January 12, 2017
JAC members in Washington, DC at the 2017 JAC Annual Conference.
(l to r: Stacy Rudd, Roz Blanck, Judith Bloom, Susan Berk, Jackie Cohen, Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), Susan Insoft, Gail Mayer, Nancy Eisenberg, Amy Small)
Week In Review Commentary
Last May, I was lucky enough to join JAC at their annual Washington D.C. meeting.  At that time, I was frustrated, dismayed and dejected following the 2016 election.  However, those days changed my life and renewed my passion.

We arrived in DC and after a briefing by JAC staff and policy experts we immediately headed to the Hill to begin our advocacy work. I met with dozens of Members of Congress whose commitment and dedication to public service, despite the political climate, reassured me hope was not lost.

Members were happy to meet with the JAC women to hear our concerns and discuss the U.S.-Israel relationship, reproductive freedom and the separation between religion and state.

The schedule for the Washington trip is packed. In the morning, we would have a breakfast meeting where members of Congress would join us in a casual setting to discuss any issue of our choosing. Then it was up to the Hill for our small group meetings with Members of Congress.

I was fortunate enough to sit down and meet with Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to name a few.  During lunch, we were joined by Sens. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

One of the highlights of the Washington trip was getting to know the JAC members from across the country. I loved meeting the women who have been fighting for JAC's issues since the beginning. Their passion and dedication was contagious and made me even more motivated to stay active in JAC.  

The midterm elections are coming.The momentum is shifting. Change is on the horizon and you can witness that change firsthand this March in Washington with JAC.

If you are looking for a way to get more involved, learn about the issues, meet our amazing Democratic leaders in Congress, and make some amazing new friends, I urge you to come with JAC for an unforgettable three days in Washington, DC during JAC's annual meeting Tuesday, March 13th - Wednesday, March 14th.

There will be a pre-conference VIP tour of the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African American History and Culture on Monday, March 12th.

I can't wait to go back to Washington with JAC. I hope you'll join me and other JAC women for this unique experience. See you in Washington, DC.

Amy Small
JAC Member, Illinois
Take Action
Call your Representative to OPPOSE H.R. 4712
"To prohibit a health care practitioner from failing to exercise the proper degree of care in the case of a child who survives an abortion or attempted abortion."
The House will vote next week on a bill that adds criminal penalties for doctors to a law already in existence. The "Born Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002" requires any infant that 'survives an abortion' be provided emergency medical care. HR 4712 adds criminal penalties for doctors who fail to provide those services.
    This is an unnecessary bill and paves the way for more criminal penalties to be added to doctors who treat the reproductive health of women.
    After you call, tweet! #ProtectWomensHealth #ReproRights
Trump Waives Iran Sanctions for What Administration Says Is Last Time
President Trump will again waive sanctions against Iran that were lifted as part of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal, the White House said. But the Trump administration is imposing new, nonnuclear sanctions in response to Iran's ballistic missile activity and its crackdown on anti-government protestors. In a background briefing with reporters, senior administration officials also warned that this will be the last such waiver, calling for a follow-on deal with Europeans and a legislative fix from Congress. 
In Palestinian Territories - and in Israel - Jitters Over Trump's Threat to Cut Aid to Palestinians

Palestinian leaders accused the Trump administration of "blackmail" after suggestions they might freeze U.S. aid if they don't resume peace talks with Israel. The threats raised alarm among Israelis who have been some of fiercest critics of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. Members of the Israeli defense establishment warned that any sudden loss of aid to Palestinians could undermine Palestinian leaders who cooperate with Israel on security matters.    
Trump Caused Violence in Israel, West Bank to Spike With Jerusalem Embassy Move

The number of attacks in Israel and the West Bank has tripled since President Trump's announcement to relocate the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, according to new figures. Israel's Shin Bet, the country's domestic security agency, said that there were 249 attacks in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza during December. This number was compared to 84 attacks in November and 71 in October.  
Continued Reading

Fire Ravages Two Paris-Area Kosher Shops on Anniversary of Hyper Cacher Terror Attack
Two kosher shops were damaged in a fire near Paris on the third anniversary of the slaying of four Jews.  On Jan. 9, 2015, an Islamist killed four Jews in the Porte de Vincennes branch of Hyper Cacher market in eastern Paris.    
Delta Employees Detail a Pattern of Anti-Semitic Abuse at Airline
Several Delta employees have come forward to describe their experiences with anti-semitism at the airline. Nahum Amir has filed a lawsuit against Delta, claiming that his manager violated the Civil Rights Act by making frequent derogatory comments towards Amir. Other flight attendants have filed suit against Delta for firing them after they shared their travel benefits with Jews and Israelis. The lawsuit claims that Delta employees derided Jews for praying in-flight and requesting kosher food.   
House Votes Next Week on Abortion Bill
The House will vote next week on a bill imposing criminal penalties on doctors who don't administer proper medical care to infants who survive abortions. Under the bill, sponsored by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), any doctor who fails to provide appropriate care to an infant who survives abortion can be sentenced to up to five years in prison.  
An Abortion Freedom of Speech Battle Heads to the Supreme Court

Whether you're for abortion or against, can the state force you to say anything about it? What about posting a notice with information for the other side?  The Reproductive FACT Act requires faith-based "crisis pregnancy centers" that don't offer abortions to post notices about state family planning & pregnancy-related services. These centers say the FACT Act forces them to convey information that they don't want to share violating First Amendment right to refrain from speaking.     
Secret Pro-Life Meeting With Mike Pence Killed Obamacare Fix-For Now

A bipartisan effort to stabilize the U.S. health-insurance markets collapsed after anti-abortion groups appealed directly to Pence.   Pro-life activists met to lobby against supporting a health-insurance market-stabilization bill because it doesn't contain sufficient language on abortion restrictions. 
Continued Reading

Supreme Court Won't Hear Challenge to Mississippi Anti-LGBT 'Religious Freedom' Law

The Supreme Court ended the first legal challenge to a Republican-backed Mississippi law that permits businesses and government employees to refuse to serve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people because of their religious beliefs. The justices left in place a June ruling by 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals that the plaintiffs - same-sex couples, civil rights advocates including the head of the state NAACP chapter, a church and others - did not have legal standing to bring the lawsuit. People who are refused service once the law is in place may be more likely to be judged to have legal standing to sue.  
Trump-Backing 'Apostle' Joins 'Intimate' Dinner with Mike Pence

Former Trump campaign adviser Frank Amedia, founder of the POTUS Shield network of dominionist "apostles" and "prophets" who believe President Trump was anointed by God, reported in a January 5 email that he and his wife had attended "a very small and intimate dinner meeting with Vice President Pence and his wife Karen" the previous evening. Pence, who was a top Religious Right pick for the presidency as far back as 2010, is now a conduit into the White House for Religious Right leaders and views.     
The First Estimate of 2017 Gun Deaths Is In

At least 15,549 people were killed by guns in the United States in 2017, excluding most suicides, according to data collected by Gun Violence Archive (GVA), a nonprofit organization that tracks media and law enforcement reports of shootings. The number, which marks a 3 percent increase over the previous year, offers an early indication that the recent rise in gun deaths recorded by federal agencies is continuing.    
Supreme Court Struggles with Ohio Voter Roll Case

The Supreme Court struggled with a dispute in a voting rights case concerning whether Ohio's method of removing names from its rolls violates federal law. Voting rights groups have charged it is a veiled attempt at voter suppression. At oral arguments, several of the justices seemed to side with an attorney for the battleground state who argued the system is necessary to ensure the accuracy of voter rolls.    
How Much Has 'Climate Change' Been Scrubbed from Federal Websites? A Lot.

Nearly a year into the Trump administration, mentions of climate change have been systematically removed, altered or played down on websites across the federal government, according to a recent report. The authors of the study said that the removal of the words "climate change" from government websites, and a widespread effort to delete or bury information on climate change programs, would quite likely have a detrimental impact.
Continued Reading

Opinion: 2018 Could Be Oddly Productive

Who says Congress can't get things done during an election year?  Our democracy exists in a constant election cycle. New members of Congress hold fundraisers before taking office, and our digital society ensures that every vote, utterance and facial expression becomes campaign fodder. 
Rep. Darrell Issa to Retire, Handing Democrats Another Big Pick-Up Opportunity in California
Issa, best-known as a conservative attack dog, is bowing out of what would have been one of the nation's most hotly contested congressional races.  Issa's decision not to run for re-election comes the same week that Rep. Ed Royce, the powerful chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and another California Republican whose district includes parts of Orange County, announced his retirement.     
The Nightmare Scenario Facing Millions of Children in This Country
Republicans denying the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) funding isn't politics, it's life or death.  CHIP,  a federally funded health insurance program, provides health insurance coverage to almost 9 million children whose families make too much money for Medicaid, but not enough to afford private insurance   It costs the government about $14.5 billion a year to pay for CHIP, but funding expired on September 30, 2017, and has yet to be re-approved.
Continued Reading

What You Need to Know About the 2018 Women's March    

On January 21, 2017, over 4 million people in the United States marched in what became likely the largest single-day protest in American history. Women, men and children gathered to stand for equality, justice and tolerance - and this year, it's happening all over again. Here's what you need to know about the 2018 Women's March:
Are We Living Up to MLK's and Heschel's Moral Charges?   

Hillel, taught: "If I am not for myself who will be for me?" He responded, "but if I am only for myself what am I?" As Martin Luther King Day approaches, it is behooving for us to revisit his legacy. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, a Holocaust refugee and close colleague of Dr. King, saw the plight of African Americans in the U.S, as a burning bush of our time. "A person," Heschel wrote, "cannot be religious and indifferent to other human being's plight and suffering." The sages of the Talmud teach that the character of a leader is determined by its generation. Remaining silent is an admission of acquiescence. Heschel wrote, "In a free society, some are guilty, but all are responsible."
Continued Reading

The Last Word

"It's not how a president should speak. It's not how a president should behave. Most of all, it's not what a president should believe. We're better than this."

Former Vice President Joe Biden
JAC 2018 Annual Meeting
Washington, D.C.
Tuesday, March 13th - Wednesday, March 14th, 2018
Special Pre-Conference VIP Tour
Monday, March 12th, 2018
Smithsonian Institution
National Museum of African American History and Culture

 Lunch with  
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) 
Friday, January 19th
12:00 pm 
Chicago, IL
Call the JAC office for details and to RSVP
Join JAC in Chicago at the  
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.