December 31, 2015
Without YOU
who will stand up for Israel, choice and separation of religion and state in 2016?


End the year right. Donate. 

January 4
Cocktails & Conversation
with Charlie Cook of the Cook Report
5-6:30 pm
West Palm Beach, FL
RSVP button  
January 12
Talking Points Deerfield
A Jewish Discussion on the Issues of Today
Deerfield, IL 

For more information and to RSVP, contact the JAC office at 847-433-5999 or info@jacpac.org 
Want to host a JAC event? Contact the JAC office for speakers, ideas, and assistance.
2015 - A Year in Pictures

Talking Points Palm Beach
(l to r: Barbara Koch, Joyce Fentin, Janna Berk,
Merle Styer, Speaker Mona Reis, Carol Feldman,
Karyn Lutz, Jane Kornblutt)

Swearing-In of Ambassador David Saperstein, Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom
(l to r: Linda Rae Sher, David Saperstein, Marcia Balonick, Carole Boron)

Power of Women Luncheon - Chicago

Rep. Ted Lieu (CA-33) at Talking Points Los Angeles

Debbie Gitchell with Monica Vernon, Congressional candidate for IA-1, in Iowa 

Presenting House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi with  
JAC's Stop Gun Violence Shirt
(l to r: Dana Gordon, Nancy Pelosi, Marcia Balonick) 

Coffee & Conversation with
Rep. Ted Deutch (FL-21) in Philadelphia  
(l to r: Jill Zipin, Ted Deutch, Shira Goodman) 

With Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) on Martha's Vineyard 
(l to r: Lee Wolf, Brian Schatz, Betsy Sheerr) 
This is JAC 2015
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Israel & the Middle East
THIS YEAR, the Jewish community's attention was focused on the JCPOA - the international deal to address Iran's nuclear program. The deal was a pivotal moment within the Jewish American  community. Throughout the entire process, JAC remained committed to maintaining a strong U.S.-Israel relationship even as each of us passionately debated the deal. Now with Congressional approval, it is critical that we once again unite behind bipartisan support for Israel as move forward.

The U.S. underscored it's commitment to Israel's security when it promised that Israel would be the the exclusive regional recipient of the F-35, America's premier stealth strike fighter.

In another historic moment, President Obama became the first U.S. President to attend a synagogue service. During his remarks he said: "(Our) shared values compel us to reaffirm that our enduring friendship with the people of Israel and our unbreakable bonds with the state of Israel -- that those bonds, that friendship cannot be broken. "

Additional Israel stories from 2015: 
Anti-Semitism & BDS
The BDS movement made inroads this year on more college campuses including Northwestern, UC-Berkley, Stanford and Loyola. The January attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine and the kosher grocery store Hyper Cacher, and the more recent cafe and theater attacks in Paris, France underscored the vulnerability of European Jews. The House launched an bipartisan task force on anti-Semitism to educate Congress about anti-Semitism, which its members referred to as the "21st century face of this age-old bigotry." Additionally, Congress along with several state legislatures passed anti-BDS legislation this year.

Additional BDS and Anti-Semitism stories from 2015:
Reproductive Rights
We began 2015 with a new Congress whose first order of business was introducing abortion ban bills.  Unfortunately, that was just the start. The anti-choice Congress was relentless in their attack on women from contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act to even reducing research for breast cancer. This year alone, federal and state lawmakers introduced more than 400 anti-choice bills. Although only 47 laws were passed, the extremists have used the introduction of these bills as a tool to repetitively hammer false ideas about abortion into the public sphere.

The GOP threatened to close the government if funding for Planned Parenthood, which provides cancer screenings and health care to thousands of women, was not eliminated in the budget. After a contentious fight on Capitol Hill Planned Parenthood funding remained intact -- at least for now. Most likely the issue will come up again in 2016 along with further attempts to restrict women's access to reproductive health care.

JAC was honored for it's steadfast commitment to fighting for women's reproductive rights by Illinois' Personal PAC at their annual luncheon.
Additional Reproductive Rights stories from 2015: 
Separation of Religion & State
President Obama reminded the country about the importance of balancing free speech with religious respect. "...To infringe on one right under the pretext of protecting another is a betrayal of both."

But this year state governors, school districts and presidential candidates attempted to blur the separation between religion and state, potentially jeopardizing the core American value of religious freedom.

Indiana's Gov. Mike Pence signed into law a bill which grants freedom of religion to businesses. This could open the door for business to use that right to discriminate against gays and other individuals.

In a landmark case, the Supreme Court upheld the legality of same sex marriage. However, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, used the religious freedom argument to deny issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. The Supreme Court refused to allow Davis to deny marriage licenses.

Religion continues to be a central part of the GOP presidential campaign as candidates try to appeal to their party's religious base.  "It's time for us to bring God back to our country," said Ben Carson. "I believe 2016 is going to be a religious liberty election," said Sen. Ted Cruz (TX-R).

Additional Separation stories from 2015:
Beyond the Core
Nearly 200 countries gathered in Paris for two weeks of talks at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference. President Obama said at the conference's conclusion: "The Paris agreement establishes the enduring framework the world needs to solve the climate crisis It creates the mechanism, the architecture, for us to continually tackle this problem in an effective way."

Republicans made approving the Keystone XL pipeline one of their top priorities when they took control of Congress in January. However they were unable to override the President's veto. In December, the President denied a permit to extend the Keystone XL pipeline.  Secretary of State John Kerry said the controversial project is "not in the country's national security interest".

For the first time, deaths from gun violence exceeds deaths from car accidents; there are more guns than people in the U.S., and there is a mass shooting nearly every day. Yet Congress still refuses to pass common sense gun legislation. From 2004 to 2014, over 2,000 people on the terrorist watchlist legally purchased guns in the United States. The "Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2015" would prevent several hundred gun purchases by suspected terrorists each year. But once again, Congress said no.

The President is not waiting for Congress to act. He is exploring using executive action to "save lives and to do everything ... to keep guns out of the wrong hands."  Obama is looking to expand and strengthen background checks at gun shows and on-line purchases.  

August marked the 50th anniversary of The Voting Rights Act. However many people still find it difficult to vote. Rep. John Lewis (GA-5) introduced the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015, saying we must "make it easier, make it simple, for all of our people to participate in a democratic process....We cannot have the long lines, we cannot have the ID's, we've got to do it."

"The Supreme Court will loom large in the 2016 election." With aging Justices and potential retirements, the next President will most likely need to make several appointments. Will women and family rights be protected or will the Court be a more extreme version of the uber-conservative Roberts Court? Supreme Court Justices, nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate, serve for life. Therefore the Senate make-up in 2016 becomes even more critical. Elections matter.

Additional Beyond the Core stories from 2015:
Political Byte
The 114th Congress is considered the most diverse in American history. However, four out of five members of Congress are white and four out of five are men. Women have been serving in the Senate for more than 80 years, but  often subtle sexism still exists--a secret that many are reluctant to admit.

Congress agreed to a $1.1 trillion spending bill in the final moments of the 2015 session. Both Democrats and Republicans won a few items and lost a few. According to the agreement, D.C. can not legalize recreational marijuana and sledding will now be allowed on the West Front of Capitol.

The Affordable Care Act turned five this year. Since then, and despite at least 50 attempts by Republicans to repeal the law and more than 100 court challenges to the Act's contraceptive mandate, Obamacare has improved the lives of women.

Speaker of the House John Boehner resigned; Rep. Paul Ryan (WI-1) was sworn as the new Speaker;  JAC friends Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) decided to retire in 2016, and the Democrat's newest Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) was named the loneliest member of the Senate

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!



Marcia Balonick, Executive Director
Joy Malkus, Research Director

Dana Gordon, Membership & Outreach

Hollis Wein, Communications Director 

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Joint Action Committee for Political Affairs (JACPAC) is a pro-Israel PAC with a domestic agenda. We support a strong U.S.-Israel relationship and advocate for reproductive health and the separation of religion and state and incorporate other issues of importance to the Jewish community, including gun violence prevention and climate change. In addition to providing financial support for U.S. Senate and House campaigns, JACPAC educates our membership with outreach events designed to inform and activate their participation in the political process.