April 6, 2018
Chicago JAC II, a JAC group for young professionals, met with Jane Raybould - Senate candidate for Nebraska.
From l to r: Richard Sheerr, Senator Jack Reed (D-RI)  Betsy Sheerr. 
JAC's Hollis Wein met with Betsy Dirksen Londrigen, candidate for IL-13.
Wednesday marked the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.s death on April 4, 1968. King raised the consciousness of a nation embroiled in the ugliness of segregation and racial hatred.

While he was only 39 when he was gunned down, he did see the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. These bills were seen as major accomplishments for the civil rights movement. Unfortunately, today we still grapple with the same issues those Acts were meant to address.

Racial and religious hatred still persist. There were a record number of hate crimes reported following the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Hate crimes continue to increase in 2017, according to the FBI. White supremacist groups are now recruiting on college campuses trying to further stir racial hatred.

Voter suppression still keeps many from the voting booth. In the 2016 election, 14 states adopted laws barring people from voting. Those restrictions included cutting back early voting, limiting voter registration, and imposing strict voter ID requirements. The election outcome might have been drastically different if everyone who wanted to vote was allowed to do so.

Recently Donald Trump announced that he wants a citizenship question added to the 2020 census. This type of question, which is unconstitutional, would limit response rates in already underrepresented communities, thereby allowing politicians to draw even more skewed and unfair legislative districts. Many see this as another form of voter suppression.

King, along with hundreds, marched from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. They faced violence and bloodshed but endured for the right to vote. Women suffragists also faced turmoil when they fought for their right to vote. Yet, the U.S. voter turnout levels are lower than most other developed democracies.

We will never realize the type of country Martin Luther King Jr. envisioned without voting. This is our only tool for change. As he said, "Voting is the foundation stone for political action."

Every vote counts and elections matter.

What Can You Do?
  • Register to vote and make sure everyone you know is registered to vote
  • Become a deputy voter registrar
  • Donate to JAC; we help elect candidates that will fight for civil rights and voting rights everyone.
Time for CONGRESS to Get Back to Work

Time to get back on the phone and call your Senators & Representatives. Tell them it is time to address:

Federal Court Nominees
Common Sense Gun Reform
Fill the Special Envoy State Department Seat on Anti-Semitism

Find your Senators & Representatives here.
How Mahmoud Abbas Fans the Flames in Gaza
While Hamas's long-term goal remains, as always, the destruction of Israel, the organization's ongoing conflict with Mahmoud Abbas is the factor most likely to lead to an escalation in violence in Gaza. Thus, Hamas's massive border protest on Friday was not about Israel's restrictions on imports into the Gaza Strip, or Egypt's sealing of its border with the territory, and certainly not about Gazans' putative desire to return to the homes abandoned by their ancestors, but about breaking the stalemate with the Palestinian Authority brought about by Hamas's refusal to pay its electricity bills. Nor is Hamas the only party to blame.
U.S. Jewish Groups Urge Netanyahu Not to Deport African Migrants
A coalition of American Jewish groups has called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to uphold a deal reached with the UN to resettle some 40,000 African migrants and not deport them to unnamed African countries. "We share a deep hope that Israel, as a nation founded and settled by refugees, will protect victims of persecution who have fled their countries seeking safety," said the letter signed by 11 Jewish groups including the Anti-Defamation League.
Saudi Prince Says Israelis Have Right to 'Their Own Land'   

Saudi Arabia's powerful crown prince has said that Israelis "have the right to have their own land" and that formal relations between Israel and the kingdom could be mutually beneficial.  
Anti-Semitism Is Rising, but Trump Won't Fill a State Department Job to Fight It
A State Department position designed specifically to focus on anti-Semitism has remained empty since President Donald Trump took office. Jewish leaders have repeatedly urged the White House to fill the post, and this week they renewed their push. Past special envoys have provided input on anti-Semitism for State Department reports on human rights and religious freedom. 
Trump's Most Influential White Nationalist Troll Is a Middlebury Grad Who Lives in Manhattan
Who is Ricky Vaughn? That was one of the big questions for anyone following far-right politics during the 2016 presidential election. The Twitter troll was everywhere on social media, an indefatigable circulator of edgy memes and rah-rah Donald Trump boosterism. And anti-Semitism and white nationalism.
Dr. Willie Parker: The South Is 'Ground Zero' in the Abortion-Access Fight
When Mississippi governor Phil Bryant signed into law a ban on almost all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, with no exceptions in cases of rape or incest, I thought "...I've practiced at Jackson Women's Health Organization-Mississippi's only abortion clinic-for years, and I am now worried for my patients."
Planned Parenthood Ceo Says Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump Offered 'Bribe' to Stop Abortions
In a riveting passage from Cecile Richards' new memoir, the Planned Parenthood chief says Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump were, during Donald Trump's 2016 transition as president-elect, so eager to be recognized as shrewd political dealmakers that the soon-to-be first daughter and her husband made an offer that felt like a "bribe": an increase in federal funding for Planned Parenthood in exchange for its agreement to stop providing abortions.    
Islam, Judaism Rooted in Separation from Politics

Citing Martin Luther King Jr. as a prime example of a religious figure who confronted his government, Rabbi Pill quoted the civil rights leader as saying, "The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state and never its tool."  
Right-Wing Media Look at Parkland Student Activists and See a Reason to Gut Public Education

Witnessing with horror a parade of articulate and smart teenagers speaking confidently about the role of intersectionality in the social movement they ignited, conservative leaders have seized on the explosion of activism launched by Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students to make the case that so-called government schools - or traditional public schools - are a fundamental threat to their vision of the country. David Hogg and Emma Gonz├ílez are all the evidence they need.   
How M.L.K.'s Death Helped Lead to Gun Control in the U.S.

The political calculus began to change on April 4, 1968. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was gunned down in Memphis. Nine weeks later, Senator Robert F. Kennedy was fatally shot in Los Angeles. Finally, gun control became a possibility - at least in the hands of President Lyndon B. Johnson, a master at turning tragedy into legislative gain.    
McConnell Points to 'the Most Consequential Decision' of His Career

Exactly one year ago this week, Senate Republicans changed the chamber's rules, executed the so-called "nuclear option" to prohibit filibusters of Supreme Court nominees, and confirmed Neil Gorsuch to the high court. McConnell did something few Americans in history can credibly claim: he stole a Supreme Court seat and got away with it.
Border Wall Would Kill Natural Treasures and Change the Environment

A monolithic wall to separate the U.S. and Mexico in the only places where biologists have found certain rare and endangered plants and animals means both direct habitat destruction and new barriers for already limited populations. When species become extinct locally or globally, it can lead to cascading environmental crises, ranging from soil erosion to flooding. 
Koch Network Growing Frustrated with the GOP's 2018 Agenda
Leaders of the conservative Koch political network are mad about President Trump's tariffs, the failure to protect "dreamers" and runaway government spending. They're frustrated congressional leaders do not feel a greater sense of urgency to pass more ambitious legislation during what could be the final six months of unified Republican control for a long time. And they're worried that squabbling might derail their efforts to roll back financial regulations, expand access to experimental medicines and overhaul the criminal justice system.
Sinclair's Remarkable Gaslighting Operation
"Bottom Line With Boris" - a commentary segment helmed by Boris Epshteyn, chief political analyst for the Sinclair Broadcast Group and its 173 local television stations across the country -  is proof that the Trump goal of delegitimizing the American press is better served by placing his lackeys in the press, rather than keeping them in some White House position.

Trump Effect Splits Senate and House GOP Candidates
President Trump is looming large over the midterm elections, and GOP candidates are scrambling to either maximize or minimize his impact, depending on their races. A major difference between Senate and House races is that Republicans are mostly playing offense in states that Trump won by big margins in hopes of expanding their Senate majority, while they are playing defense in more than 20 districts won by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in order to keep control of the lower chamber.  
New York Judge Awards Nazi-Looted Artworks to Holocaust Victim's Heirs in Key Test Case   

A New York judge on Thursday awarded title of two Nazi-looted drawings by noted Austrian painter Egon Schiele to a Holocaust victim's heirs in what art experts viewed as a key test case of a U.S. law designed to ease the recovery of such stolen works.   
Continued Reading

The Last Word
"In the past, apathy was a moral failure. Today, it is a form of moral and political suicide."

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
 JACII Meeting
Chicago, IL 
Wednesday, April 11
5:30 pm 

Join the inaugural meeting of Chicago's JACII Group for those 35 and younger.
Contact the JAC office for more information and to RSVP.
The 17th Annual 
Women's Power Lunch
  with Rep. Jan Schakowsky
Come sit at the JAC table!
Monday, April 23 
Chicago, IL 
Talking Points on Gun Violence with 
Mark Jones
Project Director
 the National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence

Thursday, May 3rd
9:30-11 am
Deerfield, IL
Details to Follow

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.
Federal law requires political committees to report the name, mailing address, occupation and employer for each individual who contributed to JACPAC. Maximum contribution per person may not exceed $5,000 per calendar year. According to law, JACPAC cannot accept corporate contributions. Membership, gifts, or other payments to JACPAC are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes.