January 26, 2018
JAC members around the country Marched to the Polls.
Los Angeles

Week In Review Commentary
Tomorrow marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which coincides with the 73rd anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. By the time the allied troops marched into the death camp, more than 1 million people were killed.

Today there are Holocaust museums and memorials across the world. Most schools incorporate educational units about the Holocaust. The atrocities perpetuated by the Nazis are no longer a secret. Much has been written about the lessons learned from the Holocaust. However, anti-Semitism is a growing threat to communities across the country and world, fueled by the rise in right wing extremism.

The ADL has reported a 67 percent rise in anti-Semitic incidents since 2016.

The President issued a statement today commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day. Unlike last year, he did mention the Jewish people murdered by the Nazis. Yet, he has done nothing to fight anti-Semitism. The U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism position, a congressionally mandated position, remains vacant. He wants it eliminated.

Trump's rhetoric when talking about minorities and immigrants has emboldened the Alt-Right, which thrives on hatred. After the white supremacists marched through Charlottesville, he called them "very fine people." The Trump administration uses the offensive term "chain migration." Such a claim is almost identical to the racial logic used by the Nazis against Jews and others who  were not suitable for Hitler's white Aryan nation.

When the Third Reich began to normalize discrimination based on religion, the Holocaust was able to thrive. Last week Trump announced the formation of the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division of the HHS civil rights office. The office's purpose is to protect health care providers who refuse to provide services based on their religious beliefs. This opens the door for widespread discrimination according to religion in other areas, as well.

It is not enough to just remember victims each year on this day. It is more important than ever to recommit ourselves to the values and policies that will guarantee that this never happens again. We need to elect public officials at all levels of government that will work to end discrimination and build tolerance.

What can you do?
Use your voice. Call your Members of Congress. Urge them to fight anti-Semitism.
Come with JAC to Washington DC for our annual meeting.
Register to vote -- and vote.
Support JAC candidates.
Join JAC.

Elections have consequences.

Source: Salon , Politico

Take Action
Tell your Senators to
Senate GOP leadership is planning to vote on a nationwide 20-week abortion ban next week.
The House already passed the ban.
If the Senate passes this unconstitutional bill, women across the country could no longer obtain abortions after the 20th week.
 Call Your Senators today and tell them to vote NO.  
  • Remind them that 7 in 10 Americans support a woman's right to choose.
  • SCOTUS ruled "...states cannot put the interests of a fetus ahead of the interests of the pregnant woman until the fetus is 'viable.'"* This is usually considered to be the 22nd-23rd week at the earliest.
  • Many tests regarding fetal anomalies cannot be performed until the 22nd week.
After you call, tweet! #7in10ForRoe  
* Source: Slate, Roll Call 
Trump Threatens to Pull Aid to Palestinians If They Don't Pursue Peace
U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to withhold aid to the Palestinians if they did not pursue peace with Israel, saying they had snubbed the United States by not meeting Vice President Mike Pence during a recent visit. Trump, speaking after a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the World Economic Forum, said he wanted peace. However, his remarks could further frustrate the aim of reviving long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian talks. 
Kerry to Abbas Confidante: 'Stay Strong and Do Not Give in to Trump'

Although there has been a complete disconnect between the Palestinian Authority and the Trump administration,  John Kerry met with Hussein Agha, close associate of PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Kerry told Agha  "Maybe it is time for the Palestinians to define their peace principles and present a positive plan."  
Under Trump, More Than Third of Palestinians Now Want Armed Struggle with Israel

The number of Palestinians who support a renewed round of violence against Israel has almost doubled since President Donald Trump's decision to order the relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. A new poll shows that the decision has not only alienated Palestinian political leaders, but the Palestinian street. Increasing hopelessness for a resolution appears to have manifested itself in higher support for violence against Israel. 
Continued Reading

Descending on a Montana Town, Neo-Nazi Trolls Test Where Free Speech Ends
A year after Jews received threats in the pristine mountain resort of Whitefish - long a haven for white supremacists and militias - a court case is expected to test a state anti-intimidation statute and the limits of free expression.
Anti-Semitism Is Still Alive in Germany 70 Years After the Holocaust
German lawmakers established a high-level commissioner post to fight discrimination against the Jewish community. The issue was catapulted when, in protest against U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, demonstrators, some waving Palestinian flags, burned Israel's flag beneath Berlin's Brandenburg Gate and in migrant-rich neighborhoods. 
The 20-Week Abortion Ban Senate Vote Could Happen Sooner Than You Think
The Republican Party, fresh off the passage of a major tax cut for the corporate and upper classes, is now turning to another one of its signature, controversial issues: Its opposition to reproductive choice. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the GOP Senate wants a national 20-week abortion ban, and it's hoping to get it to the floor for a procedural vote at the start of next week.
Republicans' Forced Waiting Period Laws Could Proliferate 

GOP lawmakers are ready to unleash medically unnecessary proposals to force people to wait days before they receive abortion care. Waiting periods are arbitrary restrictions that are medically unnecessary, create financial barriers, and constitute an undue burden. A Florida judge permanently blocked a state law, saying -  "A law that forces a patient to delay medical care to the detriment of her health cannot be the least restrictive means of furthering any compelling state interest."  
In One Year, Trump Dismantled Reproductive Rights Around the World

Women's health clinics from Iowa to Kenya have been forced to close their doors. International nonprofits have lost the ability to provide birth control, HIV testing and fistula surgeries in the poorest communities around the world. Half a million U.S. teenagers no longer have access to sex education programs. Trump reinstated and massively expanded the Global Gag Rule, restricting $8.8 billion in U.S. foreign aid funding for international health programs that provide or even mention abortion. 
Continued Reading

What Happened When a Public School Student Sued over Prayer

Kaylee Cole,17, doesn't believe prayer is how her day should start at public school in Webster Parish, Louisiana.  She and her mother filed a lawsuit claiming prayer is the beginning of an unconstitutional indoctrination of students promoted by teachers,  principal, superintendent and school board. All school events, such as sports, pep rallies, assemblies, and graduation include school-sponsored Christian prayer, religious messages and/or proselytizing. According to the Coles, "anybody can pray any time they want, wherever they want. They're just not allowed to have a captive audience to do it."
Mike Pence's Faith Drives His Support for Israel. Does It Drive Mideast Policy?

Pence is a key figure when it comes to Israel policy and reportedly helped nudge Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Pence's visit to Israel led some to ask to what degree are his views - and the administration's policies - shaped by the brand of evangelical Christianity that invests his faith? 
Fifth Circuit Upholds Law Restricting Out-Of-State Handgun Sales

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit rejected a gun rights group's attempt to overturn laws prohibiting federally licensed dealers from selling handguns to out-of-state residents. Judge Priscilla Owen wrote it is unrealistic to expect the nation's 123,000 licensed dealers to know the handgun laws of all 50 states before making out-of-state sales. 
Another School Shooting: Are We Numb to It?

The shooting of more than a dozen students at a Kentucky high school might have been expected to shock the nation, but Americans seem numbed by the frequency of school shootings. School safety advocates say the shock factor has disappeared, making them feel like common, everyday events. Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action said, "We have to care every time a gun goes off on school grounds, no matter what the reason is...because we are the only developed nation where this happened." 
How the GOP Rigs Elections

The gerrymandering in Wisconsin, the most extreme in U.S. history, is part of Republicans' stealth plan to stay in office. Since Gov. Scott Walker took power, they've introduced some of the country's harshest voting restrictions, passing laws that make it harder for Democratic leaning constituencies to register to vote and cast ballots. The state has become the "Wild West of dark money."   
Continued Reading

The Real Cause of the Last Government Shutdown-and the Next One 

Why was there an endgame that led to the brief shutdown? True, the status of nearly 700,000 recipients of DACA needed to be resolved before the March 5 deadline.  But the fundamental answer is the Republicans in charge of all three governing entities could not manage to enact into law a single one of the dozen spending bills that make up the discretionary part of the government for a fiscal year that begun over 3 months ago. 
Biden Confirms Reports McConnell Blocked Obama from Warning Americans About Russian Election Interference

Mitch McConnell rejected the Obama administration's efforts to warn the public about Russian interference in the presidential campaign. Biden said Obama "would sit there literally after each press briefing and say, 'What the hell are we going to do?"
How Big Were the 2018 Women's Marches? The Numbers Are Massive 
Over 1.5 million people participated in 486 marches and rallies. Events were about converting energy into electoral wins. The political push seems to be capturing a trend; there is a record number of women running for office, including women of color who have been traditionally underrepresented in leadership roles. 
What Mitch McConnell Actually Promised on DACA
Senate Democrats agreed to reopen the federal government this week because they had reached an understanding with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on how to move forward with an immigration debate. The McConnell pledge sets the contours for the next two weeks of negotiations, leading up to the next deadline, on February 8, when the government will once again need a spending bill to pass Congress. This is what the Republican leader actually promised.
Continued Reading

Oscar Nominations 2018: 5 Jewish Takeaways

If one thing jumps out about the nominations for the 90th annual Academy Awards, it's the lack of big Jewish headlines to be plucked from them.  Here are the Jewish nominations and storylines.
What Maternity Leave Looks Like When You're a Sitting Senator

On Tuesday Senator Tammy Duckworth announced that she's pregnant, a statement that wouldn't be particularly newsworthy if it didn't have historic significance: She'll be the first-ever United States senator to give birth while in office. Duckworth also plans to take maternity leave, which raises the question: What does that actually look like for an active-and crucial-politician whose votes matter?
Continued Reading

The Last Word

"I spent my entire adult life looking out for the well-being, the training, the equipping of the troops for whom I was responsible. Sadly, this is something that the current occupant of the Oval Office does not seem to care to do - and I will not be lectured about what our military needs by a five-deferment draft dodger."

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)

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
Talking Points
Featuring Jill Wine-Banks
MSNBC Contributor and Legal Analyst 
Topic:  Russian interference in the 2016 election, the Mueller investigation and other subjects
Wednesday, February 28th
Highland Park, IL
for details, contact the JAC office at 847.433.5999 
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.