June 16, 2017
JAC phone banks for Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff (GA-6). Election day is Tuesday, June 20. The race is very close - every vote counts.
(l to r back row: Marcia Balonick, Rabbi Debra Newman Kamin,
Hollis Wein, Diane Halivni, Lisa Imber, Lisa Bookstein,
Marcey Barichello, Jacki Parmacek
Front row: Nancy Eisenberg, Susan Isaacson, Karyn Lev, Maurine Baker)
Week In Review Commentary
This week Congress showed rare bipartisan support after the shooting in Alexandria, VA critically injured Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA). They also came together in 2011 after former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) was critically injured in a shooting. Ironically, at that time  Scalise paid tribute to Gifford, praising her "kindness and decency."

Despite Congressional shock at the shooting of one of their own in 2011, they failed to pass any significant common sense gun laws either in the immediate aftermath or since. If anything, the NRA has increased its hold on Congress, pushing Representatives to introduce even more bills to make it easier for dangerous individuals to obtain firearms.

The Sandy Hook school shooting, which killed 20 young children and six adults, saddened our nation. That tragedy spurred emotional speeches in Congress and promises to make our communities safer. But nothing happened. Since then, there have been at least 1,399 mass shootings, with at least 1,564 people killed and 5,515 wounded.

It remains to be seen if the shooting of Scalise will finally bring the Democrats and Republicans together to find common ground to end gun violence. Our children, our families, and the victims need us to do more than just hope things change. We need to take action. Congress may now be ready to listen. Call your Representative. Urge them to stand up for us and NOT the NRA. We deserve to go to school, work and parks without fear of gun violence.  

Source: Gun Violence Archive
Take Action
Call these Senators

Susan Collins (R-ME) 202-224-2523
Dean Heller (R-NV) 202-224-6244
Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) 202-224-6665
Rob Portman (R-OH) 202-224-3353

Tell Them to Vote NO on the Health Care Repeal

The GOP Plan is Dangerous to Women's Health
- Maternity costs increase
- Pre-existing conditions excluded
- Planned Parenthood funding cut
Together we can #ProtectWomen

Israel Doing Little to Promote Own Bid for Security Council Seat

Israel's long-shot bid to gain a coveted slot on the 15-state UN Security Council in 2019-2020 is getting longer due to a failure by Jerusalem to launch any serious campaign.  In addition, the decision by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this year to withhold $8 million of Israel's $11m. annual membership fee to the world body - because of its Security Council anti-settlement resolution in December and the UNESCO vote in May denying Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem - is not the type of action that enhances the chance of being elected to the UN's premier body.   
Senate Rejects Effort to Block Saudi Arms Sale

The Senate narrowly rejected an effort to block part of President Trump's $110 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia.  The motion faced an uphill climb in the Senate, despite growing concerns about Saudi Arabia's involvement in Yemen's civil war. Top Republicans, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), signaled ahead of the vote that they were opposed to the motion, arguing reneging on the arms agreement would undercut a key U.S. ally.  
New Bipartisan Bill Aims to Ensure Israel's Qualitative Military Edge

A bipartisan bill introduced in the House of Representatives would strengthen the processes that have ensured Israel's qualitative military edge. Under the legislation, the president would be required to consult with officials in the Israeli government about their defense needs before authorizing arms sales or defense items to countries in the Middle East.  Rep. Brad Schneider, D-IL, said,  "The United States must continue to ensure that Israel, our closest, most reliable ally in the Middle East, if not the world, has the tools to maintain its qualitative military edge over those who seek to do it harm."
Continued Reading

Tillerson Suggests Cutting Anti-Semitism Envoy 

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson retreated from his department's commitment to fill the post of envoy to combat anti-Semitism, saying the effort may be more effective without one. Since Congress established the position with a 2004 law, the role of the envoy has been to train career State Department officers and diplomats in identifying and combating anti-Semitism and to encourage embassies and bureaus to more closely monitor anti-Semitism.  
European Country Bans Funding for NGOs that Incite Hate Speech, Including Anti-Semitism  

The Swiss Council of States, the upper house of the country's parliament, has voted a resolution which directs the government to "amend the laws, ordinances and regulations" to prevent funding to NGOs (Non-Government Organizations) "involved in racist, anti-Semitic or hate incitement actions." "For the first time, a European country has passed legislation to end funding for NGOs that are vehicles for incitement and hate speech, specifically including anti-Semitism," noted Prof. Gerald Steinberg, NGO Monitor president.   
Continued Reading

Here's How Much Maternity Hospital Stays Will Cost Under Trumpcare

Under "Trumpcare," formally known as the American Health Care Act, Republicans want to strip the "essential health benefits" provision, according to TIME's Money feature. Under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, those essential benefits covered 10 categories that included coverage of maternity and newborn care. If eliminated, insurers could once more sell plans that do not cover pregnancy-related costs - which is bad news for moms, families, and babies. Let's take a look at how much maternity hospital stays would cost under Trumpcare, as it stands now.   
Women's Advocates Sue For Data On How Trump's Team Is Handling Campus Sex Assault

The National Women's Law Center has sued the Department of Education in an effort to pry loose a trove of data related to the agency's oversight and rules enforcement related to sexual harassment in U.S. schools. The nonprofit, which advocates for women's rights, claims the Department of Education failed to comply with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) petition in January for data that are "a matter of public concern," according to the complaint filed Monday in a federal court in Washington, D.C.  
Continued Reading

The Man Behind Trump's Religious-Freedom Agenda for Health Care

Roger Severino leads the office that could shape the future of two of the most high-stakes aspects of the health-care debate: abortion and contraception access and LGBT rights. OCR, as it's known, is responsible for investigating civil-rights violations in health-care settings, including discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, and national origin.  Before Severino came to OCR, he led a center on religion-named for and funded in part by the family of the education secretary, Betsy DeVos-at the Heritage Foundation, the conservative Washington think tank.
Former EPA Employees Are So Worried About Trump's Plans, They Formed Their Own Alt-EPA

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt is slated to defend drastic cuts to his agency's budget, including axing 25 percent of its staff and zeroing out climate change programs. In response, former EPA employees have formed a new bipartisan group called the Environmental Protection Network to help reporters, activists and policymakers penetrate an administration they accuse of waging an "ideologically driven" battle to cripple core functions of the agency.
Their Own Targeted, Republicans Want Looser Gun Laws, Not Stricter Ones

Shaken and angry, Republican members of Congress seized on the brazen daytime shooting of their colleagues on Wednesday to demand that existing restrictions on gun access be loosened so that people facing similar attacks are able to defend themselves.
Trump's Terrible Judicial Trifecta
Railing about 'teaching gayness.' Passing on alt-right conspiracies. Arguing for leniency to sentence minors to death. And these three nominees are expected to be confirmed easily.  The push to fill 120 federal judgeships purposefully left vacant under President Obama gets under way, with the unveiling of a trio of nominees, all members in good standing of the conservative Federalist Society.  The liberal Alliance for Justice has surfaced disturbing allegations about two of these nominees that go beyond the traditional legal terrain of where they stand on stare decisis or executive power or labor relations. Their views about women, LGBTQ people, and even the environment are way beyond what we once considered the mainstream.   
Secrecy Surrounding Senate Health Bill Raises Alarms in Both Parties
As they draft legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Senate Republican leaders are aiming to transform large sections of the American health care system without a single hearing on their bill and without a formal, open drafting session. That has created an air of distrust and concern - on and off Capitol Hill, with Democrats but also with Republicans.    
Continued Reading

A Lot of People Are Upset by Trump's Agenda. Women Are Doing Something About It.   
One morning in 2014, Regina Taurino, 25 years old, woke up with an intense pain in her stomach.  She didn't have health care; her insurance through her new job wouldn't kick for another month. Now 29 and cancer-free, Taurino is a leader in her local Indivisible chapter, a growing movement that spans towns and states across the country and aims to derail Trump's agenda through concerted, on-the-ground action.  Taurino is just one of an army of women leading the burgeoning Indivisible movement, the liberal iteration of the Tea Party activists that hamstrung  Obama's first years in office.  
Read Full Article
Jewish Groups Struggle to Gain White House Access Points

Jewish American organizations long active in Washington politics are struggling to communicate with the Trump administration.  A traditional structure governed these communications before the Trump era: Presidents since Jimmy Carter have hired White House Jewish liaisons to serve as point men for the community. But the position has been vacant since January 20, and the White House has no plans to fill it.  The absence of a liaison has forced Jewish community activists to resort elsewhere within the government to raise their questions and concerns.  
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Republican Senators Unaware of Health Care Details

Several Republican senators have no knowledge of the specific policy proposals GOP leadership is weighing for inclusion in the pending legislation to overhaul the U.S. health care system.  The lack of widespread knowledge among members about the exact policy under review calls into question whether Republicans will be able to advance a bill before the Fourth of July recess.  While there have been thrice-weekly meetings on the legislation to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law, complete legislative text has not yet been drafted, and leadership has begun initial conversations with the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office on several proposals.  But GOP senators say they do not know what those are.
I Helped Draft Clinton's Impeachment Articles. The Charges Against Trump Are More Serious.

If FBI Director James B. Comey had angered a President Hillary Clinton by restarting the investigation into her private email server and she had fired him, Republicans would be howling. Rightly so. Instead, Donald Trump won the election. Comey was pursuing an investigation into Russian meddling. It angered President Trump, and he fired Comey. But rather than howling, Republicans are whimpering. The chair of the Republican National Committee has even called for a halt to all investigations of collusion with Russia. That's a problem.
Read Full Article 
Continued Reading

Play Inspired By Mideast Peace Process Wins at Tony Awards

A play inspired by the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and Norwegian husband-and-wife diplomats behind the 1993 Oslo Accords was crowned best play on New York's Broadway at the Tony Awards.  The homegrown play, "Oslo," written by US playwright J.T. Rogers, was inspired by the back-channel talks, unlikely friendships and quiet heroics that led to the agreement more than two decades ago. The play has won rave reviews and a Hollywood movie adaptation is also in the works, planned by Marc Platt, producer of "La La Land," which won six Oscars at this year's Academy Awards. 
These 5 Israeli advances Could Transform Cancer Treatment
Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the United States, responsible for 22.5 percent of American fatalities. Only heart disease is more deadly.In Israel, cancer is the No. 1 killer. That's partly why Israel has become a research leader in the fight against the disease. Many of the world's most effective cancer treatments have roots in Israeli research, sometimes going back decades. The work taking place in Israeli labs today may lead to lifesaving treatments years in the future.
The Last Word
 "This shooting is an attack on all who serve and on all who participate in our democracy."

Former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ)


JAC's Summer Spectacular 
Monday, July 10th 
at the Geraghty in Chicago
Cookbook Author Joan Nathan &
Johanna Mendelson-Forman, Ph.D., J.D.

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.