May 12, 2017
JAC member Diane Halivni at our Senate Lunch during JAC's 2017 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. Read her remarks on the trip below.
Week In Review Commentary
Confess ions of A Political Newbie
About 11 p.m. on election night, as red state after red state covered the t.v. screen, a wave of anxiety spread over me. My daughters looked at me and mirrored my disbelief. "But Mom, you said she (Hillary) was going to win..."

I had no frame of reference for this. I did not know what to say. I had never followed politics before. But I knew it was time to finally get informed and get involved. I noticed that online groups were forming and national marches were being planned. I started to make charts to learn who was in office, and joined JAC's research committee. My assignment: to follow the special election races in Kansas' 4th, Atlanta's 6th and Montana's at-large districts. I got right to work.

But I wanted to do even more, so I decided it was to travel with JAC to its Washington, D.C. conference. When I returned home, I was filled with exuberance and energy from my meetings with representatives and senators. This was exactly the antidote I needed.

After briefings and lunch meetings with some of my new favorite Senators: Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA); and private appointments with over 70 Members on the Hill, my friendship circle is wider, and my faith in democracy is restored.

Another one of JAC's friends, Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), shook my hand that day and said, "Montana is grateful for your hard work. Your presence in Washington is making a difference".

I am indebted to JAC's leadership team for this first time and first-hand political experience and grateful for JAC's impact on and off the Hill. I cannot believe how lucky I am. My involvement with JAC is making a difference and I hope even more people will chose to get involved with JAC. We can not afford to sit on the sidelines.  

Diane Halivni 
Deerfield, IL 

Take Action
Calling Congress Effectively 

Key Points to Remember When Contacting Congress:
    • Ask for the staff member in charge of the issue. "Hi, I'd like to talk to the staff member in charge of Healthcare, please."
    • Give your zip code. Not all ask for it, but give it anyway so they can track it. 
    • Make the call personal if you can. "I voted for you and I am happy/worried/disappointed/etc." or "I am a ________, and I approve/disagree with ________'s appointment/vote/etc."
    • Pick one topic a day and call on that.
    • BE CLEAR. "I am disappointed in Senator X's vote on ____." "I want to thank Rep. Y for vote on ____." "I urge Sen Z to vote ___ on ___ because _____."


Try to  Make 6 Calls a Day  (It only takes 10 minutes!)

    • Call the DC and local offices for each of your 2 Senators
    • Call the DC and local offices for your 1 Representative


Tell Your Senator:
Stand up for Women -- The ACA Must Protect Women

Together we can #MakeSomeNoise and tell Congrees #WeAgree or #WeDISAGEE with their votes.

Not sure who to call?
Israel's Nationality Bill Passes Preliminary Vote

On Wednesday, the bill passed its preliminary Knesset reading when 48 lawmakers voted in favor of the bill, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and 41 opposed it after a heated debate. Three Joint Arab List MKs were expelled for disrupting the debate. The controversial bill holds that Israel is "the national home of the Jewish people" and that the right to realize self-determination in the state is unique to them. It further revokes Arabic as an official language, though "its speakers have the right to language-accessible state services." The bill does not subordinate democracy to the state's Jewish character, as did an earlier version.    
'Abbas Has Decided to Sign Peace Deal With Israel'

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has crossed the Rubicon and voiced "unprecedented" readiness to reach a peace deal with Israel, sources close to the efforts to renew talks between Israel and the Palestinians have said. Abbas, according to the sources, made this clear to President Donald Trump during their meeting at the White House last week. The president plans to use his trip to Israel later this month to receive assurances from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he, too, is committed to a peace agreement.
The Nine Challenges Facing Israel

Not since the creation of the State of Israel has the country found itself in such an advantageous position. While a genuine peace settlement with the Palestinians remains a distant mirage and the threat from Iran is ever present, Israel has emerged as a regional superpower, both militarily and economically. And now, finally, the United States seems willing to exert its muscle to neutralize the overtly biased behavior of the international community toward the Jewish state. But we still face major challenges, which can be summarized as follows:  
Continued Reading

Standing Strong With Israel, Our Closest Ally
by Rep. Jacky Rosen (NV-3) 

If you ask foreign policy experts about the origins of the so-called Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, they will tell you it started in 2005. However, the unfortunate reality is that the roots of this misguided campaign which uses propaganda and economic pressure to sanction Israel goes as far back as 1930s Europe, when economic marginalization preluded the Holocaust. Despite this fact, just last year the United Nations joined the effort to put economic pressure on Israel via sanctions.
Anti-Semitism In Canada Is On The Rise, Audit Shows  

B'nai Brith Canada, which has been tracking anti-Semitic incidents for 35 years, said 1,728 anti-Semitic incidents were reported across the country last year - a 26 per cent increase from 2015 and the highest number the group has ever recorded. "That means an average of four to five incidents of anti-Semitic harassment, vandalism or violence occurring every day in our country, a country where we pride ourselves as being one of the most tolerant in the world,'' said the group's CEO Michael Mostyn.
Continued Reading

One in Six Women Will Lose Under GOP Health Policy

A recently proposed amendment to the Republican health-care bill that passed in the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday effectively allows health insurance providers to raise premiums on the basis of pre-existing conditions. Among the many people affected by this amendment, sexual assault survivors would be disproportionately harmed, as they often need both acute and preventive medical care in the aftermath of their trauma.  
Taking Away Women's Health Care Is Not 'Pro-Life'

For all their talk about being the "pro-life" party, House Republicans struck a deathblow to their own anti-abortion platform with the passing of the American Health Care Act (AHCA). The move to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA; commonly known as Obamacare) is the biggest and most egregious affront to a pro-life stance that we've seen from this Congress and administration, and it happened at the hands of the Republicans themselves.
With His Latest Appointees, Trump Is Quietly, Effectively Coming for Your Reproductive Freedom

The moment Trump was elected, reproductive rights activists and feminists started counting down the days until life as we knew it was over. Yet the huge, watershed events many of us expected after his inauguration haven't happened. Instead, Trump's attack on choice has been far more corrosive and subtle than most of us expected. Rather than making big, polarizing moves, Trump is hand-selecting some of the nation's most extreme anti-choice activists and placing them in the precise government positions where they can do the most damage.
Continued Reading

Under Texas Adoption Law, Gays, Jews, Muslims Could Soon Be Prohibited From Adopting Children

The bill will let both state-funded as well as private organizations make decisions about prospective parents based on their religious beliefs, meaning that couples who are gay, Jewish, Muslim or interfaith could be rejected when seeking to take care of a child. The bill could also affect people who have been divorced and remarried, or those who are single. Additionally, the bill provides a legal cover for agencies that use "religious freedom" as the basis for making their decision.
Your Questions About the Separation of Church and State and the Johnson Amendment Answered

A recent executive order from President Trump has resurfaced issues of church and state separation. In #AskCokie, commentator Cokie Roberts talks about the history of religion and politics in the U.S.
I Want a Gun Policy to Defend Myself - from Suicide

I am not prohibited from purchasing firearms, but I would like to be. Not because I am a danger to anyone else - because I am at an increased risk for suicide. Though ill-informed politicians on both sides of the aisle often incorrectly blame mental illness for interpersonal violence and mass shootings, research shows the real risk associated with mental illness and guns is suicide. Suicides comprise nearly two-thirds of all gun deaths in the United States, and the large majority of those who die by suicide experienced symptoms of mental illness prior to their death.    
Trump Has Just Begun Massively Reshaping American Appeals Courts

Trump will have considerable power to use his Republican Senate majority, and the 50-vote threshold that Democrats established for lower court judgeships in 2013, to move the lower courts solidly to the right over the next four years. If he's committed, and if he nominates people fast enough, there's little that can stand in his way. Monday nominees are expected to be part of "near monthly waves of nominations." If Trump keeps up this pace and no one else retires, then he'll have nominees for every vacant federal judgeship by May 2018.
Continued Reading

Senators on Defensive Over All-Male Healthcare Panel

U.S. Senate Republicans are on the defensive over the absence of any women in their core working group.  After a meeting of the Senate healthcare group, lawmakers were bombarded with questions as to why no women were named to the 13-man panel. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to explain. Democrats pounced. Republican men are negotiating "a secret healthcare plan, which I really hope is not happening in the men's locker room," said Senator Patty Murray, a member of the Democratic leadership from Washington state.
Read Full Article
James Comey, Fired By Trump And Reviled By Democrats, Had Admirers Among Jewish Defense Officials

"You make us better," James Comey told the Anti-Defamation League in his final public speech as FBI director. Among the folks whose business it is to keep Jews safe - like those gathered Monday in the Mayflower for the ADL's leadership summit - admiration for Comey was fairly unequivocal. To a degree greater than most of his predecessors, he made the Jewish story central to the FBI mission. Comey required all FBI staffers to undergo a tour of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. 
Trump's New 'Voter Fraud' Commission: A Tool to Help GOP Win Elections

President Trump signed an executive order creating what he is calling a "presidential advisory commission on election integrity." But no one should be fooled: the purpose of this commission is to provide ammunition for Republican efforts at the state and federal level to suppress the votes of Democrats.  
Continued Reading

First Person Essay: Anna Levenberg

As soon as I picked up the phone, I could instantly hear the enthusiasm in my grandmother's voice. Before she could finish asking her question, my answer was yes. I was giddy with excitement as I boarded the plane to D.C. for JAC's Annual Conference and couldn't wait to spend the next two days lobbying on Capitol Hill. Being with my grandmother made the experience more meaningful, and as I listened to her speak to Congressman Joseph Kennedy lll, I was filled with pride. I was impressed with the determination of my grandmother to explain JAC's positions to our congressmen, senators, and representatives. Hearing my grandmother speak, along with the other women in my group, with such willpower and purpose, inspired me to stay involved with JAC and continue to advocate for what I believe in.

Anna's grandmother, Claire has been a longtime JAC member and is a former president of JAC. They attended JAC's recent Washington, D.C. meeting together for the first time.
Fidget Spinner Was Invented to Stop Palestinian Kids from Throwing Rocks at Israelis

Do we have Palestinian rock throwers to thank for the fidget spinner? The inventor of the ubiquitous stress-reducing toy, Catherine Hettinger, says she came up with the idea during a trip to Israel in the 1980s, during the First Intifada, as a way to distract the "young boys throwing rocks at police officers." She first brainstormed the gadget while visiting her sister in the Jewish state and hearing about the clashes between Palestinian youth and Israeli security. "It started as a way of promoting peace."   
Continued Reading
The Last Word
"I promise you if we had 51 percent of women in Congress, we wouldn't be debating whether women should have access to contraception; whether they should be charged more for health care; or whether we should have a national (family) paid leave act... and we wouldn't have to fight so hard for these basic rights."

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Talking Points IL
Wednesday, May 17th
9:30 am
Dan Gross
President, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
Highland Park, IL


Cocktail Reception in support of
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Thursday, May 18th
 6 pm
contact the JAC office for details

July 10th
JAC's Summer Spectacular
Cookbook Author Joan Nathan &
Johanna Mendelson-Forman, Ph.D., J.D.

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. 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.