JACPAC News & Opinion Digest

October 17, 2014 

JAC met with Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO 2) in downtown Chicago. (from l to r) Joy Malkus, Marcia Balonick,
Hollis Wein, Rep. Jared Polis, Linda Rae Sher,
and Dana Gordon

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) with Joy Malkus at a luncheon supporting Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL).

JAC supports Rep. Brad Schneider. (l to r) Brad Lippitz, Gabrielle Pascal, Brad Schneider, Dana Gordon, Max Pizer-Lippitz, Hollis Wein, and Deena Pascal

Gail Yamner with Aimee Belgard, candidate for NJ-3

Betsy Sheer and Nancy Gordon with former
Rep. Gabby Giffords at an event in Philadelphia

JAC supporters came out to support gun violence prevention with former Rep. Gabby Giffords in Philadelphia.

Hollis Wein with Rep. Cheri Bustos (IL-17) at a
breakfast supporting her reelection.

JAC supports Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) for reelection.
(l to r: Hollis Wein, Senator Dick Durbin, Anne Oppenheimer)

With Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL-8) at a breakfast supporting her reelection. (l to r: Anne Oppenheimer, JAC Executive Director Marcia Balonick, Rep. Jan Schakowsky. 



RALLY! With Vice President Joe Biden  

and Senator Dick Durbin for 

Rep. Brad Schneider 

October 22, 2014

Vernon Hills, IL



Women for Brad Schneider


with Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA)

Sunday, October 26

Northbrook, IL 


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


Are you registered to vote?
Is everyone you know registered to vote?
If you can, vote early.
Every Vote Counts.

Click for information on early voting, voting by mail, absentee ballots, polling sites, and much more. Share with friends and family!

SAVE Birth Control in Illinois!

VOTE YES on the
Birth Control Initiative

In response this summer's Hobby Lobby decision, which allows employers to determine is women can access contraception through their employer-based insurance policy, Illinois is asking voters to decide the following question:

If employers offer prescription drug coverage under their health insurance plans, should they have to include prescription birth control?

Tell Springfield that women deserve fair and equal treatment, regardless of their boss' personal beliefs. 

These are all 

Your local campaign needs your help to knock on doors, make phone calls and make sure that everyone gets out to vote.

Contact the JAC office and we will put you in touch with a campaign.

Visit Us Online  
Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter 

Looking for a great resource about Israel and the US-Israel relationship? Sign up for Steve Sheffey's weekly newsletter,
The Chicagoland Pro-Israel Political Update 

This week's issue highlights these key developments here and in the Middle East.
  • PM Netanyahu and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon met in Israel this week. Read their remarks.
  • Fordham professor under attack for opposing BDS.
  • Our access to abortion is shrinking before our eyes.
  • A school sukkah spurs concerns about separation by Jewish students.
  • Former Rep. Gabby Giffords begins a multi-state tour to discuss the danger guns pose to women.
  • Ebola Tzar? No - 70,000 people say it is time for the US to have a Surgeon General.
  • 3 states will have abortion restriction measures on their ballots in November - will yours?
  • Israeli presidents have a long tradition of inviting people into their Sukkah.
  • 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 

moonremarksStatements by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

Photo: Kobi Gideon, GPO
It is a pleasure to receive you once again in Jerusalem. You have come to Israel after visiting Egypt and Libya, the West Bank and Gaza. I appreciate your ongoing efforts to secure peace, peace and stability and security for all of us in this all too turbulent region. The impression that we all have, certainly in the last few days and in the last few weeks, is of the tremendous burst of violence that came out of Gaza. Mr. Secretary, The root cause of the violence that burst from Gaza is not Israel's occupation in Gaza, for a simple reason: Israel doesn't occupy Gaza. Israel left Gaza to the very last centimeter, to the very last inch. We uprooted all the settlements and vacated all the settlers. So there is no Israeli occupation of Gaza.   

Kerry pledges more U.S. aid to rebuild Gaza; peace talks must resume

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

As nations and organizations pledged more than $5 billion to rebuild the war-ravaged Gaza Strip, several major donors said Sunday that this is the last time they will pay and urged Israel and the Palestinians to negotiate a final peace settlement leading to two separate states.


The British vote to recognise Palestine won't change a complex reality

The British vote in parliament recognising a Palestinian state alongside Israel is seen by many as a landmark moment in British policy on the Palestinian question. The vote comes shortly after Sweden's newly elected prime minister, Stefan Löfven, expressed his readiness to recognise the state of Palestine. But Sweden's gesture is the more significant one, since Britain's Conservative-led government has made it abundantly clear that the parliamentary vote will not change its position on the Israel-Palestine issue.

Read Full Article   


Israel successfully tests 'naval Iron Dome'

The Israeli Navy secretly tested an upgraded anti-missile system designed to protect naval vessels several months ago. The test was crowned a success. The defense system, which uses Barak missiles, was upgraded to confront the growing threat of Russian-made Yakhont anti-ship cruise missiles. The Yakhont missiles pose a threat mainly because of their potential use by Israel's neighbors.

Read Full Article   

Don't Let Iran Off the Hook on Nuclear Talks

As world leaders have turned their attention to fighting the "network of evil" that is the Islamic State, the powers negotiating with Iran are perhaps considering easing their pressure on the Islamic Republic, thinking that "the enemy of the enemy is my friend." This thinking is wrong.

Anti-Semitism & BDS

A Serial Israel-Basher Shouldn't Be Judging the Jewish State

The iconic Lady Justice holding evenly balanced scales reflects a truth that national traditions, the law, and, yes, common decency demand that judges should be above reproach. Mocking this baseline ethical standard, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) selected a notorious anti-Israel zealot-Canadian lawyer William Schabas-to head its latest "verdict first, trial later" inquisition against the Jewish state. 
Read Full Article

fordhamFordham Professor Lambasts 'Shabby Treatment' In Row Over Israel Boycott, Vows to Continue Fighting Anti-Semitism 

"I've decided that I should do what I believe in," Professor Doron Ben Atar, the Fordham University academic who faced a discrimination charge after vocally speaking out against the academic boycott of Israel, told The Algemeiner during an interview on Thursday morning. "Many people have warned me that Fordham is going to retaliate. I can't tell if they will or not, but we are living in a toxic age, and it's time for people to make a stand." 
Reproductive Rights
northrupAmerica's shrinking access to abortion
by Nancy Northrup
On the first day of its new term, the U.S. Supreme Court cleared its docket of one hot-button social issue by declining to hear seven cases involving same-sex marriage - only to find another highly controversial matter hurtling its way. That same day, the court received an emergency appeal from the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of women's health-care providers, asking the justices to reinstate an injunction blocking a Texas law that has left no more than eight abortion clinics in the state - down from more than 40 before the law was passed last summer.
 Read Full Article  
 Supreme Court Stops Parts Of Texas Abortion Law

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked key parts of a 2013 law in Texas that had closed all but eight facilities providing abortions in America's second most-populous state. In an unsigned order, the justices sided with abortion rights advocates and health care providers in suspending an Oct. 2 ruling by a panel of the New Orleans-based U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that Texas could immediately apply a rule making abortion clinics statewide spend millions of dollars on hospital-level upgrades. 

Abortion Is Great
A new book argues that the left needs to stop the "awfulization" of abortion and embrace it as a social good. 

I had an abortion. I was not in a libertine college-girl phase, although frankly it's none of your business. I was already a mother of two, which puts me in the majority of American women who have abortions. Six out of 10 are mothers, which makes sense, because a mother could not fool herself into believing that having another baby was no big deal. I start the story this way because Katha Pollitt, author of Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights, would want it this way. 

Publicly funded family planning saved $13 billion - but lawmakers don't think it's worth the investment 
We already know that publicly funded family planning efforts are a critical source of healthcare for millions of Americans, and that access to affordable contraception has positively impacted countless women's lives. But despite evidence that investing in public health improves public health, lawmakers have continued to slash safety nets for contraceptive coverage and other Title X-funded family planning programs.

Alabama 'Lawyers for Fetuses' Law Latest Sign of Creeping Fetal 'Personhood' Rights
Alabama is one of 38 states that requires minors seeking abortions to either obtain their parents' consent or go through "judicial bypass," a process through which a minor goes to a judge for a court order granting her an abortion. In July, anti-choice lawmakers in the state radically amended this judicial bypass process to allow the court to appoint a guardian for a minor's fetus, and to allow the district attorney-and in some instances even the minor's parents-to cross-examine the minor and to oppose her request for an abortion. 
Separation of Religion & State
sukkahConcern over booth site thrusts Jewish students into church-state debate
Jewish students from Nicolet High School gathered Sunday at a nearby home to build a sukkah, the temporary structure - a kind of booth - erected for the annual harvest festival of Sukkot. The Ironwood Road site wasn't their first choice. They had hoped to return to Nicolet's courtyard, where they built it last year. But Nicolet had received complaints about the appropriateness of the religious symbol on public school grounds. It wasn't a Christian group that objected. Or the litigious Freedom From Religion folks in Madison. In an unexpected twist on a familiar religious liberty narrative, it was fellow Jewish students who raised concerns, uneasy about what they saw as a breach of the separation of church and state.  

Read Full Article 


A cross to bear: Tri-Cities-area groups debating future of Dewey Hill cross
A debate is brewing in regards to the cross on Dewey Hill in Grand Haven, MI. The 48-foot-tall cross, which has been a city landmark since it was erected in December 1964, is the subject of sparring between two Tri-Cities-area groups on whether or not the cross should remain on the city-owned Dewey Hill property overlooking Grand River. 
Read Full Article
The base of a large cross on Dewey Hill in Grand Haven, MI. Credit: Gary Olsen
Beyond the Core
Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords pumps her fist as she testifies before a Washington state House panel in Olympia, Wash. Credit:AP/Elaine Thompson

giffordsGiffords Begins 9-State Tour on Women, Guns  

Former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords on Tuesday urged women in Maine to help prevent stalkers and abusers from getting guns, part of a nine-state tour to advocate for tougher laws she says can protect domestic violence victims. The former Arizona congresswoman told law enforcement officials, domestic violence advocates and others that those who seek "common sense" gun reforms can lead the way in safeguarding women and families from abusers.

Read Full Article 


Pentagon: Climate change a national security threat

The Pentagon is integrating climate change threats into all of its "plans, operations, and training" across the entire Defense Department, signaling a comprehensive attempt to tackle the impacts of global warming.

Political Byte
surgeongeneralNearly 70K urge Senate to Confirm new surgeon general in petition

Nearly 70,000 people are calling on the Senate to confirm Obama pick Vivek Murthy as surgeon general while fears about Ebola rise in the United States. Murthy's nomination has been held up for more than six months over objections to his views on guns from conservatives and the the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Read Full Article 


Democrats spend big on more than just ads

Senate Democrats are posting record fundraising hauls for the midterm elections - but Republicans, boosted by a deluge of secret money, figure to more than keep pace. So if Democrats do end up beating the odds and holding onto control of the chamber, it might be less because of how much money they spent, and more because of how they spent it.

Simply put: While both sides are flooding the airwaves with ads, Democrats are also investing serious money in a ground game of unprecedented strength. And that could make the difference.

'Personhood' Amendment Backers: Gardner 'Was Firmly on Our Side'

When Colorado senatorial candidate Cory Gardner announced in March that he was withdrawing his name from state "personhood" amendments, he explained that he did not understand that the measure would ban common forms of birth control. "The fact that it restricts contraception, it was not the right position," Gardner told Denver Post reporter Lynn Bartels in March. "I don't get everything right the first time."

abortionballotAbortion Restrictions on 3 State Ballots

Three states are putting the issue to voters in November, including one measure that would criminalize abortion. Where does your state stand? 

Read Full Article 


2014 Ballot Measures That Matter Most for States and Localities

With less than 30 days until the election, do you know what ballot measures are up for a vote in your state? Here is a list of more than 50 of the most important ballot measures for state and local public officials to watch. Click on a topic below to read stories about what's on the ballot in that area.  

Read Full Article    

Click on the image to get voting information for your state!
Texas voter ID law back in place

A U.S. Appeals Court has ruled to put Texas's strict voter ID law back in place for the upcoming election.

Gerry Hebert, a lawyer for the plaintiffs challenging the measure, said in response that they would appeal the ruling. "We are going to the U.S. Supreme Court," Hebert said via email.  

Read Full Article    

9 Scathing Quotes From Judge Posner's Dissent Against WI Voter ID
 It's only been one year since Reagan-appointed Judge Richard Posner converted to the view that voter identification laws are tantamount to voter suppression. His change of heart has sparked a fiery judicial opinion against a ruling in favor Wisconsin's voter ID law.
sukkotSukkah-hopping with presidents 

The Israeli presidential open house at Sukkot tradition started in 1952 with the idea of raising public awareness about issues like absorption and mass immigration. It continues today, bringing concepts of environmental protection and tolerance for others to the fore.


David Greenglass, the Brother Who Doomed Ethel Rosenberg, Dies at 92

It was the most notorious spy case of the Cold War - the conviction and execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for passing atomic secrets to the Soviet Union - and it rested largely on the testimony of Ms. Rosenberg's brother David Greenglass, whose name to many became synonymous with betrayal.


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 

Find Us Online:

Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter  View our profile on LinkedIn  Visit our blog 
better jac logo
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.