December 9, 2016

JAC members came together in Philadelphia to discuss the election and next steps to take for 2018. (l to r: Betsy Sheerr, Jill Zipin, Columnist Dick Polman, Carole Weintraub Kauffman, and Lainey Simonson)

A full house at this week's Post-Election Analysis in Philadelphia.

JAC met with Senator-elect Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) in Chicago. Gail Regenbogen, Senator-elect Cortez Masto, Marcia Balonick, Linda Rae Sher, and Hollis Wein) 

Contact the JAC office if you would like to host a meeting to discuss our goals, issues, and the road forward to the 2018 mid-term election.

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


For more information and to RSVP, contact the JAC office at 847.433.5999 or
Israel Reaches Across Border in Spirit of Tikkun Olam

Soldiers prepare to treat Syrian victims at border.

JAC was invited to a special briefing at the office of Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest to hear about Israel's efforts to treat Syrian soldiers and civilians. Under the direction of Dr. Salman Zarka, director general of Zvi Medical Center (Safed), injured Syrians receive treatment at the 350-bed hospital.

The hospital, which is located 19 miles from the Syrian border and seven miles from Lebanese border, stands ready for conflict in this precarious area. Syrians who arrive at the border are given life-saving medical care with indifference to their nationality as a true reflection of Jewish values. His medical staff is "planting small seeds that can become a plant of peace," Zarka said. The patients receive the same care as that of Israelis and are hospitalized in the same departments as Israelis.

Ziv Medical Center has treated 640 Syrian patients since 2013. The age ranges from newborn to 80 years; 17 percent are children. Caring for the wounded requires a distinctive approach that involves providing for the basic needs of patients, not only physical but also psychological. Many patients arrive without family support, so the Arabic-speaking social workers take on this role. Since this project began, many of the Syrians who arrive at the border are seeking general health care, unrelated to war injuries.

"The staff at Zvi feel privileged to provide humanitarian assistance to these victims of a cruel and pitiless war," Zarak said. "Syria is a neighboring country, but a hostile one. With this project, through the provisions of medical care, perhaps a larger healing will emerge."
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Israel & the Middle East
Congress Okays $600M for Israel Missile Defense
A day ahead of a government shutdown deadline, Congress scrambled to wrap-up unfinished business, voting decisively to send President Barack Obama a defense policy bill, including more than $600 million for missile defense cooperation with Israel. Defense Bill provisions include cooperation on research and development programs, procurement of Iron Dome, David's Sling, Arrow 3.
First Two F-35 Jets En Route to Israel 
The first two F-35 jets purchased from the US are expected in Israel on Monday, and will land at the Nevatim Air Base in southern Israel where a reception ceremony will be held. The two will be the first of 50 aircraft that Israel has agreed to purchase from US giant Lockheed-Martin.

Israel, Cyprus & Greece to Form Trilateral Rescue Unit
Israel, Greece and Cyprus agreed to the formation of a joint emergency and rescue force that will deal with disasters such as fires, floods and earthquakes, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a trilateral meeting with the leaders of Greece and Cyprus.
Anti-Semitism & BDS
Ohio Senate Approves Anti-BDS Bill 
The Ohio Senate approved a bill targeting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, all but assuring it will become law. The legislation prohibits the state from contracting with companies that engage in boycotts of Israel, including firms located outside of the state. It also would require companies to explicitly state in contracts that they are not boycotting or divesting from Israel.
Protecting Reproductive Rights Under Donald Trump
During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump sent mixed messages about his position on reproductive rights. Whatever his personal opinion may be, his appointees and their actions could put reproductive health care out of reach for millions of women, especially those living in poverty. 
Read Full Article
Dark Days Are Ahead for Reproductive Rights   
The Supreme Court was something of an under-the-radar issue in the 2016 campaign, extremely important to some groups (especially white evangelicals), but not discussed all that much on a national level. But now that Donald Trump has been elected, and with the success of the GOP's only-Republican-presidents-are-allowed-to-fill-vacancies strategy, it will be of tremendous importance to the country's future.  No issue will be more volatile than abortion, which raises the inevitable question: Is Roe v. Wade doomed?
Trump's Choice for Labor Sec Tried to Outlaw Abortion
Earlier in his life, Andrews Puzder, Donald Trump's choice for Labor Secretary, was also well-known for his work as an anti-choice attorney. In the 1980s, he helped author a sweeping piece of anti-choice legislation in Missouri that included radical "personhood" language defining life as beginning at conception. Measures of this nature would ban abortion and many forms of contraception. He discussed his role in writing the legislation in a 2009 interview. 
Read Full Article

The Radical Activist Behind Ohio's "Heartbeat Bill"
Both houses of the Ohio legislature passed a so-called "heartbeat bill" that had been inserted at the last minute into a child abuse prevention measure. The bill would ban abortion, without exception, after a fetal heartbeat can be detected; that's usually around six weeks into a pregnancy, which is before many women know that they are pregnant at all. 
Separation of Religion & State
Deceptive Religious Group Invades Minnesota School 
The controversial fundamentalist Christian group known as the Todd Becker Foundation (TBF) is at again - this time, visiting and speaking at a Minnesota public school assembly. The group often holds an assembly for students during the day that includes religious content. But while there speakers plug another event at the school in the evening. The latter event is voluntary but is usually promoted by the school, and students are encouraged to attend. There they get a hellfire sermon.
Beyond the Core
This Case May Decide Whether Every Vote Counts 
The 2016 election cycle might be over, but that doesn't mean voting rights issues are resolved. Two gerrymandering cases were argued before the US Supreme Court on this week. Each of them will try to sort out how much state redistricting bodies can and should take race into account while drawing new legislative districts. Determining voting districts to preserve partisan control is not illegal, but depriving a racial group of its broader electoral voice as the motivating factor for redistricting is.
It May Be Difficult, But There Is a Path for Gun Safety 
The current political alignment doesn't bode well for sensible gun reforms. On the other hand, as the number of gun laws in any locality goes up, the amount of gun violence of all kinds goes down. And let's remember that the next election is now less than two years away. 
Political Bytes
If Dems Want to Win, They Should Filibuster Early and Often
As long as they've got the filibuster, Democrats should do everything in their power to save voters from themselves - and the GOP's regressive agenda - rather than putting a bipartisan patina on whatever comes from Congress and the Trump administration. But if Republicans do away with the filibuster and ram their whole platform through, so be it. If voters don't like expanding deficits, reduced benefits and smog, perhaps they'll draw the appropriate conclusion and vote accordingly next time. 
Trump Health Sec Wants to Limit Contraception Access 
Reproductive rights advocates expressed serious concern over Tom Price's appointment for Health Secretary, in part because during his two decades in politics, first in the Georgia senate and then as a six-term congressman, Price has been a staunch opponent of abortion. In 2011, he voted for a ban on the use of training grants to teach medical students how to perform abortions, and he has twice voted for a federal ban on abortions after 20 weeks.
Meet President-Elect Trump's Proposed Cabinet 
At last count, Trump's proposed cabinet had a combined wealth of more than $14.5 billion, included three generals (an unprecedented concentration) and at least one nominee who has twice sued the agency he's now poised to run. 
The Four Eras of John Glenn 
John Glenn, the pioneer astronaut and former US senator from Ohio, is gone.  Usually unassuming and modest, the late senator was famously irascible on Israel and had a Holocaust survivor as his closest friend.  

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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.
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