October 30, 2015
This Week at JAC
JAC received the Irving B. Harris Spirit of Choice Award from Illinois' PersonalPAC. We were honored for our longstanding commitment to protecting women's reproductive rights.  "Our work has never been more difficult," said JAC Executive Director Marical Balonick.  "Women can not take for granted their right to control their own bodies."

In the first six months of 2015, 51 bills were introduced in Congress targeting women's reproductive health -- and more are certainly coming. Congress refuses to end the fight to defund Planned Parenthood. This move that impacts millions of women across the country.

It is ironic that JAC received this prestigious honor the week the Congress elected Rep. Paul Ryan (WI-1) to be Speaker of the House. His main agenda is to strip women of their reproductive rights. JAC will need to fight even harder to support pro-choice candidates and ensure that this war on women finally ends.

With all of the troubling news coming from Israel, it was encouraging to hear from Gidi Grinstein at Talking Points in Highland Park, IL. The founder of Reut Institute, his goal is be the most effective non-governmental institution advancing Israel's societal innovation and ensuring Israel's security and prosperity within the framework of the 21st Century Zionism.

Gidi shared with us some of the unbelievable projects Reut is working on to inspire a global movement that will improve the lives of Israelis and people across the globe.


JAC was honored by Personal PAC for our ongoing commitment to preserving women's reproductive rights. 
From l to r: JAC Special Projects Director Linda Rae Sher, former state Rep. Karen May (IL-58), JAC Executive Director Marcia Balonick, and Sylvia Margolies, after JAC received a pro-choice award.

JAC welcomed Gidi Grinstein of Israel's Reut Institute to Talking Points. From l to r: Gidi Grinstein, founder of Ruit Institute, and Tina Wolf; and Lisa Bookstein and Andy Berk at a Talking Points event. 

Talking Points Los Angeles
Donna Crane
of NARAL Pro-Choice America 
Friday, November 20 
Details to come
Detroit Membership Event
Gary Peters (D-MI) and
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) 
Monday, November 23 
11:30 am - 1:00 pm 
Details to come

Talking Points Highland Park
Rep. Jared Polis (CO-2)
Monday, November 16
Highland Park, IL
Details to come

Want to host a JAC event near you? Plea
se 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]

Illinois Conversation with
 Hillary Clinton
November 2
12 - 2 pm
 5 - 7pm
Contact JAC office for further details

November 13
Event with
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
Details to follow

November 15
Brunch with
Rep. Jared Polis (CO-2) and
Brad Schneider 

(candidate for IL-10) 
12:30 - 2:00 pm
For more information and to RSVP, contact the JAC office at 847-433-5999 or [email protected]
We don't want a country where abortion is simply outlawed. We want a country were it isn't even considered." Speaker Paul Ryan (WI-1)
Speaker Paul Ryan (WI-1)
The Ryan anti-choice, anti-women record: 
Supports the Ultrasound Informed Consent Act (requires a doctor to perform an ultrasound before a woman's abortion and then force the woman to look at the picture)

Sponsored a bill that would make it possible for a woman's rapist to sue her if she seeks an abortion

Cosponsor of HR 212, the Sanctity of Human Life Act
(would give states authority to ban all abortions with NO expectation for rape, incest or life of the mother)
Compares the fight to ban abortion and curtail access to reproductive care to the battle to end slavery.

Cosponsored the Pro-Life Act (Allows a hospital that receives federal funds to refuse to "participate in" or "provide referrals" for abortions - even if it is an emergency and the women is dying)

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Israel & the Middle East
Sec. John Kerry at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Sec Kerry: Violence Hurts Everyone

During a speech at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Kerry called upon the Palestinian leaders to improve economic opportunities and the quality of life for their people on a day-to-day basis and to cease the incitement of violence.
Jordan, Israel to Stream Jerusalem Holy Site Footage 
Israeli and Jordanian officials said Tuesday that new surveillance cameras should be installed within days at the walled Jerusalem shrine at the epicenter of Israeli-Palestinian violence, with the goal of streaming the footage live on the Internet for maximum transparency. 
Jerusalem Mufti: Temple Mount Never Had a Jewish Temple
The grand mufti of Jerusalem, the Muslim cleric in charge of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, said Sunday that there has never been a Jewish temple atop the Temple Mount, and that the site has been home to a mosque "since the creation of the world." Despite Muslim sources have corroborated historical sources in recording that two Jewish temples have stood atop the site. 
Israel Welcomes French Plan for Netanyahu-Abbas Meeting
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is ready to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas "anyplace and anytime," an official in the Prime Minister's Office said Tuesday in response to a French effort to set up such an encounter. 

Dennis Ross: US Goal with Israel --  Distance to Detente 
The former Middle East peace negotiator chronicles the rocky history of the US-Israel alliance and calls for a joint committee to oversee full implementation of Iran deal. 

When it Comes to Israel, Europe Needs to Hit Reset Button 
If nothing else, European officials at least get credit for consistency. For decades, in war and peace, terror and calm, they have not flagged in the belief that they can engineer their vision of peace for Israel. 

Israel Developing App to Call for Help in Terror Attack 
Anyone encountering a terrorist attack will be able to use an app to immediately notify security forces, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday. Netanyahu told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that one of the ways in which the government is working to counter the current wave of terrorism is developing the emergency smartphone application. 
Anti-Semitism & BDS
If You Yove Israel, Don't Boycott It
We love Israel. We love it more than we love other nations. That's why we must do all we can to destroy its economy. That is the message of the bizarre Oct. 25 Sunday Opinion column by professors Steven Levitsky and Glen Weyl. What's missing here? Two things: history and Palestinians.

Photo credit: Monica Almeida/The New York Times

Jewish Students Deserve a Break From BDS

Now that students have returned to hundreds of campuses across North America, it's a good time to pause and take stock of Jewish life on campus and set our goals for the coming year.
Pope: Denying Israel's Right to Exist is Anti-Semitism
Pope Francis marked the 50th anniversary of the turning point in the Catholic Church's relations with Jews on Wednesday with a sharp condemnation of anti-Semitism, saying attacks on Israel's right to exist were a form of hatred.
Reproductive Rights
Vote to Defund Planed Parenthood Around the Corner
The Senate will likely take up a package to repeal key parts of Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood sometime in November, the chamber's second-ranking Republican said Wednesday.
A Peak at How The Supreme Court Views Birth Control
More than a year of drama and uncertainty over whether the Supreme Court will erect new limits to women's access to birth control is about to enter its final chapter. When that chapter begins, the Court will send a signal that could telegraph how they will ultimately decide how much power bosses have to limit their employee's access to birth control.
Rape Exceptions are the GOP's New Litmus Test
Several Republican presidential candidates oppose abortion in all circumstances. That's terrifying.
Timeing of Planned Parenthood raids is suspect
Texas is gearing up for a full-fledged witch hunt. The target is women's health provider Planned Parenthood, and it is clear that lawmakers and state officials will not stop until the 94-year-old nonprofit is completely dismantled in Texas.
Clergy Hoping to Shatter Religion & Abortion Rights Divide
"The Religious Right tries to say it owns these issues, but the majority of religious Americans support sexual health," said Rev. Debra W. Haffner, President of the Religious Institute. "It's time to change the conversation."
Separation of Religion & State
Justice Kennedy Suggests That Kim Davis Should Resign
Justice Anthony Kennedy, a member of the Supreme Court's conservative bloc who nevertheless has authored several important gay rights opinions, suggested during an event at Harvard Law School last Thursday that public officials who do not wish to follow the Court's marriage equality decision should resign.
Religious Right Group Plans 'Religious Liberty' Ratings For Companies
It's called the Corporate Religious Liberty Index (CRLI), and it will be compiled based on a short questionnaire (just seven questions) that "seeks to gauge the importance of religious liberty for the nation's major companies." The index, the AFA reports, is being compiled "in direct response to the growing threats against religious liberty in the U.S."

Church, State, and the Supreme Court's Moment of Truth
It seems to me that the Roberts Court, having worked assiduously over the last 10 years to elevate the First Amendment's Free Exercise Clause at the expense of its First Amendment twin, the Establishment Clause, is now approaching a moment of truth.
Beyond the Core

 Hillary Clinton's new ad: "I will not be silenced on gun control." 

Mayors to Congress: 'Get a Backbone' and Pass Gun Control
The mayors of America's cities are deeply concerned about rising crime and homicide rates-and deeply frustrated with the Congress' continued inaction on gun control amid a spate of mass shootings.
Obama Just Made the Case to Overhaul U.S'  Gun Laws
A day after police chiefs from around the United States called for universal background checks to be required in order to purchase firearms, President Barack Obama weighed in on the issue of gun control in an address to top law enforcement officers in his adopted hometown of Chicago, which has been plagued by gun violence in recent years.
GOP Maybe Moving the Furthest to the Right on Gun Issue
Breaking down polls by party affiliation shows how GOPers' increasingly conservative views on gun laws drive the national split on a critical question.
Judicial Elections Erode Diversity on the Bench
A new report shows that minority candidates have a harder time holding onto judicial seats than white justices.
Voter Registration in a Digital Age: 2015 Update
America's voter registration system needs improvement. In 2008, nearly 3 million registered voters could not vote because of problems related to their voter registration record. A study only of in-person voters from the 2012 election similarly found that millions of voters experienced registration problems at the polls. These problems stem from our country's outdated system of registering citizens and updating the voting lists.
Political Byte
Koch Brothers Frustrated by GOP, Rise of Trump
Billionaire businessman Charles Koch said he and his brother David plan to wait until year's end to figure out how they'll spend $750 million designated for influencing the 2016 presidential race. The hesitation, he suggested in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, is the result of their frustration with the field of candidates.
The most conservative Speaker ever?
"Various statistical measures of Mr. Ryan peg him as being quite conservative," Nate Silver wrote in 2012. "Based on his Congressional voting record, for instance, the statistical system DW-Nominate evaluates him as being roughly as conservative as Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota." That wasn't a typo.
Steven Colbert Challenge to Donal Trump
Steven Colbert $1 Million Challenge
 to Donald Trump

The 6 Moments That Mattered in the 3rd GOP Debate
At times it seemed the night was defined not by the candidates' attacks on each other, but on the moderators who lobbed challenging and, at times, contentious questions at them. Here's a look at the six moments that mattered at the third Republican presidential debate:
Ben Carson is a Seventh-day Adventist. Here's why it matters.
So far, Carson's faith - which, like Judaism, celebrates the Sabbath on Saturday and abjures eating the non-kosher animals listed in the Book of Leviticus - hasn't been an impediment to his campaign. More relevant politically, Carson frequently cites his faith as the reason for his policy positions. On taxation, for example, Carson has proposed a tithing system.
Jewish and Arab Doctors Come Together for Healing
This isn't really a good-news story. This is a sad story about a special place where Jews and Arabs come together to heal the broken bodies of victims and their attackers, some of them children. The staff call them "Bert and Ernie" or "Fried and Eid."
How a Holocaust legacy helped launch Kind bars
Kind Snacks founder Daniel Lubetzky is inspired by his Dachau-survivor father's harrowing trials to be a socially responsible mentsch

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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.