September 15, 2017
From l to r: Amy Small, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Andrew Small.
Sen. Durbin has been leading the fight in the Senate to pass the DREAM Act of 2017. 

JAC met with Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) in Chicago this week.
l to r: Hollis Wein, Sen. Hirono, Jacki Parmacek, Marcia Balonick

Week In Review Commentary
It was an emotional week.

Houston's cleanup from Hurricane Harvey barely started when Hurricane Irma bore down on Florida. Rebuilding physically and emotionally will be slow and painful. It has already been one of the most intense hurricane seasons in recorded history and the season isn't expected to end until November. Evidence continues to mount that these catastrophic events are not coincidental, but explicitly due to climate change. 

On Monday, we paused from our daily routines to remember the horrific events 16 years ago on 9/11. It was a defining moment for our nation that changed our way of life forever. We will always remember where we were on that terrible morning and that great need to gather those we love close to us as we tried to make sense about the new world. As the anniversaries go by, we will never forget the more than 3,000 people who lost their lives on that sunny morning.

While 9/11 strengthened our character, it also caused the birth of new, dangerous fears. Today's push to send away the DREAMER's is tied to a rise in xenophobia - "the irrational sensation of fear experienced about a person or a group of persons as well as situations that are perceived as strange or foreign."  That fear rose from the ashes of the Twin Towers.

Our post-911 world is now filled with intolerance. We have seen a rise of anti-Semitism and bigotry. Synagogues, Jewish community centers and schools have been forced to increase their security. According to the ADL, there has been an increase in white supremacist activity on college campuses. Then came Charlottesville - another event that is seared in our mind and, once again, made us feel the world has frighteningly changed.

This past year has been turbulent. Most of the issues we care about have been under daily attack. But through it all, JAC has consistently fought to defeat nominees and legislation that will reverse our country's progress. We have also been supporting candidates across the country that will stand up to the NRA, the religious right and anti-choice groups. 

As Rosh Hashanah approaches, we will undoubtedly reflect on the year that has passed. Let's hope and pray that the coming year will bring joy, peace, and understanding, along with renewed energy to continue our important work of Tikun Olam - repairing the world.

Thank you for your continued support.

Wishing you and your family a L'Shanah Tovah Tikatevu.

Take Action


Tell your Representative vote NO on
H.R. 3668 -- the SHARE Act

Do NOT vote to  deregulate the sale of gun silencers.
Stand up to the NRA 

  • The SHARE Act would have a disastrous impact on public safety and law enforcement. 
  • This bill would put more than 1.3 million silencers up for grabs and make it easier for people - including domestic abusers and criminals - to obtain them.
  • Silencers could be purchased in private sales, without a background check, at gun shows, on the internet, or in a parking lot - and when silencers are easily available to criminals, criminals will use them.
  • By a 3-to-1 margin, gun owners do not want to deregulate silencers and the majority of NRA members - 63 percent - are opposed to deregulating silencers.
  • Silencers diminish the effectiveness of gunshot detection technology and make it difficult for people who are nearby, including law enforcement, to identify the sound of gunshots and locate an active shooter.
  • This legislation is straight from the gun lobby's wish list


Source: Americans for Responsible Solutions 

Egypt Won't Mediate Between Hamas and Israel On Captives, Bodies

Egyptian intelligence officials told Hamas representatives it is unable to continue mediating between the terrorist organization and Israel over the issue of prisoners of war and missing persons.  The report did not explain why Egypt withdrew its hand from the issue, but said the country expressed its support for any country willing to fill the void.  Egypt's decision will make it difficult to continue the minimal communication that exists between Israel and Hamas.
Israel's Next War?  Spy Chief Warns Hamas, Hezbollah Gearing Up For New Conflict 

Israel's security elite fears a military alliance between Hezbollah and Hamas and backed by Iran could lead to a new conflict in the Middle East. Nadav Argaman, who is head of Israeli intelligence service Shin Bet, has warned that Hamas-which has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007 and fought three wars with Israel in the 10 years-is now building influence in Lebanon, where top Hamas operative, Saleh al-Arouri, is in hiding following his expulsion from Qatar in June.   
Trump Waives Iran Sanctions, but Warns of Changes to Deal Next Month

President Donald Trump waived nuclear sanctions on Iran in compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal he reviles, but warned that he could take dramatic action on the deal as early as next month. According to U.S. law, Oct. 15 is the next deadline for Trump to certify that Iran is abiding by the deal. Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency have certified that Iran is in compliance, but Trump says Iran is violating the "spirit" of the deal through its missile testing and military adventurism in the region.
Continued Reading

White Supremacist Group Launches Campus Recruitment Effort

A group that took part in the recent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA is embarking on a yearlong recruitment campaign on college campuses, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Identity Evropa, a group founded last year that seeks to promote "white American culture," is engaging in a campaign called "Project Siege," which involves posting fliers and posters on campuses promoting its goals. 
In Elie Wiesel's Hometown, Hundreds Protest Anti-Semitism by Retracing His Walk to be Deported

More than 70 years after fascists took Elie Wiesel to the train station of this sleepy city in Romania, hundreds of its residents retraced his steps in a march to protest against anti-Semitism. The march began at the home where Wiesel was born and ended where in 1944 he boarded with his family a train to the Auschwitz death camp. The march drew participants, Jews and otherwise, from far and wide. 
Continued Reading

Laws Target Minors' Abortion Rights

Since January, hundreds of anti-abortion bills have moved through state legislatures - some of the most longstanding restrictions have targeted young people seeking abortion care. Minors face many barriers such as medically inaccurate sex education, lack of birth control, and limited resources.  With a new round of parental notification laws, minors' abortion access may be narrowing to the point of near-impossibility.  As of 2017, 37 out of 50 states have parental consent laws for minors seeking abortion. 
Does Your Insurance Cover Abortion?

A new slew of state laws are aimed at making sure abortion coverage is banned from private health insurance plans--putting the procedure still further out of reach. Abortions are expensive, which is why insurance coverage for abortion care is critical to making it accessible. Insurance coverage bans on private insurance impact anyone with limited resources.  
'What Were You Wearing?' Exhibit Takes Aim at Age-Old Sexual Violence Myth

In a gallery space on the fourth floor of the University of Kansas' student union, a powerful art installation aims to shatter the myth that sexual violence is caused by a person's wardrobe. The displays has 18 outfits hanging next to 18 rape survivors' stories about what they had on when they were attacked. T-shirts, exercise clothes, dresses, cargo shorts - they're all there.
Continued Reading

Texas Churches Want FEMA Money to Rebuild

Three churches in Texas are suing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for barring them from applying for government grants to help rebuild their churches, alleging that their inability to compete for funding amounts to religious discrimination. Nonprofits of all kinds can receive FEMA funds to rebuild as long as they are open to the public and provide non-critical but essential services. Churches are excluded, however, because to include churches would mean that the taxpaying public was subsidizing the reconstruction of religious facilities.   
Hurricane Irma Linked to Climate Change? For Some, a Very 'Insensitive' Question
Scott Pruitt, administrator of the EPA, says it is insensitive to discuss climate change in the midst of deadly storms. For scientists, drawing links between warming global temperatures and the ferocity of hurricanes is about as controversial as talking about geology after an earthquake. But in Washington, where science is increasingly political, the fact that oceans and atmosphere are warming and that the heat is propelling storms into superstorms has become as sensitive as talking about gun control in the wake of a mass shooting.
GOP Lawmaker Pushes Gun Silencer Bill
Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) is renewing his controversial push to make it easier to buy gun silencers, a debate that had been postponed following the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise.  Duncan argues silencers used by hunters and target shooters limit potential hearing loss from gunfire. Gun control groups disagree and feel the bill, opposed by many police organizations, is one of the top legislative goals for the powerful National Rifle Association. 
Trump Has Nominated 42 People for U.S. Attorney. Only One is a Woman
Of the 42 people President Donald Trump has nominated as U.S. attorneys, the chief federal prosecutors throughout the country, only one is a woman. The pattern raises the prospect of a shift in how the nation's laws would be enforced and underscores Trump's broader lack of diversity in appointments, starting at the top with his Cabinet, which is dominated by white men.  
Continued Reading

How California Could Jolt the 2020 Presidential Race

California is pushing forward with a plan to change the state's primary date from June to March, a move that could scramble the 2020 presidential nominating contest and swing the early weight of the campaign to the West.  The early primary would allocate California's massive haul of delegates just after the nation's first contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.  Despite California's  size, it has been a relative afterthought in national campaigns, marginalized not only because of its late primary, but also because of the high cost of campaigning there.
Poll Finds American Jews Overwhelmingly Disapprove of Trump
American Jews disapprove of President Donald Trump overwhelmingly in just about every area, scoring him lower than his predecessor even on topics like Israel, where Jewish approval of Barack Obama was relatively low, according to an American Jewish Committee poll. The survey also shows a sharp uptick in concerns about anti-Semitism in the United States, which may be a reflection of the increased influence of the "alt-right" since Trump's election.
Inside The President's Not-So-Blind Trust

Seven days after Donald Trump announced his intention to seek the Presidency, he formed more business entities than he had on any previous day. In total, Trump has formed at least 49 business entities since he announced his bid for the presidency.  Donald Trump has two jobs: leader of the free world and the owner of hundreds of business entities worldwide. This is a recipe for disaster. And it's hard to imagine it ending any other way.
Read Full Article
Continued Reading

At Ceremony Marking One Year Since Peres' Death

A state ceremony in Jerusalem marked the one-year anniversary of the death of Shimon Peres. "His biggest dream - peace - my father did not get to see realized. The battle for peace requires courage, even more so than the sacrifice of war. I ask, in the spirit of my father, that you don't stop dreaming and daring, because it's the best thing that could happen to our beloved country," Peres' son said.
The Woman Who Helped End The Federal Gay Marriage Ban Has Died

Edith Windsor, 88, died Tuesday in New York. Windsor was 81 when she sued the federal government in 2010 over the Defense of Marriage Act following the death of her first spouse, Thea Spyer. They legally married in Canada in 2007 after being together more than 40 years.  Windsor said the marriage law meant she faced a huge estate tax bill she wouldn't have to pay if the law didn't discriminate against same-gender couples.
Rabbis To Tiptoe Around Trump

He'll be there on the High Holiday pulpit - but probably not by name. President Trump will hover in and around a number of sermons next week as rabbis grapple with crafting messages that speak both to the current political moment yet seek to transcend it. That political moment - perhaps more than at any time in recent history - is freighted with grave moral issues that cut to the core of who we are as Americans and Jews.
The Last Word
"Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a 
way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that 
spirit of unity that followed 9/11."

President Barack Obama

Meet Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL)
Tuesday, October 10
3:30 PM
Chicago, IL
Watch for details
Meet Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Thursday, October 12
Chicago, IL
Watch for details

A Special Evening with
Congressman Adam Schiff (CA-28)
Ranking Member, House Intelligence Committee
JAC will present the Shirley Byron Award for outstanding leadership
to Rep. Schiff

Tuesday, October 17
Chicago, IL

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.