July 10, 2015
This Week at JAC
When it came to Israel this week, the Iran negotiations took center stage. JAC and the entire Jewish community waited with great anticipation to see if a deal could be reached that would satisfy the U.S. and Israel. This is a highly complicated issue with the U.S., Israel and the entire region's security hanging in balance.  We will now have to once again wait and see how things progress as the new deadline approaches.

Closer to home, the Confederate flag debate continued. South Carolina removed the flag from its capitol as a direct result of the Charleston killings.  The debate even spread to Capitol with heated discussions on the floor. The Confederate flag has been an emotional symbol for hate and racism in the South. This historic move comes on the heels of another historic move last week -- the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage. Once again, this proves ELECTIONS MATTER.

JAC continues to fight for access to reproductive health for all women regardless of their income.  Several Representatives and JAC friends introduced legislation, the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage (EACH), this week that would require Medicare to cover abortion services. It will be a tough fight to move this much-needed bill through Congress. JAC will be pushing for the bill's passage.


Iran Negotiations
Secretary John Kerry updates the press on the progress of the Iran negotiations in Vienna. Photo credit: ABC News

"..Let me assure you we would not be here continuing to negotiate just for the sake of negotiating. We're here because we believe we are making real progress toward a comprehensive deal. But as I have said many times ...we are not going to sit at the negotiating table forever."
Read Full Statement
An Iran Negotiations Primer
U.S. Key players
John Kerry - U.S. Secretary of State
Wendy Sherman - Under Secretary for Political Affairs,
Ernest Moniz - U.S. Secretary for Energy, who is also a nuclear scientist

Iranian Key Players
Mohammad Javad Zarif- Iran's Minister of Foreign Affairs
Hassan Rouhani - President of Iran
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Main Issues
*Timing and pace of sanctions relief
*Access & Transparency - Iran must ease access to sites for inspections.  No more covert operations.
*Stockpile of enriched uranimum & Centrifuges - must reach agreement on reductions; both are integral to create nuclear weapons

International Atomic Energy Agency
Formed in 1957, the agency (IAEA) sends out inspectors across the world to verify that countries who have signed on to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons are their using nuclear material in a peaceful way, and not for weapon build up.

The Iran Nuclear Review Act of 2015
Congress will have 60 days to review the deal; Congress can disapprove - or do nothing. The President still has veto power; the Senate would need 67 votes to override his veto.

P5 +1
This a group of six world powers which, in 2006, joined the diplomatic efforts with Iran with regard to its nuclear program. The term refers to five permanent members of the UN Security Council, namely China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, plus Germany.

This is the year when the world learned that Iran was building a uranium enrichment and heavy water production plants. Iran said a year later that it would suspend uranium enrichment activities and work with the IAEA on its nuclear program but that process fell apart in 2006.

April 2015
After meetings in Lausanne, Switzerland, Iran and the P5 +1 agreed to a framework, or guidelines, that would be used in the current negotiations. However, key issues needed to be resolved before a final agreement.

Arak and Fordo
Iran's major nuclear facilities. Arak has a heavy water reactor that can be used to produce radioactive plutonium. Fordo is buried deep in a mountain under Iran's feared Revolutionary Guard base The site holds thousands of centrifuges that concentrate the rare form of uranium that fuels reactors and bombs. P5 +1 want these facilities to become incapable of producing nuclear bombs.

Possible Military Dimensions (PMDs)
There is concern that Iran is using its nuclear facilities for weapon construction. Part of a final agreement would allow inspectors full access to Iran's facilities to verify there is no PMD.

This is the time required to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for one nuclear weapon. Estimates are that the breakout times now for Iran is about two to three months.

For Marlee, JAC is already a family tradition. Her mother is JAC member Annie Atlas and her grandmother is JAC Executive Director Marcia Balonick.

Congratulations to the entire Atlas and Balonick families. We wish Marlee a lifetime of happiness and joy and we look forward to having her join us at our future events.
In Memory
JAC is sorry to learn of the passing of Susan Landsman, (Deerfield, IL), a long-time JAC member and former officer. Susan was an active member and her contributions to JAC in the early years were an integral part of our organization. We send our condolences to her husband, Robert K. Landsman, and her children Jenny (Ken) Silverman and Jon (Lisa) Landsman; her grandchildren; and her entire extended family. Susan will be missed by those whose lives she touched.  

Talking Points Los Angeles
Details to come

Talking Points Highland Park
August 12
with Rep. Raul Ruiz (CA-36)
Details to come

Detroit Fall Event 
Details to come
Want to host a JAC event near you? Please contact the JAC office and we will help coordinate.

For more information and to RSVP, contact the JAC office at 847-433-5999 or [email protected]



Rep. Raul Ruiz (CA- 36)


Rep. Ruiz's parents were both farm workers. He achieved his lifelong dream of becoming a physician through public education. He earned his Medical Degree, as well as a Masters of Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government and a Masters of Public Health from the School of Public Health, becoming the first Latino to earn three graduate degrees from Harvard University.      


Ruiz has shown strong support in Congress for JAC's issues throughout his two terms. When it comes to Israel, Ruiz has said that "our support for Israel and our security is not partisan and should never be partisan." He supports a strong U.S. Israel Partnership and increased funding for Iron dome.  He believes that the security of Israel and its people is "inextricably connected to the security of the United States and our citizens..."


He has also been a strong and consistent voice on choice issues, earning a 100 percent rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America.  Ruiz co-sponsored the Women's Health Protection Act,  the Paycheck Fairness Act and other legislation aimed at helping women and families.  

Join with Hillary

If you would like to support Hillary,
please contact the JAC office at
847-433-5999 or
[email protected]
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Israel & The Middle East 
Senate Democrats not abandoning Obama on Iran deal - for now
As Republicans herald the latest extension of Iran negotiations as a sure sign President Obama's administration is going to strike a bad deal, Senate Democrats are stuck between a diplomatic rock and a political hard place. But by and large, Democrats are not abandoning the president on the deal, even as negotiations look like they will drag on.
As Iran talks continue in Vienna, Israel, US flags, burn in streets of Tehran
As world powers in Vienna continued talks with Iran over its nuclear program for the fifteenth straight day, demonstrators took to the streets in the Islamic Republic Friday in anti-Israel protests. Iranian protesters burned Israeli, American, Saudi Arabian, and British flags in Tehran.

New IDF System Detects Terror Tunnels in Gaza
In the next few days, the IDF will begin operating a new system capable of detecting terror tunnels coming from Gaza at the security fence, an IDF official told reporters on Tuesday. The official stated that the new system has recently been tested in the Gaza Strip. The IDF added that none of the 32 Hamas tunnels destroyed by the IDF during Operation Protective Edge have been rebuilt. Nonetheless, Hamas is attempting to dig new tunnels leading into Israeli territory.
In Historic Shift, India Abstains from U.N. Vote Condemning Israel
Over the weekend, the United Nations Human Rights Council condemned Israel for its conduct during last summer's Gaza war. Given that over the course of its history, the body has condemned the Jewish state more than all other states combined, this would not normally constitute news. But as it turns out, there was one nugget of noteworthiness buried in the otherwise perfunctory spectacle-the abstention of India.
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Anti-Semitism & BDS

In France, fear and defiance mix 6 months after kosher market attack

Defiance is a common reaction among many French Jews to the growth of violent anti-Semitism that has been building for years and culminated at the shop on Jan. 9. But there is real and palpable fear that the Hyper Cacher attack will turn out to be a watershed moment for the Jews of France - one that accelerated already record immigration to Israel, caused a sharp drop in sales at kosher shops and introduced new levels of anxiety to the lives of the Jews who stayed.

Read Full Article

Protestant Vote to Back BDS Sparks Concern
In a move deeply concerning to much of the pro-Israel community, the United Church of Christ voted overwhelmingly last week to divest from companies that profit from Israel's control of the West Bank.
Reproductive Rights

Scott Walker gets the abortion ban he asked for

Lest any Republican presidential primary voters think he is wobbly on the issue of abortion after downplaying the issue in his 2014 campaign, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker now is expected to sign another abortion restriction. A ban on abortions after 20 weeks, personally requested by Walker to include no exceptions for rape and incest, cleared the Wisconsin Assembly on Thursday. 

Read Full Article


States Enact an Increasing Number of Abortion Restrictions
According to a new study by the Guttmacher Institute, "so far this year, states have enacted 51 new abortion restrictions; this brings the number of restrictions enacted since 2010 to 282. States have enacted more restrictions during the first half of this year than during all of last year."
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Press conference announcing a bill to reverse the Hyde Amendment. Photo credit: Jezebel
House DemsWant Medicaid To Cover Abortion
House Democrats are renewing their attack on the Hyde Amendment, the controversial budget provision that bars federal funds from paying for abortions. Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Diana DeGette (D-Col.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) introduced a bill Wednesday that would require Medicaid to cover abortion services - currently banned under the Hyde Amendment. The legislation, the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance Woman Act, is backed by dozens of women's health groups, who say it will help reduce unplanned pregnancies. About 65 lawmakers have signed on as co-sponsors.
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Separation of Religion & State
Enough with the "Christian flag" tantrum: "God before government" might work for church, but not for city hall
A push began last week, when North Carolina's Elizabeth Baptist Church Pastor Rit Varriale posted a video to YouTube calling people across the land "to stand up for traditional values and beliefs" by raising a Christian flag above the American one to send a message that "We'll serve God before government... a government that tries to coerce us to violate our commitments to God."
Beyond the Core
Photo credit: Slate

Chicago Police Have Been Seizing an Illegal Gun Every 75 Minutes This Year

In preparation for this year's Fourth of July weekend, the Chicago Police Department increased its presence on city streets by nearly a third, with officers working 12-hour shifts.  According to Superintendent Garry McCarthy, officers seized illegal firearms at a rate of about one an hour over the course of three days.
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Maine To Allow Carrying of Concealed Guns Without Permit
Maine Gov. Paul LePage has signed a bill that will allow residents to carry a concealed handgun without obtaining a permit. Maine will become the sixth state in the country with such a policy when the law goes into effect 90 days after lawmakers adjourn later this month.
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House Rejects Lifting Restrictions On Ozone Regulations
The House rejected a proposal on Wednesday to eliminate a provision in a GOP spending bill that would restrict the Obama administration's ability to enforce air quality standards for ozone.Under House Republicans' 2016 spending bill for the Department of Interior, the Obama administration could not propose or implement ozone regulations below the current air quality standard unless 85 percent of counties that don't currently meet it are fully compliant.
Read Full Article 
Political Byte
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at a press conference with Israeli Prime Minister. Photo credit: AP

Clinton Says Campaign Will Talk Up Countering BDS
Hillary Rodham Clinton said she will speak out against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel during her presidential campaign. "I know you agree that we need to make countering BDS a priority," Clinton said in a July 2 letter to Haim Saban, the Israeli-American entertainment mogul who has been a major fundraiser for Clinton in the past. "I am seeking your advice on how we can work together - across party lines and with a diverse array of voices - to reverse this trend with information and advocacy, and fight back against further attempts to isolate and delegitimize Israel."
Read Full Article

Gary Peters May Be The Loneliest Person In the Senate, But He's Doing OK
He's a United States senator, a Democrat from Michigan. But he also sits on the lowest rung of the senatorial ladder, ranking 100th out of 100 in terms of his power in the chamber. Not only is he a freshman, and not only is he in the minority party, but he's the lone Democrat in his class of 13 newcomers.
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Battle for Senate Spills Into House Panel
The battle for the Senate majority in 2016 is spilling over into the House Armed Services Committee. Three members of the panel have announced Senate bids, and two more lawmakers are expected to launch their candidacies soon. The presence of so many Senate hopefuls on one committee could cause friction, especially if members use the platform to attract media attention or highlight pet issues.
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Florida Supreme Court Orders New Congressional Map with Eight Districts to be Redrawn
In a precedent-setting ruling Thursday, the Florida Supreme Court overturned the state's congressional districts drawn by the GOP-led Legislature and ordered a new map with eight districts redrawn in time for the 2016 election.
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Photo credit: Ashley J. Palmer

The Holocaust Survivor Who Coached World Cup Star Carli Lloyd
Soccer fans around the world watched in amazement Sunday night as the United States women's soccer team netted five goals  to defeat Japan, 5-2, in the FIFA Women's World Cup final. Three of the first four goals were scored by midfielder Carli Lloyd. Most Carli Lloyd fans probably don't know that her soccer roots wind back to Delran, a small town in southern New Jersey - where her high school coach was a Holocaust survivor.
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Twizzlers, string cheese, and mixed nuts (in large quantities) fuel Iran nuclear negotiators
The US negotiating team here over the past five weeks has gone through 10 pounds of Twizzlers (strawberry flavored), 20 pounds of string cheese, 30 pounds of mixed nuts and dried fruit, and more than 200 Rice Krispies Treats. "The number of espresso pods we've gone through," said one top US official, "is in the hundreds."
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In 1966 Letter, Iran Hailed Entebbe Rescue, Mourned Death of Yoni Netanyahu
Nine days after the successful Israeli hostage rescue mission in Entebbe, the Mossad station chief in Tehran received a letter from the desk of the Supreme Commander's Staff of the Imperial Iranian Armed Forces praising the mission and extending condolences for "the loss and martyrdom" of Lt. Col. Yoni Netanyahu, the elder brother of Israel's current prime minister.
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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.