January 8, 2016

JAC was honored to host Charlie Cook in Palm Beach this week for a special "Cocktails and Conversation" Event
Our host Betsy Sheerr with Rep. Patrick Murphy (FL-18) and political commentator Charlie Cook

JAC Members attend Cocktails and Conversation with 
 Charlie Cook (l to r: Nancy Kramer, Jan Ball, Ronna Taub, 
 and Gail Yamner)

January 12
Talking Points:  A Jewish Discussion 
on the Issues of Today
At the Home of Hollis Wein
Deerfield, IL

Join us with special guests Rabbi Wendi Geffen and Rabbi Debra Newman Kamin as we look at today's political issues through a Jewish lens: Israel, abortion, gun violence prevention, immigration, climate change and more.

For more information, contact the JAC office at 
847-433-5999 or [email protected]

Want to host a JAC event? Contact the JAC office for speakers, ideas, and assistance.

January 15

Three Opportunities to Meet 
Chelsea Clinton

9:00 - 11:00 AM 
Hosted by Kevin Conlon
Conlon & Dunn Public Strategies  
Chicago, IL
(address provided upon RSVP) 

Contribution Levels
Friend: $500 

Event Co-Host: Contribute $2,700 or Raise $5,000
(Includes Host Reception with Chelsea)
12:00 - 2:00 PM 
at The Home of Trisha Rooney
Hosted by Trisha Rooney, Nora Daley, Amalia Mahoney, Holly Maloney, M.K. Pritzker, and Linda Johnson Rice 
Chicago, IL
(address provided upon RSVP) 
Contribution Levels
Friend: $1,000
(Includes Photo with Chelsea)

Event Co-Host: Contribute $2,700 or Raise $10,000
(Includes Host Reception with Chelsea)

5:00 - 7:00 PM 
at Studio Paris
Host Committee in Formation
Chicago, IL
(address provided upon RSVP) 
Contribution Levels
Attendee: $100
(Limited Availability)

Guest: $250

Co-Host: $500
(Includes photo with Chelsea)

Host: Contribute $1,500 or Raise $10,000
(Includes Host Reception with Chelsea)

Reception with
Senate Candidate &  Rep. Chris Van Hollen (MD-8) 
January 21
details to follow

Coffee with
Senate Candidate Russ Feingold (D-WI)
March 15
Highland Park, IL
details to follow

  For more information and to RSVP, contact the JAC office at 847-433-5999 or [email protected]


Tell Congress to FINISH THE JOB and pass legislation to expand background checks and keep guns from the mentally ill, domestic abusers and suspected terrorists.

Join with Hillary

Meet the Members

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (MD- 8) 

Rep. Chris Van Hollen was elected to Congress in 2002 and quickly earned a reputation as an active, engaged, and effective member of the House of Representatives. He is running to fill the Senate seat of retiring JAC friend, Sen. Barbara Mikluski (D-MD).

He has co-sponsored legislation that enhances  the relationship between the U.S. and Israel.  He has said, "We need to maintain this special relationship based on shared values, common strategic interests and moral bonds of friendship."  As a strong proponent of the US-Israel Strategic Partnership Act, Van Hollen is committed to helping Israel better meet the new security challenges it faces in the region.

Throughout his time in Congress, Van Hollen has earned a 100 percent pro-choice rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America. JAC can count on him to protect reproductive freedom for all women.  He has worked to improve access to contraception and has said it "should be a shared national goal" and not a political issue.  JAC is throwing its support behind Van Hollen. He will be an important champion of JAC's issues in the Senate. 
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Israel & the Middle East
The Four Times Obama & Netanyahu Worked Together  
PBS' "Frontline" aired "Netanyahu at War" last night, and there's a lot of social media buzz about the nearly 2-hour documentary, which chronicles Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's career and then veers into his relationship with President Barack Obama.
John Kerry: Iran may be 'days away' from implementing nuclear deal 
Iran may be "days away" from complying with last summer's nuclear deal, US secretary of state John Kerry has said, a step that would compel the US and other western nations to immediately suspend many sanctions on the Islamic republic. The landmark could usher in a new phase in the budding US-Iranian rapprochement.

Photo by Rick Wilking/Reuters

Hillary Clinton Taking the US Israel Relationship to the Next Level
In this time of terrorism and turmoil, the alliance between the United States and Israel is more important than ever.  To meet the many challenges we face, we have to take our relationship to the next level. Israel needs a strong America by its side, and America needs a strong and secure Israel by our side.

Second Ranking House Democrat Enforcement of Iran Deal Hurt By Us Through Inaction on Missile Tests
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D - Md.), the Democratic whip of the House of Representatives, expressed disappointment with the Obama administration for indefinitely delaying punitive sanctions on Iran over its illicit ballistic missile program, arguing that failure to act will erode the United States' ability to enforce the nuclear deal with Tehran. 

Report: Adelson Offered US $1 Billion to Fund Iron Dome Batteries
The Las Vegas-based casino magnate contacted the White House in 2013 through his home state senator, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., then the majority leader, Politico reported Thursday. The offer was declined.
Anti-Semitism & BDS
BDS and the Rising Danger of Intersectionality
If you want to understand why the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, or BDS, has gained so much ground in the past two years, look no further than intersectionality, the study of related systems of oppression. Intersectionality holds that various forms of oppression - racism, sexism, classism, ableism, and homophobia - constitute an intersecting system of oppression.  
Reproductive Rights
Oregon Became the First State to Allow Women to Get Birth Control Without a Prescription
Oregon's new bill stipulates that women over the age of 18 will be able to receive hormonal birth control (in the form of a pill or patch) with approval from the pharmacist. Women under the age of 18 need to have "evidence of a previous prescription," according to the bill. A separate law allows women to get a full year's supply of birth control per visit. 

South Carolina Bill Targets Viagra, Gets People Talking About Anti-Choice Laws
State Rep. Mia McLeod (D-Richland) pre-filed a bill in December mandating that men seeking medication for erectile dysfunction jump through the same legal hoops as women seeking basic reproductive health care, including abortion care. 

Indiana GOP Heartbeat Act Ban Abortion at Six Weeks
Indiana's 2016 legislative sessions began this week, and one Indiana lawmaker has introduced legislation that would prohibit abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which could be as early as six weeks' gestation. Sponsored by state Sen. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City),  SB 144  would make it a felony to "perform or induce an abortion before determining whether the unborn human individual has a detectable heartbeat," and after a heartbeat has been detected.

How the Supreme Court could affect the 2016 election and choice
As much as the Supreme Court justices dislike political labels, its rulings will undoubtedly thrust it into the center of the presidential race with decisions coming up on abortion, contraceptive coverage, affirmative action, organized labor, voting rights and possibly immigration. 
More Than 100 Lawyers Tell The Supreme Court Why Their Abortions Mattered
Women from virtually every corner of the legal profession told the Supreme Court on Monday why their decisions to seek abortions earlier in life meant the world to who they are today.
Separation of Religion & State
Lawmaker Makes Video Plea for Non-Christians to Convert on Taxpayers Dime
At first glance, the video looks innocent enough - a 50-year-old man, standing before a Christmas tree quoting the Bible and offering a religious Christmas greeting in which he urges non-Christians to convert to Christianity.   The video loses its innocence, however, when one learns the speaker is Rep. Scott Allen, a Republican member of the Wisconsin Assembly, and that the video was shot in a state-owned studio in the Wisconsin Capitol and emailed to constituents and others via a state email system.   "The religious message is astounding," said Marc Stern, general counsel at the American Jewish Committee. "It's been some time since I've seen something that far over the line."

Rep. Scott Allen from Wisconsin creates religious Christmas greeting using a state-owned studio and emailed constituents and others via a state email system.
Beyond the Core
Barack Obama: Guns Are Our Shared Responsibility
A national crisis like this (gun violence) demands a national response. Reducing gun violence will be hard. It's clear that common-sense gun reform won't happen during this Congress. It won't happen during my presidency. Still, there are steps we can take now to save lives. And all of us - at every level of government, in the private sector and as citizens - have to do our part.

Here is How Obama's Most Controversial New Action On Guns Really Works. It's Fairly Modest
President Obama rolled out his new executive actions on guns , and the action that is most likely to generate a lot of noisy controversy and criticism is the one designed to expand federal background checks to gun sales that were previously not covered by them. Yet, based on what we know now, it actually may prove to be a fairly modest change - both legally and in substantive terms. Here is how it works. 

Ammon Bundy_ right_ meets Thursday with Harney County_ Oregon_ Sheriff David Ward along a road near Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. Jim Urquhart _ Reuters
Ammon Bundy, right, meets Thursday with Harney County, Oregon, Sheriff David Ward along a road near Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.
Photo by Jim Urquhart / Reuters

Why Aren't We Calling the Oregon "Occupiers" Terrorists?
As of Sunday afternoon, The Washington Post called them " occupiers ." The New York Times opted for " armed activists " and "militia men." News reports were not using the word "terrorists".

United States Posted Its Second-Hottest year on record in 2015
Government scientists reported NOAA said 2015 was the 19th consecutive year that the annual average U.S. temperature was above the 20th century average. There also were 10 extreme weather and climate events, each of which resulted in more than $1 billion in damages and 155 deaths.

Jewish Groups Back Gun Control
Jewish groups praised new executive actions by President Barack Obama to reduce gun violence. Many of these groups, which also believe that Congress must act as well,  were present at the announcement of the initiatives. 
Political Byte
Obama Vetoes Health Bill Repeal
President Obama on Friday vetoed legislation that would repeal much of ObamaCare, the first such measure to reach his desk since it became law in 2010. Obama used his veto pen without fanfare on a legislation package rolling back is signature health care law and stripping Federal Funding from Planned Parenthood.
2016 Presidential Candidates: Where They Stand 
National Journal has rounded up the positions of the 2016 presidential contenders on some of today's most important political issues. We'll continue to add content as the election cycle rolls along, so stay tuned for new posts and updates as candidates change or clarify their stances.
The 8 Causes of Trumpism
However the Republican presidential primary turns out, the conditions that fostered the mogul's rise have left their mark on the party-and America.
Reid: Dems Will Win the Senate in 2016
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is projecting confidence that Democrats will win back the upper chamber in this year's elections.  "We need to pick up four seats come November, and I think we're headed in that direction for sure," he told reporters during a press conference on Monday. 

Being Less Crazy Than Donald Trump Does Not Make Marco Rubio 'Moderate'
Because Rubio has found himself principally challenged by Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, who are running campaigns based purely on gratifying Republican base instincts, his strategy has magnified the contrast to the point where Rubio's principal ideological identifier is now "moderate." There is no sense in which that description is true - not in relation to modern Republican politics, and perhaps not even in relation to his allegedly more extreme opponents.

Rep. Steve Israel, Confessions of A Congressman

It's now safe to pick up your phones and read your emails. That's right, I won't be calling to ask you to donate to my congressional campaign. As I announced on Tuesday, I'll be leaving Congress at the end of this term - sentimental about many things, but liberated from a fund-raising regime that's never been more dangerous to our democracy.


Photo Courtesy of FoxtrotAlpha

Israel Ready to Launch Flying Vehicle
Israel's Urban Aeronautics has been working on a concept for a truck-sized flying machine that can go places where even helicopters can't for over decade. After fifty years of development, it is becoming a reality. The flying craft machine could extract wounded soldiers in enemy territory.

Inspired by Grandparents' Holocaust Survival, Japanese Man Enlists in IDF
Daniel Tomohiro is not the typical Israeli soldier. His Hungarian grandparents survived the Holocaust, made aliyah, and fought in Israel's War of Independence, but they then moved to Australia, where his mother met and married a Japanese man and moved to Iwata, Japan. Now Tomohiro has come full circle and is serving in the Israel Defense Forces, undergoing basic training with the Nahal Brigade's 50th Battalion. 

Our members count on JACPAC to provide information on current events, candidates, and elections.  JACPAC depends on membership support to make this possible.


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 


better jac logo
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.