January 11, 2019

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With Senator Mark Warner (D-VA). (l to r: Betsy Sheerr, Mark Warner, Linda Rae Sher, Elizabeth Frost, Joyce Amico)
With Rep. Katie Porter (CA-45). (l to r: Sarah Lavin, Marcia Balonick, Betsy Sheerr, Katie Porter, Kristine Schanbacher, Jacki Parmacek, Kyle Seay, Lisa Lavin)
With Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-1). (l to r: Lisa Lavin, Ann Kirkpatrick, Sarah Lavin, Kristine Schanbacher, Kyle Seay, Jacki Parmacek)
With Rep. Andy Levin  (MI-9). (l to r: Jacki Parmacek, Kristine Schanbacher, Andy Levin, Sarah Lavin, Kyle Seay, Lisa Lavin)
With Rep. Susie Lee (NV-3). (l to r: Kristine Schanbacher, Jacki Parmacek, Hollis Wein, Susie Lee, Sarah Lavin, Kyle Seay, Lisa Lavin)

As of today, the government shutdown is entering its 21st day with little end in sight. The effects, which are growing, can be felt across the country in nearly every aspect of our lives. The impact will only intensify as the shutdown drags on. Americans are hurting.

This week in a procedural vote Senate Democrats voted against bringing several foreign policy bills held over from 2018 to the Senate floor a vote. These bills included an anti-BDS bill and a funding bill for Israel. The bills had bipartisan support last year but needed to be reintroduced after they stalled in Congress.

Many Democrats voted no because they want all legislative business on hold until the Senate votes on House-passed bills to completely reopen the federal government. The Democrats see the reopening of the government as Congress' number one priority.  

This move in no way undermines Democrats strong support for the U.S.-Israel relationship, nor does it signal their support for BDS.

The BDS movement seeks to delegitimize Israel and undermine its right to exist. More than half of the states in the country have enacted their own anti-BDS bill. Sens. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Rob Portman (D-OH) introduced the Israel Anti-Boycott Act to protect U.S. business from being pressured into complying with unsanctioned foreign boycotts.

Even Sen.Cardin favored holding off on voting on his BDS bill. "We can't simply proceed with business as usual. Reopening the government must be our first priority," he has said.

The Cardin-Portman bill originally raised concerns about freedom of speech issues. They made changes to the bill to address these issues. Still there are organizations such as the ACLU that remain critical of the bill's language.

Attempts to fight BDS and to strengthen support for Israel should never be political pawns in budget battles. The Jewish community must stand strong against those that seek to use Israel as a wedge issue under any circumstance.

Stay informed with JAC.

Do you know a high school or college student who would like to intern at JAC during the school year or next summer? Call the JAC office at 847.433.5999 about opportunities.

GOP Tries to Embarrass Democrats by Pushing Israel Vote During Shutdown    
Senate Democrats blocked a bill sponsored by Republican Senator Marco Rubio that includes aid for Israel and also controversial curbs on supporting the movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel. The vote was 56-44 in favor of proceeding to a vote but 60 votes were needed under Senate rules. Many Democrats - including nearly all of the several senators presumed to be contemplating presidential runs - had sworn to work against any measure that doesn't end the government shutdown, and so cast "no" votes.  
Continued Reading

Senators Call to Recognize Israeli Rule Over Golan Heights

Jews Are Tweeting with the Special Anti-Semitism Hashtag, and It's Horrifying 
A call from a British Rabbi for Jewish Twitter users to share their #FirstAntisemiticExperience has yielded a surge of painful memories on the social media site. The hashtag has succeeded in demonstrating that the problem of anti-Semitism is "universal," says Rabbi Solomons, noting that examples range from outright violence to subtle prejudice. 
Where U.S. Battles over Abortion Will Play out in 2019

With Democrats now in control of the U.S. House of Representatives, it might appear that the fight over abortion rights has become a standoff. After all, abortion-rights supporters within the Democratic caucus will be in a position to block the kind of curbs that Republicans advanced over the past two years when they had control of Congress. But those on both sides of the debate insist that won't be the case.
Continued Reading

Conservative Evangelicals Attempt to Disentangle Their Faith from Trumpism

Despite mounting scandal in the Trump Administration, Jerry Falwel, Jr. continues to defend the President and his policies. He told the Washington Post, "I almost laugh out loud when I hear Democrats saying things like 'Jesus said suffer the little children to come unto me' and try to use that as the reason we should open up our borders." Karen Swallow Prior stands at the vanguard of a new movement of Christians looking to reclaim their faith from the regressive politics that have co-opted it. 
Continued Reading

Background Check Bill Marks Gun Control as a Priority for House Democrats

Emboldened House Democrats, seeking a politically charged debate on gun control, unveiled legislation on Tuesday to expand background checks to nearly all firearms purchases, a move timed to mark the eighth anniversary of the mass shooting in Arizona that nearly killed former Representative Gabrielle Giffords.
Continued Reading

The Government Shutdown's Impact so Far
The federal government is well into its third week of a partial shutdown, and President Donald Trump appears no closer to a deal with Democratic leaders to reopen several key agencies. As a result, more and more government functions are faltering, and an estimated 800,000 federal employees are facing the prospect of missing their first paychecks of 2019.
Announcing the Winners of the 2018 National Jewish Book Awards
The Jewish Book Council announced today the winners of the 2018 National Jewish Book Awards, now in its 68th year. The winners include the Everett Family Foundation Book of the Year recipients Beate and Serge Klarsfeld for their work Hunting the Truth (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). This year, the inaugural Biography Award in Memory of Sara Berenson Stone goes to Ariel Burger for his work Witness: Lessons from Elie Wiesel's Classroom (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).   
Introducing JACII, a JAC group for young professionals, advocates, and those young at heart who are looking to get involved. Groups have started in Detroit, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

Events will feature elected officials and speakers in lively settings. JACII is by and for young people. Now is the perfect time to get involved.

Know someone who would be interested in joining or hosting a meeting? Let us know at info@jacpac.org. We will be happy to help organize a JACII in your city.
The Last Word
"This (HR8) is not a bill for show, but a bill for go."

Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) and chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, who introduced HR8, a universal background check bill for all gun sales.  
Join JAC in Washington, D.C. for our  
Annual Conference
March 13-14
(Want to host a JAC event? Contact the office and we will help organize it. 847.433.5999 or info@jacpac.org) 
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 contributes over $200 in a calendar year. 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.