August 18 , 2017
Former JAC President Betsy Sheerr, Richard Sheerr, and Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) on Martha's Vineyard. 
Week In Review Commentary
After the events of this week, I felt it necessary to share some personal thoughts.

This was supposed to be a quiet week. Congress is in recess, many JAC members are on vacation, and others are getting children ready for school. But on Saturday I was shocked and reminded just how much bigotry exists. I saw something come across the news that after 35 plus years of activism I never expected to see -- white supremacists and neo-Nazis marching and chanting anti-semitic and other hateful slogans in America.

Violence ensued and a young woman was killed. I heard outrage and sympathy from many factions. On Monday, under pressure, the President backed away from his previous comments placing blame on both sides. However, on Tuesday, I was outraged when I heard our President make fiery comments about "good people on both sides" and blaming both the counter protesters and the hate groups for the bloodshed.

That night I went to dinner with friends who did not want to talk about it and I was silenced. 

I woke up on Wednesday infuriated that I did not speak out. We should never be afraid to speak out against hatred. We need to talk about  this resurgence of bigotry, anti-Semitism, and the renewed vigor of the neo-Nazis, KKK, white supremacists and other members of the alt-right. 

We need to talk to our friends, family, Rabbis, educators, and especially our elected officials!

The news of this week strongly reinforced to me that elections matter. Do not be silenced.

Call your Congressman and Senators and leave a message. Tell them how you feel. Thank those who have spoken out. Urge other members of Congress to show leadership.  They count these calls!  For the Congressional Switchboard, call (202) 224-3121.

In November of 2018, we need to remember how we feel today. We need to make a difference - help us!
Marcia Balonick
Executive Director


What can you do? STAY INFORMED. Read and share JAC's information; continue to support JAC candidates to ensure that there is always a strong representation of the issues important to us all.

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Be aware of Hate Groups around the country.
Israeli Defense Chiefs Heading to Washington For Talks on Syria

A delegation of Israeli defense officials will reportedly visit Washington, D.C., later this week to discuss Israel's security needs concerning Syria and Lebanon with their American counterparts. The talks will not address President Trump's nascent push for Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. Israel has expressed concern that the cease-fire brokered by the United States and Russia in southern Syria last month will allow Iran to gain a foothold on its northern border.
Palestinian Authority Wants Two-State Commitment from Trump Administration by End of August

The Palestinian Authority expects the Trump administration to commit to a peace deal endgame before the close of this month and prefers it would be the two-state solution.  "We need them to tell us where the hell they are going," Husam Zomlot, the Palestine Liberation Organization envoy to Washington, said. "It's about time we hear it."  Zomlot said a high-level U.S. delegation comprising Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and his top adviser charged with Middle East peace; Jason Greenblatt, Trump's top international negotiator; and Dina Powell, a deputy national security adviser, would meet Aug. 24 in Ramallah with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian negotiating team.
Israeli Officials Meet with Egyptian Leadership to Discuss Reopening Cairo Embassy

An Israeli delegation arrived in Cairo for discussions with Egyptian officials on security arrangements to bring about the reopening of the Israeli Embassy there, which has been closed for eight months. Israeli officials said the talks were making good progress, which could mean that Ambassador David Govrin will return there shortly.  According to the Israeli officials, talks were a continuation of several rounds that took place on the issue in recent months.
Continued Reading
In Charlottesville, the Local Jewish Community Presses On

At Congregation Beth Israel in Charlottesville, VA, we are deeply grateful for the support and prayers of the broader Reform Jewish community. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Heather Heyer and the two Virginia State Police officers, H. Jay Cullen and Berke Bates, who lost their lives on Saturday, and with the many people injured in the attack who are still recovering.  The loss of life far outweighs any fear or concern felt by me or the Jewish community during the past several weeks as we braced for this Nazi rally - but the effects of both will each linger.  On Saturday morning, I stood outside our synagogue with the armed security guard we hired after the police department refused to provide us with an officer during morning services. 
Charlottesville's Jewish Mayor Is An Expert On Demagogues, and Now On Anti-Semitism

Before becoming mayor, Signer was known both for his activism in the senior reaches of the Democratic Party as well as his expertise on a subject that has received much attention recently, demagoguery. His 2009 book, "Demagogue: the Fight to Save Democracy from its Worst Enemies," was well received. In December 2015, before the presidential primaries, Signer predicted that Donald Trump could become a "singular menace to our Republic.
What Major Tech Companies Are Doing To Hate Groups

Major companies such as Google, Facebook and PayPal are banishing a growing cadre of extremist groups and individuals in the wake of the deadly clash at a white-nationalist rally last weekend in Virginia. Civil rights advocates welcomed the moves, but say more needs to be done - and more should have been done earlier.  Click here to look at some of the technology services that have banned hate groups or have otherwise come out against white supremacists and their supporters:
Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide

Hate in America is a dreadful, daily constant. In recent years, the FBI has reported between 7,000 and 8,000 hate crime incidents per year in the United States. But law enforcement officials acknowledge that hate crimes - similar to rape and family violence crimes - go under-reported, with many victims reluctant to go to the police. The good news is - all over the country people are fighting hate, standing up to promote tolerance and inclusion. This guide sets out 10 principles for fighting hate, along with a collection of inspiring stories of people who worked to push hate out of their communities.
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Texas Women Will Now Be Forced to Take Out 'Rape Insurance' for Abortion

Gov. Greg Abbott has signed a law banning all insurance coverage for abortion, requiring women to take out separate policies if they want the procedure covered-even in cases of rape, incest, and fatal fetal abnormalities. Nicknamed the "rape insurance" bill for its cruel lack of exceptions for rape, incest, or fetal abnormalities, HB 214 mandates abortion coverage be removed from all private, state-offered, and Affordable Care Act insurance plans and sold as a separate - and unprecedentedly specific - policy.
Oregon Approves Sweeping Bill Expanding Abortion Access 

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) signed into law what advocates called the nation's most progressive reproductive health policy, expanding access to abortion and birth control at a time when the Trump administration and other states are trying to restrict them.  Called the Reproductive Health Equity Act , the measure requires health insurers to provide birth control and abortion without charging a co-pay. It also dedicates state funds to provide reproductive health care to non-citizens excluded from Medicaid.
Continued Reading

March for Racial Justice, Scheduled for Yom Kippur, Seeks Ways to Include Jews

The March for Racial Justice, scheduled for Yom Kippur, is looking to adjust its schedule to accommodate Jewish marchers.
The date of the march will not be changed, but related events may be held on that Saturday night or the next day.  In a statement Wednesday, organizers of the civil rights march said that scheduling the event on Yom Kippur, which falls this year on Sept. 30, "was a grave and hurtful oversight on our part. It was unintentional and we are sorry for this pain as well as for the time it has taken for us to respond. Our mistake highlights the need for our communities to form stronger relationships."
As Trump's Panel Seeks Personal Data, These Longtime Voters Cancel Their Registrations

For nearly two decades, Connie Bair, 67, has volunteered to help officials in Denver make sure elections run smoothly.  She's managed polling places and checked voter registrations when people came to vote. She was extremely proud of the way Colorado, a state that has implemented many voting innovations, conducts its elections.  But in early July, Bair read about the request by President Trump's commission on election integrity for information on voters in all 50 states. When she learned Colorado would hand over some of the requested data, Bair did something she never imagined: She took herself off the voter rolls.
Stephen Bannon Out at the White House After Turbulent Run

Stephen K. Bannon, the embattled chief strategist who helped President Trump win the 2016 election but clashed for months with other senior West Wing advisers, is leaving his post. "White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve's last day," the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said in a statement. "We are grateful for his service and wish him the best."
White House Memo Urges GOP to Say Trump Was "Entirely Correct"

The White House sent a memo of talking points to Republicans on Capitol Hill and other allies telling them to say President Trump was "entirely correct" in his controversial assessment of the violence in Charlottesville, CBS News chief White House Major Garrett reports.  "Despite the criticism, the President reaffirmed some of our most important Founding principles: We are equal in the eyes of our Creator, equal under the law, and equal under our Constitution," reads one bullet point. 
"We Know What We Must Do" - An Article by Connie Schwartz

In 1997, my 9-year-old daughter met Miep Gies, the Gentile friend who helped hide Anne Frank and her family in the small attic apartment in Amsterdam until they were caught and murdered by the Nazis.  This was a momentous event in our family.  Gies was in Cleveland to deliver an evening speech. I interviewed her earlier in the day. When she found out I had a young daughter, she asked whether she could meet her, so I brought Caitlin to her speech that evening.  My daughter was mesmerized by this tiny but mighty hero, and the next day she asked to read Anne Frank's diary.
Barcelona and Cambrils: Bigger Attacks Were Prepared

Police say that the suspects in the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils were planning one or more bigger attacks than those that were carried out.  Catalonia's police chief said blasts in a town south of Barcelona on Wednesday deprived the plotters of bomb material, forcing them to carry out simpler attacks using vehicles to ram crowds.  Police are seeking Moussa Oukabir,  thought to be 17, suspected of carrying out Thursday's Barcelona attack.  Thirteen people died in Las Ramblas.
1 American Killed; 1 Injured in Terrorist Attack

The U.S. State Department said that at least one American was killed and one was injured in the recent terror attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils, Spain.  In remarks to State Department staff in Washington, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed the death and expressed condolences to the victim's family. 
Continued Reading
The Last Word
"They killed my child to shut her up. 
Well, guess what? You just magnified her."

Susan Bro, mother of Heather Heyer, who was killed in Charlottesville, VA while protesting a racist rally.

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 to Rep. Schiff
for outstanding leadership
Tuesday, October 17
Chicago, IL
Watch for details
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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