March 9, 2017
Join JAC in Washington May 3-4

JAC Members in Chicago with Senator Jon Tester (D-MT)
(l to r: Marcia Balonick, Lisa Imber, Arielle Imber,Jon Tester, Hollis Wein)


JAC members met with Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) in Chicago. 
(l to r: Hollis Wein, Martin Heinrich, Andy Small and Amy Small)

Week In Review Commentary
As my internship at JAC comes to an end, I have been reflecting on my experiences over the last couple of months. My internship at JAC began right after Donald Trump was inaugurated. It was and extremely intense political climate, that has continued. Working in the research and communications department, it was a daily challenge for me to differentiate facts from bias, especially when information comes from countless sources and is shared on every platform. I hope to use this experience to remain better informed at college and share that knowledge with my friends.

I learned that everything that happens in politics impacts our country -- and my life. JAC always says elections have consequences. Now I understand that even more. The Administration's policies, which are supported by a majority in Congress, will impact my life for years to come. Therefore it is critical that my generation becomes more politically engaged and also votes. It will be up to us to change the direction of this country.

As I researched laws and bills in Congress, I was able to understand how the government works on a day-to-day basis. It's important to be informed so that we know how policies will impact us. For example, I never worried about access to health care. But this week, the GOP's attempts to restrict women's access to maternity care, cancer screenings, and family planning by defunding Planned Parenthood would make it harder for women to get basic health care.

I was fortunate to see first hand how a political action committee, like JAC, can have a real impact in our country by working to elect candidates who will support the core values of the Jewish Community.

Zoƫ Kaufman
JAC Intern

Take Action
Call Your Representative
Tell them to
the "American Health Care Act"
(the GOP Health Care Repeal Bill)

It would severely limit women's access to healthcare and calls for the defunding of Planned Parenthood  
  • Cutting funding to Planned Parenthood undermines access to women's health services
  • Women will be denied maternity services
  • Planned Parenthood provides nearly one million pap tests and 830,000 breast exams each year
  • Defunding Planned Parenthood may increase the already alarming numbers of women in America who have fallen victim to cervical cancer.


Hands Off Our Health Care and Planned Parenthood
Not sure who your Representative is?
Knesset Passes Law Barring Boycott Supporters from Israel

The legislation, advanced by right-wing and centrist coalition lawmakers, prevents foreign nationals who have publicly called for a boycott of the Jewish state or work on behalf of an organization that advocates these measures from entering Israel.  
Netanyahu Urges Putin to Block Iranian Power Corridor on Israel's Border

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Moscow  seeking reassurance from Russian President Vladimir Putin that his country's presence in Syria would help Israel block arch-nemesis Iran from taking advantage of the chaos to position itself permanently on Israel's northern border. Until now, the Israeli government has stayed relatively quiet about developments in the six-year-old conflict raging in neighboring Syria, acting militarily only when it feels its security threatened. But now, as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad receives a boost from the strategic alliance between Russia and Iran, Tehran's expanding influence across the region is causing alarm in Israel.
First Official British Royal Visit to Isarel 'Looks Set'

In what would be an historic first formal visit, Buckingham Palace officials say a trip to Israel by a member of the British royal family "looks set to go ahead this year." Whitehall sources said that a royal visit had been under discussion for some time and an invitation issued by President Reuven Rivlin was likely to be accepted. "This is a very important year in the history of the relations between Israel and the United Kingdom," Rivlin said. "We will mark 100 years since the Balfour Declaration and I am greatly honored to extend an official invitation to the royal family to visit Israel to mark this event."  
Senate Calls for 'Swift Action' As JCCs Face Another Round of Bomb Threats  

The Senate sent a letter to top Trump administration officials urging them to do more to combat anti-Semitic threats just as Jewish Community Centers faced another round of bomb threats. Fifteen Jewish organizations in the U.S. and Canada received the phone calls on Tuesday, in the sixth wave of threats this year. The Anti-Defamation League said that 110 institutions have received 140 bomb threats.  
Jewish Community Center Bomb Threats - Weapons of Fear 

The "fear itself" thing? FDR was on to something. The rash of JCC bomb threats and cemetery desecrations, combined with a general sense that the country is becoming more intolerant, has Jews on edge in ways they haven't been in years. The head of a major American Jewish organization wrote to me that the recent outbreak of anti-Semitic activity "is the worst America has seen since the 1930s." (It's not.) 
BDS Movement Backfires, Deals Blow to Thousands of Palestinians 

The fear on Haytam's face was evident. I could tell he was processing what he had just heard. Haytam's job is his livelihood; it is how he supports his wife and children. Without it, he couldn't imagine what would happen to them. Haytam is Palestinian, and he just learned about efforts to shut down the factory in which we were standing in the Israeli city of Ariel. The Israeli owners of the company were not the ones trying to shut the factory down. It was not the Israeli government either. The call to action came from the United States, where-for over a decade, on dozens of college campuses every year-anti-Israel students and professors have pressured universities to cease working with companies that operate in Israel.  
Continued Reading

What It Really Means to 'Defund' Planned Parenthood
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has vowed to "defund" Planned Parenthood in upcoming legislation. But what he and Republicans in Congress are trying to do is actually very different from what that word suggests. The government does not cut a blank check to Planned Parenthood. The family planning provider is listed nowhere in the federal budget, and a law already prevents taxpayer dollars from being used to pay for abortions. Planned Parenthood is only reimbursed for the non-abortion health care services it provides to low-income women, including birth control, Pap smears, breast exams and STI tests, through Medicaid and the Title X family planning program. 
Five Decades After Roe v. Wade, Doctors Train to Keep Abortion Out of the Shadows

While still technically legal in all fifty states, abortion has been slipping down the back alley for years. Between 2011 and 2014 alone, 17 percent of the country's dedicated abortion clinics disappeared, thanks in large part to waves of extremely restrictive state laws. Mike Pence, the vice president, is an anti-abortion hard-liner who signed an Indiana abortion law that the Washington Post called one of the strictest in the nation. Despite this - or because of it - interest in abortion rights is soaring. Since the election, organizations big and small have been inundated with medical students, volunteer clinic escorts, and hand-holders looking to put their bodies on the front lines of the battle for reproductive freedom.
Good Luck, Women! Under GOP Health Care Bill, It's Be Tougher to Have a Baby -- and Tougher Not To.

The bill's approach to women's health care feels like it was concocted by the villain in a "Saw" movie: It literally puts women, especially low-income women, in an impossible bind. On one hand, there are multiple provisions designed to force women to become pregnant and stay pregnant, whether they like it or not. On the other hand, the bill also undermines maternity coverage and will almost certainly raise the out-of-pocket costs of childbirth far beyond what millions of women can afford. It's a true "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation.   
Continued Reading

Does Politics Belong in the Pulpit?

Here's one wall President Trump wants to dismantle: Thomas Jefferson's "wall of separation between Church and State." "Freedom of religion is a sacred right," Trump said at the National Prayer Breakfast last month, "but it is also a right under threat all around us. That is why I will get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution."
Betsy DeVos' Holy War

What distinguishes the DeVoses within the Kochs' circle of power, however, is their conservative Christian worldview, which over the past four decades has helped fuel what is now a $1.5 billion infrastructure composed of thousands of churches and "parachurch" ministries, as well as Christian TV, radio and Internet channels; Facebook pages and other forms of social media; books; conferences; camps; prayer groups; legal organizations - an entire universe that many Americans may be wholly unaware of. Through these channels has come a single, unified message merging social conservatism, free-market capitalism and American exceptionalism: the belief that the rights and freedoms spelled out in the U.S. Constitution were mandated by God.
What Senate Democrats Should Ask Judge Gorsuch

During confirmation hearings, scheduled to begin March 20, Senate Democrats should ask Judge Neil Gorsuch a simple question: Is he prepared to apply the Constitution's treaty supremacy rule in accordance with the original understanding? His answer will reveal whether he is a principled originalist, who adheres to the Founders' Constitution even when that conflicts with his political views, or an ideological originalist, who utilizes originalist rhetoric to advance a conservative political agenda.    
Four States Suing to Block Trump's New Travel Ban

Democratic attorneys general in four states announced that they will try to block the Trump administration's revised executive order on travel in court, pushing for the temporary restraining order that halted the first order to remain intact. Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D) said Thursday his office will file a motion asking U.S. District Judge James Robart to reaffirm that the order applies to the new version of the travel ban, which is scheduled to go into effect next Thursday, March 16. 
Trump's Rubber tamp on Supreme Court Would Treaten Voting Rights

Our right to vote is the foundation of our democracy. Our vote is our voice. All of us who value our right to cast ballots, especially in states like Texas and Florida, where our voting rights are constantly under attack, are very concerned about the U.S. Supreme Court nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch. 
Continued Reading

Trump Has Already Signed 34 Executive Actions - Here's What Each One Does

President Donald Trump's first six weeks in office were filled with a flurry of action, and he's just getting started. The 45th president has signed 34 executive actions so far, with far-reaching effects on Americans' lives. While many of them have been billed as executive orders in the popular vernacular, most of them were technically presidential memoranda or proclamations.
Steve Bannon Believed Joe McCarthy's Crusade

When Donald Trump launched his wiretap conspiracy theory over the weekend, the president took his argument in a curious direction. In his opening salvo, Trump declared, "Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!" It was an interesting choice of words for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which is that much of the right actually looks back at McCarthyism with fondness.
A Democrat in Conservative Georgia Rides Opposition to Trump 

Jon Ossoff is a 30-year-old Democrat who has never served in an elected position, running for Congress in a decidedly conservative district. But thanks to his online pitch to voters - "Make Trump Furious" - he has improbably found himself awash in donations: roughly $3 million, his campaign says, while 11 Republican candidates are scrapping for attention.
Meet the Hundred of Officials Trump Has Quietly Installed Across the Government  

A Trump campaign aide who argues that Democrats committed "ethnic cleansing" in a plot to "liquidate" the white working class. A former reality show contestant whose study of societal collapse inspired him to invent a bow-and-arrow-cum-survivalist multi-tool. A pair of healthcare industry lobbyists. A lobbyist for defense contractors. An "evangelist" and lobbyist for Palantir, the Silicon Valley company with close ties to intelligence agencies. And a New Hampshire Trump supporter who has only recently graduated from high school. These are some of the people the Trump administration has hired for positions across the federal government.
Continued Reading

George Washington Book Containing Letters and Speeches to Jews of Rhode Island Up for Auction

A 1796 first edition of George Washington's "A Collection of the Speeches of the President of the United States... Addresses to the President, with His Answers" printed in Boston might not seem like the most conventional piece of Judaica, but its inclusion of letters and speeches to the Jews of Newport, Rhode Island makes it a rare find.  Washington's speech at Touro Synagogue on August 17, 1790 includes the oft-quoted statement that the US government "gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance," the first statement concerning the equal status of Jews in the fledgling country. What most tend to overlook is that Washington's comment was an homage to Moses Seixas, a leader of the Newport community. 
Continued Reading

The Last Word
"So if you love women, and you love your mothers and daughters and wives, please do not unwind the Affordable Care Act. We need women's health protected."

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)

JAC Annual Meeting 2017
May 3-4
Washington, DC

Coffee with Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL)
March 17th
8 :00 am
Chicago, IL

JAC II Event
April 26th
Detroit Area
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.
Paid for by Joint Action Committee for Political Affairs. Contributions or gifts are not tax deductible. Contributions may total up to $5400 per individual ($2700 for the primary election, and $2700 for the general election). Federal law requires us to use our best efforts to collect and report the name, mailing address, occupation, and name of employer of individuals whose contributions exceed $200 in an election cycle. Corporate contributions and contributions from non-US citizens who are not lawfully admitted for permanent residence are prohibited. All contributions by individuals must be made from personal funds and may not be reimbursed or paid by another person.