December 16, 2016

JAC was privileged to attend President Obama's 8th Hanukkah party at the White House. It is always a special honor to be invited to light the menorah and munch on latkes, but this year's celebration had more meaning since it was the last. Princeton University's Jewish acapella group welcomed us and other national Jewish leaders into the White House. JAC has had a close relationship with the Administration, attending exclusive briefings and events in Washington, DC over the years.

Despite the celebratory atmosphere, however, many of us at the White House were filled with a sense of uncertainty about the future. Before the menorah was lit, President Obama recalled the miracle of Hanukkah and the miracle of our religious freedom. "Proudly practicing our religion, whatever it might be -- and defending the rights of others to do the same -- that's our common creed," he said. ( Read full remarks.)

It was also a perfect time to reflect on President Obama's achievements to cement the U.S.-Israel relationship. Wednesday's celebration came on the heels of this week's exclusive delivery of F-35 fighter jets to Israel. Elie Wiesel's grandaughter made the menorah used for the candle lighting ceremony

JAC was honored to attend President Obama's final White House Hanukkah Party in Washington, DC.

JAC members Susan Turnbull, Ann Lewis, Marcia Balonick and Hollis Wein at the 2016 White House Hanukkah Party.

JAC Executive Director Marcia Balonick with Tina Tchen, Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama

Koleinu acapella singers at the White House Hanukkah Party  
JAC Too Detroit 
Tuesday, December 20 
7:00 pm 
Farmington Hills, MI
Call the JAC office for details

Wine and Whine
 Looking for the next generation of
JAC members 
Join us for a Post-Election Discussion  
Wednesday, Dec 21
8 pm
Wilmette, IL


Let us know if you are attending the Congressional Swearings-In
Washington, DC.

Please drop by for coffee to chat about the JAC Education Foundation's exciting plans to keep voters informed and engaged on key nominations and issues.

Wed., Jan 4
Time: TBD
Place: TBD


Are you attending the Women's March in Washington on January 21st?
Please let us know. 

For more information and to RSVP, contact the JAC office at 847.433.5999 or


tell them to 
 for Attorney General
His hearing is scheduled for Jan 10

  • Voted against reproductive rights
  • Voted for 20-week abortion ban
  • Voted for defunding Planned Parenthood
  • Said grabbing a woman inappropriately is not sexual assault
  • Joked the KKK was really okay
  • Blocked by the GOP-led Senate from a federal judgeship for being too racist

Tell your Senators that Jeff Sessions is WRONG for the Attorney General job.


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JAC's 2016 Election Scorecard is ready. 
Thanks to our members, we were able to fully support candidates who support our issues in six key Senate races, and helped numerous House candidates, as well. For details, please
click here to see our Scorecard.

Israel & the Middle East
Netanyahu Seeks Support for Israel on UN Security Council
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a state visit to Kazakhstan on Wednesday asked President Nursultan Nazarbayev for assistance in getting Israel accepted as a rotating member of the 15-member UN Security Council.
Israel Has Wary Eye on Iran After Syrian Rebels Lose Aleppo 
The fall of Aleppo to Syrian government forces backed by Russia and Iran has heightened alarm in Israel about potential threats to its borders and a wider reshaping of the region.

Israel Takes First F-35s for Test Flight
In an historic first, the Israeli Air Force's Gold Eagle Squadron takes its new planes to the skies of southern Israeli, the inaugural piloting of the planes by Israelis.
Read Full Article

UN Chief Acknowledges UN Bias Against Israel
In his last address to the UN Security Council on Friday, outgoing United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon recognized that Israel is subject to strong bias in the international body, something which Israeli ambassadors to the UN, including Danny Danon today, have raised their voices about throughout the years.
Read Full Article

Trump's Israel Ambassador Pick: 'End 2-State Narrative'
President-elect Donald Trump announced Thursday he will nominate bankruptcy attorney David Friedman as U.S. ambassador to Israel. Friedman, who has no prior diplomatic experience, is an outspoken supporter of Jewish settlement on the Israeli-occupied West Bank and has questioned the need for a Palestinian state.
Read Full Article
Anti-Semitism & BDS
Trump's Newest Sr. Advisor Seen as White Nationalist Ally 
President-elect Donald Trump's newest pick to be a senior adviser in the White House has long ties to a prominent white nationalist, who sees him as an ally of the movement. The announcement of Miller's new role drew praise from white nationalist leader Richard Spencer. 
Read Full Article

Knesset Members Teach Texans How to Combat BDS
A group of state legislators from Texas came to the Knesset Wednesday to learn from MKs and other officials about the dangers of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. The legislators have proposed legislation that would make it illegal for the state to do business with entities that back the BDS movement. If it passes, Texas would follow a resolution that passed in Ohio last week to become the 16th US state that has outlawed BDS.
Reproductive Rights Under Trump Could Be Ugly 
The question surrounding the impending Trump-Pence administration is not if its members will attempt to erode women's rights and encroach on their bodily autonomy-it's when, how, and in what order. Organizations that promote reproductive rights are preparing for the onslaught to come, sifting through the barrage of gynophobic bombast to identify the most serious risks and plan accordingly. From overturning Roe V. Wade to upticks in clinic violence, there are a range of concerns that leading reproductive rights organizations cite as their top priorities. 
Read Full Article
Ohio Governor Signs 20-Week Abortion Ban 
While much was made of the decision to reject the so-called heartbeat bill, it was considered more vulnerable to legal challenge. Provisions of the measure would have essentially limited the period during which women could get an abortion to about six weeks, when many women don't even realize they're pregnant. The 20-week abortion ban will be more difficult to overturn in a legal battle. 
OK Court: Abortion Clinics Don't Need Hospital Privileges 
The court ruled that measure, which requires doctors with admitting privileges to be present for abortions, violates both the U.S. and Oklahoma Constitutions. Republican Gov. Mary Fallin signed it into law in 2014, but courts had blocked it from going into effect. The U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year struck down a similar provision in Texas. 
Separation of Religion & State
Charter School Refuses to Admit Transgender Student 
Last week, the San Diego American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit to force a local charter school, e3 Civic High School, to provide public data about its refusal to admit a transgender student. This lawsuit gives a glimpse into a possible future where charter schools flourish under Trump's pick for the Department of Education, Betsy DeVos, who has made no secret of wanting to dismantle public education and replace it with charters and private school vouchers.
Read Full Article

Judge Nixes LA Governor's Pro-LGBT Order  
Gov. John Bel Edwards plans to appeal to higher court a state district judge's ruling Wednesday that invalidated his executive order forbidding workplace discrimination of LGBT employees in state government agencies and by private companies contracting with the state.
Read Full Article
Beyond the Core
Those Who Commit Gun Crimes Likely Have Been Shot 
"The best predictor of violent behavior is previous violent behavior, but the next best predictor is violent victimization," says David Kennedy, the director of the National Network for Safe Communities and a pioneer in the violence prevention field.
Sykes, Pryor Among Names for Supreme Court Vacancy
It will be some time before Donald Trump announces a nominee to fill the vacancy left by Antonin Scalia, according to transition insiders. But two names continue to emerge to the top of the president elect's list of potential Supreme Court justices. Judges Diane Sykes and William Pryor are among the top contenders, according to multiple sources familiar with the process.
Political Bytes
56 Interesting Facts About the 2016 Election 
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's victory was definitely THE most interesting thing that happened in the 2016 election, but it certainly wasn't the only interesting thing. In keeping with our end-of-cycle tradition, the Cook Report found 56 more interesting things to tide you over during the holidays. 
Do Americans Think Donald Trump Will Be a Good President?
With the inauguration a little over a month away, just over a third of Americans (34 percent) think President-elect Trump will be a good or very good president, and another 23 percent think he will be average. Thirty-six percent think he will be a poor president. But expectations are strongly influenced by partisanship: 60 percent of Democrats expect him to be a poor president, while seven in 10 Republicans think Mr. Trump will be a good or very good president.
Passing the Torch: Mikulski Says Good-Bye to the Senate 
Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), who retires in January, has cultivated deep ties to generations of constituents. Many know her as "Senator Barb," the irrepressible, wisecracking everywoman who began her political career fighting a highway that threatened to pulverize Baltimore's working-class neighborhoods. 
Cabinet Watch
Donald Trump's Cabinet Picks So Far 
President-elect Donald Trump is building out his Cabinet with allies, old friends, business icons and even some former rivals. Here's a look at who Trump has picked so far. 
Trump's Nat'l Security Adviser Shared Secrets Without Okay 
A secret U.S. military investigation in 2010 determined that Michael T. Flynn, the retired Army general tapped to serve as national security adviser in the Trump White House, "inappropriately shared" classified information with foreign military officers in Afghanistan, newly released documents show.
What Trump's Sec of State Pick Means for Jewish Agenda 
President-elect Donald Trump's pick for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, is the chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil, an energy company large enough to have its own foreign policy. It is a policy, however, that doesn't always align with the priorities of Jewish and pro-Israel groups. Oil companies have clashed in the past with the pro-Israel lobby. 
Read Full Article

14 Things to Know About Trump's Sec of Energy Pick
According to multiple sources, Donald Trump has selected former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to be the next secretary of energy. If confirmed, Perry, 66, will oversee the Department of Energy, and will be responsible for the country's nuclear weapons program, radioactive waste disposal, and energy conservation and production. The current energy secretary is Dr. Ernest Moniz , a nuclear physicist who has served on the faculty at MIT.  

With Rep. Zinke, Trump Taps Another Climate Change Denier 
Rep. Ryan Zinke's (R-MT) nomination could be great news for big fossil fuel interests. The Congressman has made it clear that he favors coal over U.S. taxpayers. Zinke opposed efforts to reform the federal coal leasing program, which is estimated to cost U.S. taxpayers billions each year, by undervaluing public land.  
2017 Golden Globes: Meet the Jewish Nominees  
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced the nominees for the coveted Golden Globes on Monday. Here are the nominees with Jewish ancestry who are up for consideration for this year's awards, which will be presented on NBC on January 8, 2017.

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If you have not renewed your membership, please consider doing so today, to help us pursue a strong US-Israel relationship, reproductive rights, and separation of religion and state.  Together we can make this a better world!



Marcia Balonick, Executive Director
Joy Malkus, Research Director

Dana Gordon, Membership & Outreach

Hollis Wein, Communications Director 

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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.