moot for women in the two states. Only Texas has seen this law upheld in a federal court after it was reviewed by a panel of conservative judges.
Our Safety Net Is Failing the Impoverished Women Who Need Birth Control
As the number of low-income women who need government assistance to access family planning services has been on the rise, the number of patients served by publicly funded clinics has been falling, 
according to new data from the Guttmacher Institute. The gap helps illustrate the widening gulf between poor women and wealthier women when it comes to their ability to use reproductive health services, a disparity driven partly by partisan attacks on abortion.
Separation of Religion & State
Bibles Booted from U.S. Navy Base Guest Rooms

The bibles are to be taken out of the rooms at Navy lodges, a decision that has infuriated some conservative groups, which recently learned about the new policy.

Beyond the Core

Finally, A Rational Approach to Gun Violence

You want controversy? Say "gun violence." You want irreconcilable differences? Talk about keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. You'll get a lot of heat and very little light. But we must find a way to do this if we are ever going to avoid the heartaches of the massacres at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a theatre in Aurora, Colorado, and the Safeway parking lot in Tucson.

Read Full Article

States with "Stand Your Ground" Laws Have More Homicides

If you're interested in reducing violent crime, homicides, or racial bias, you should repeal Stand Your Ground laws. According to new recommendation, they have put together a 62-page preliminary report that hedges from calling for the outright repeal of the controversial "shoot first" provisions, but instead suggests that the laws are a "solution searching for a problem." It states instead that these laws are associated with increased homicide rates and reinforce racial bias, and that any state concerned with these problems should probably do something about it.

Read Full Article


Photo credit: AP Photo/Gerry Broome


Judge Allows America's Worst Voter Suppression Law To Take Effect for 2014 Election

Almost a year ago today, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law a comprehesive voter suppression bill incorporating numerous different tactics use to restrict voting in other states. Among other things, the law imposed a strict voter ID requirement, a common provision used to reduce turnout among minority, low-income, and student voters. It cut a full week of early voting and it will prohibit certain kinds of voter registration drives.

Read Full Article


Mapping the Spread of the Military's Surplus Gear

State and local police departments obtain some of their military-style equipment through a free Defense Department program created in the early 1990s. While the portion of their gear coming from the program is relatively small (most of it is paid for through department budgets and federal grants), detailed data from the Pentagon illustrates how ubiquitous such equipment has become. Highlighted counties have received guns, grenade launchers, vehicles, night vision or body armor through the program since 2006.

Political Byte
SupremeThe Enormous, Unbelievable Stakes For the Supreme Court in 2016

When President Barack Obama told donors on Monday night to help Democrats because "we're going to have Supreme Court appointments" he may or may not have been talking about his own final years in office.

But he was right that several justices are statistically likely to retire in the coming years. None of them have revealed plans to step down, and if all of them stick around through the end of Obama's term, the 2016 presidential election could lead to a cataclysmic reshaping of the Supreme Court, and with it the country.

Koch Brothers and D.C. Conservatives Spending Big on Nonpartisan State Supreme Court Races
 In his 2010 dissent in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens warned that the majority had "unleashed the floodgates of corporate and union general treasury spending" in judicial elections. Justice Stevens wrote, "States ... after today, may no longer believe such limits to be critical to maintaining the integrity of their judicial systems." As if to underscore his concerns, judicial campaign cash set a record in 2012, and for the first time, the type of independent spending unleashed by Citizens United and other federal court rulings nearly exceeded the amount spent by the candidates.
Crossroads puts $3.1M Towards House Ads
The Republican-aligned Crossroads GPS is making major buys targeting five Democrats. The purchases, totaling $3.1 million, are aimed at knocking down Democratic Reps. Ami Bera (Calif.), Scott Peters (Calif.), Brad Schneider (Ill.) Bill Enyart (Ill.) and Nick Rahall (W.Va.). All are top Republican targets this fall.
Foster in his Longworth office on Capitol Hill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll)
Bill Foster, Congress' Science Guy
Foster has been proudly flying the science flag in the halls of Congress. On the floor he has gleefully pushed for the House's science measures, even working in a reference to Star Wars. In June, he hobnobbed with Bill Nye the Science Guy at the White House Maker Faire, a kind of summit to push innovative entrepreneurship.
Obama Takes Measured Tone on Clashes in Ferguson
President Obama on Thursday urged calm and peace in Ferguson, Missouri, where clashes between protestors and police continued in the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown.


Photographer Dan Bronfeld, IDF Spokesperson
IDFThe First of Its Kind, Israeli Female Reconnaissance
The women of Nahshol ('large wave' in Hebrew), is the world's first female-only unit dedicated to combat intelligence missions, combining the fighting capabilities of combat forces with advanced intelligence-gathering skills.
University of Illinois Professor Loses Job After Anti-Israel Tweets
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has retracted a job offer to an outspoken critic of the conflict in Gaza, according to a letter released Wednesday and signed by the university's chancellor.
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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.