JACPAC News & Opinion Digest

December 5, 2014 

2014 has been a busy year around the country. This month we revisit some of our favorite occasions with JAC members, elected officials, and special guests.

Palm Beach 2014 with Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA)   

NYC event with Israeli Ambassador Danny Ayalon   

With Senator Al Franken (D-MN) in Chicago

Detroit Membership Event with Senator Gary Peters (D-MI)
With Senator Kay Hagan in San Francisco

Our 2014 Power of Women Luncheon 


Talking Points HP

Thursday, Dec 11 10:00 am 

featuring Lonnie Nasatir

Regional Director of ADL

"The State of Anti-Semitism on college campuses, social media and around the world."  

Thursday, Dec 11 10:00 am 

Highland Park, IL



 Talking Points Palm Beach

Details to follow


Want to host a JAC event in your area? Call the JAC office to help coordinate.


Thank them for voting YES 
(Not sure who your Representative is? Click here.)

This bill: 
  • Reaffirms the United States' unwavering commitment to Israel's security
  • Emphasizes the strong, historic U.S.-Israel relationship
  • Supports deeper U.S.-Israel cooperation on defense
  • Continues U.S. assistance to Israel for the Iron Dome Missile Defense System
  • Reiterates U.S. support for a negotiated settlement between the Israelis and Palestinians that will result in two states living side-by-side in peace and security

JAC applauds Congress for taking such an important step in further strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship.



Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA)

Sen. Mary Landrieu faces a runoff election tomorrow, December 6, against extreme right-wing candidate, Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), who has a consistent anti-choice record in Congress. Senator Landrieu represents our last chance at saving a pro-choice seat in the Senate -- and the South.

JAC has proudly thrown its support behind Landrieu, working hard to help turn out voters during the general election and, now, the run-off. Her opponent, Cassidy, does not support common sense gun laws, nor equal pay for equal work. He also voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act and voted to shut down the government every opportunity he had.

Landrieu hails from a well-known political family in Louisiana, but has earned her own well-respected reputation in the Senate. Her record on JAC issues is outstanding. She has introduced legislation that would specifically enhance energy cooperation between the U.S. and Israel. She has been a strong voice for JAC's issues during her three terms in the Senate. We will be closely watching the outcome of this race.

Meet the Members
Each week JAC will introduce you to the Members of the 114th Congress. We look forward to working with them on the issues we care about.

Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) 

Rep. Tammy Duckworth is an Iraq War Veteran and former Assistant Secretary of Veteran Affairs. She was one of the first Army women to fly combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom until her helicopter was hit; the explosion resulted in the loss of both legs and the use of her right arm. A strong supporting of JAC's issues, she has said, "I firmly support the unique relationship between America and Israel. As the only true democracy in the Middle East, Israel is a vital strategic ally and a key economic partner to the United States. It is important to me that we continue to build the decades-long partnership between our two nations. One of my top priorities as a Member of Congress will be to support the safety and security of the State of Israel." This month, she gave birth to her first child, Abigail O'kalami Bowlsbey. 
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)  

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has taken the lead on important issues to women during her tenure in the Senate. Most recently she has introduced the Military Justice Improvement Act, aimed at stemming the epidemic of sexual assault in the military. Hopefully this bill will be voted on before Congress adjourns later this month. Gillibrand has a 100% pro-choice record, vowing to "always protect a woman's right to choose -- no matter what." She strongly supports Israel's right to self-defense and the funding for Iron Dome, stating, "Strengthening U.S.-Israel missile defense cooperation is critical to ensuring one of our closest democratic allies can defend itself from terrorism." She is a strong proponent of legislative efforts to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and those who are gravely mentally ill. This year, Gillibrand was named one of Time's "100 Most Influential People in the World" for her ability to work across the aisle and build consensus. She served in Congress prior to being appointed, and then elected, to fill the seat of Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY). Throughout her time in the House and Senate, she has fought to preserve and protect JAC's issues.
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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 

StrategicpartnershipUS Congress passes Israel strategic partnership bill 

US lawmakers voted unanimously Wednesday to pass legislation making Israel a "major strategic partner" of the United States, deepening a bilateral bond that has recently shown signs of strain.

The measure reflects "the sense of Congress that Israel is a major strategic partner of the United States," and declares Washington's "unwavering support" for Israel as a Jewish state. The bill, which passed the Senate unanimously in September, now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.


Knesset votes to dissolve; new elections called for March 17 

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

Knesset members voted overwhelmingly in favor of dissolving the current Knesset in a preliminary vote on Wednesday. Eighty-four MKs supported the measure, none opposed it, and one Knesset member abstained.


The Truth About Israel's Jewish State Law
In a 2007 interview, former Knesset Speaker and Jewish Agency Chairman Avram Burg claimed "to define the State of Israel as a Jewish state is the key to its end. A Jewish state is explosive. It's dynamite." Burg's outburst is emblematic of a strange controversy that has overtaken Israel in recent weeks and threatened to bring down the government - all over a law that enshrines what already exists.

Read Full Article 


Red Cross Official Says World Holds Israel to Legal Double Standard
On December 2, the head of the International Red Cross in Israel and the Palestinian areas, Jacques De Maio, said that the world was holding Israel to a double standard when it came to allegations of war crimes.

Read Full Article   

Despite nuclear talks' extension, Iran is still on the verge of a bomb
A second extension of the nuclear talks with Iran is the option favored by all sides, including Israel.

Read Full Article   

Amb. Prosor addresses UNGA debate on the Question of Palestine
Amb. Prosor addresses UNGA debate on the Question of Palestine
Amb. Prosor addresses UNGA debate on the Question of Palestine
Watch Full Video   

French parliament votes for recognition of Palestinian state

French lawmakers on Tuesday urged their government to recognize Palestine, a symbolic move that will not immediately affect France's diplomatic stance but demonstrates growing European impatience with a stalled peace process.While most developing countries recognize Palestine as a state, most Western European countries do not, supporting the Israeli and U.S. position that an independent Palestinian state should emerge from negotiations with Israel

Read Full Article   

Anti-Semitism & BDS

Over 120 Leading University of California Academics Mobilize Against Forthcoming BDS Ballot  

More than 120 faculty and staff members at the University of California have issued a petition calling for a "no" vote in tomorrow's ballot organized by UAW 2865, the 13,000-strong union chapter representing mainly graduate workers at several UC campuses, on whether to join the "global BDS movement."
Read Full Article

fightorflight"Fight or Flight" - What Should the pro-Israel students choose?

Radical Muslim student groups that are led by Hamas' wings on campuses - the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the Muslim Students Association (MSA) - harass, threaten, terrorize and intimidate pro-Israel and Jewish students who speak up for Israel. American students no longer feel safe in their own homes or on campus. Should the Pro-Israel Students Fight or Flight? Should they take action or passively surrender?
"Fight or Flight" - What Should the pro-Israel students choose?
Watch Full Video

BDS Group Spreads Photoshopped Image of Concentration Camp Inmates Holding Anti-Israel Posters 

A Facebook page supporting the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement on Wednesday uploaded a Photoshopped image of Nazi concentration camp prisoners holding anti-Israel signs.
Read Full Article 
Reproductive Rights
abortionlawsThe coming wave of anti-abortion laws

The big Republican gains in the November elections strengthened and enlarged the anti-abortion forces in the House and the Senate. But it's the GOP victories in the statehouses and governor's mansions that are priming the ground for another round of legal restrictions on abortion.

Read Full Article  
The Supreme Court will decide if a woman has a right to work while pregnant 

The Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday in a case that will decide whether many women must choose between having a job and having a family - or, at least, whether these women must put their jobs and their income on hold during their pregnancy.

Read Full Article

Bill Would Help Military Sexual Assault Victims

A bipartisan group of senators said on Tuesday that recent reforms have not been enough to improve the way sexual assault cases are handled in the military, and called on Congress to overhaul the military justice system to end retaliation against victims. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., chief sponsor of the Military Justice Improvement Act, wants the measure tacked to a defense authorization bill that has to be approved by the end of the year, or given an up-or-down vote.

Separation of Religion & State
Photo source: NY Mag
Capitol holiday displays approved, state includes Satanic Temple
The Satanic Temple will be allowed to join several other holiday displays in the Florida Capitol this year, after previously being denied access. This week, the applications of five groups vying for space for their holiday displays, some supporting religions, some the absence of religion and some just to make a point, were approved by the Department of Management Services.

Read Full Article   


ivfchurchMore than splitting hairs over church and state

Here in Indiana, we've debated everything from letting people use public money for religious schools to whether local governments can permit creches and crosses on public land and whether a faith-based organization can ask people receiving federal food assistance if they'd like to pray. Now we're going at it over whether a Roman Catholic diocese can fire a teacher for trying to get pregnant through in vitro fertilization.

Read Full Article 

Beyond the Core

 EPA unveils contentious plan to tighten ozone standards

The Obama administration unveiled an ambitious plan Wednesday that it said would improve public health by slashing the ozone pollution that causes smog.

Read Full Article  


Poll: 83% of Americans say climate is changing

Eight out of 10 Americans now believe the climate is changing, according to a new survey conducted for Munich Re America, the world's largest reinsurance firm.   

Read Full Article 


"I bought it because it looked cool...It never occurred to me that a company that makes a phone case could be involved in the gun industry." 

phonecaseGunfight in Cyberspace 

With no help from Congress, gun control activists are forcing businesses to take a position on guns.

Read Full Article  

Political Byte
Why the Supreme Court should be the biggest issue of the 2016 campaign  

Supreme Court justice and pop culture icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg left the hospital yesterday after having a heart stent implanted and expects to be back at work Monday. Despite various health issues over the years, Ginsburg insists that she is still of sound body at age 81 (her mind isn't in question) and has no plans to retire before the end of President Obama's term to ensure a Democratic replacement. If she keeps to that pledge, and presuming there are no other retirements in the next two years, the makeup of the Supreme Court could be a bigger campaign issue in 2016 than ever before. It certainly ought to be. 

Read Full Article 
Congress wants to cancel Social Security for Nazis. Here's why we can't just arrest them. 

 The House has just passed what might well be the most popular bill in American Congressional history: the "No Social Security for Nazis Act." It does exactly what it sounds like it does, blocking former Nazi war criminals from receiving Social Security checks. The bill passed unanimously and will next go to the Senate. 

congressThere are LOTS of new members of the House. Here's the one sentence you need to read about each of them. 

In a few weeks, the Capitol will be flooded with dozens of newly elected politicians. If you are reading the Fix, chances are you will know the new senators, having obsessively followed the 2014 midterm campaigns. You will never learn the names of more than five of the new House members. It is beyond the scope of human ingenuity. To give you a taste of what the House's freshman class will be like, we've tried to distill each new member into one sentence (in a few rare cases, two).

It's time to remember the Jewish refugees

Israel is observing the first annual National Day of Commemoration to mark the "exile and expulsion of Jews from Arab states and Iran." The law establishing this commemorative day - adopted by the Knesset on June 23, 2014 - in part requires the Minister of Foreign Affairs to instruct Israel's embassies abroad to "increase international awareness and recognition of the Jewish refugees from Arab states and Iran and their right to compensation..."


paddingtonLondon Hugs Paddington Bear   

In interviews with Paddington's 88-year-old creator, Michael Bond, he reveals his inspiration for the kindly bear: the Jewish evacuee children he remembered seeing in the train stations of London during the Kindertransport of the late 1930s. "They all had a label round their neck with their name and address on," a recent article in The Guardian quotes Bond as saying, "and a little case or package containing all their treasured possessions. So Paddington, in a sense, was a refugee, and I do think that there's no sadder sight than refugees."

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 

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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.