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JCPA Insider
Volume 11, Number 39
November 17, 2008

 

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In This Issue
Iran Initiative
JCPA/UJC Israel Advocacy Initiative
Save Darfur
This Week in Washington
Congratulations
JCPA Programs

 

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JCPA speaks to you each week, alerting you to what the community relations field is doing to safeguard the rights of Jews here, in Israel, and around the world and to protect, preserve and promote a just, democratic and pluralistic American society. For three generations, we have brought together diverse voices in the Jewish community to unite a strong Jewish public policy force.

We hope you will continue to enjoy our three weekly emails.

 

About Us
The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), the united voice of the organized Jewish community, was formally established as National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council (NJCRAC) in 1944 by the Council of Jewish Federations. NJCRAC, designed to be the public affairs branch of the organized Jewish community, changed its name in 1997 to the Jewish Council for Public Affairs to more accurately reflect its mission.

For over half a century, the JCPA has served as an effective mechanism to identify issues, formulate policy, develop strategies and programs, and has given expression to a strongly united Jewish communal voice. By virtue of the JCPA's unique position and structure, our ability to reach out and motivate Jews and non-Jews alike to action is unparalleled. Through our network of 14 national and 125 local equal and independent partner agencies, the JCPA serves as a catalyst that heightens community awareness, encourages civic and social involvement, and deliberates key issues of importance to the Jewish community.
Iran Initiative
IAEA Chief Confirms Traces of Uranium Found at Syria Site.  International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohammed ElBaradei confirmed for the first time on November 17 that samples taken from a Syrian site bombed by Israel last year, suspected to have been a nuclear facility, contained traces of uranium.  ElBaradei said that the UN nuclear watchdog needs more transparency from Syria and other nations to determine whether traces of uranium found at the site indicate Damascus was building a nuclear reactor there.  "It's not highly enriched uranium.  It could have come from so many different ways," ElBaradei told reporters in Dubai.  "That's why we're looking at so many different scenarios."  Read the article from Ha'aretz here.
JCPA/UJC Israel Advocacy Initiative
Israeli and Indonesian Emergency Services to Cooperate.  Israeli know-how in emergency medical services is perhaps one of the country's least-known exports.  Magen David Adom (MDA), the National Medical Emergency Society of the State of Israel, is one of several organizations that regularly send delegations to aid not only in disaster relief, but to train EMS teams before disaster strikes.  Last week marked another milestone for MDA when Dr. Sudibyo Markus, the head of Indonesia's Muhammadiyah organization, arrived in Israel last week on an official visit to establish cooperation between his organization and Magen David Adom.  Official visits between Indonesia and Israel are rare as the countries do not have diplomatic ties.  Read the full story from Israel21c.

GA Special Report/Olmert.  World Must Confront Iran's Malevolence.  Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said November 16 that the world must "confront Iran's malevolence" and stop the Muslim country from developing nuclear weapons.  Olmert was speaking to the United Jewish Communities General Assembly (GA), an annual conference of thousands of participants from North America, held in Jerusalem this year.  The GA, generally held in the United States and Canada, was last convened in Israel five years ago.  "Iran has not terminated its pursuit of nuclear weapons.  Iran has not ceased its funding and training of terrorists in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority, and around the world," the prime minister told the cheering crowd.  Iran has not stopped its pursuit of regional hegemony and creating chaos in this tormented region." he continued.  "We must unite our forces as part of the international community, led by the United States of America.  We must confront Iran's malevolent diligence and thwart it with great force."  Click here to read the article from Ha'aretz.
Save Darfur
Darfur Refugees Seek Justice Over Peace.  Refugees in this crowded camp - where mass graves hold the victims of one of the bloodiest Sudanese government attacks against them - see little hope in a new drive for peace aimed at ending the nearly six-year war in Darfur. What they want is justice.  For many of the refugees, that means putting Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on trial for genocide.  Khalthoum Adam, a 50-year-old woman in Kalma Camp, says that peace deal or no, without a trial she won't return to her home village not far from Kalma. She fears violence by Arab camel herders she says are still holding the land she and her family were driven out of by attacking planes and government militia five years ago.  Click here to read the entire article from the Associated Press.
This Week in Washington

This Week in Washington.  This week Congress returns to Washington for the lame-duck session.  Several economic proposals will be debated over the next few days.  Further, the Senators and Representatives from both parties will choose their leadership for the 111th Congress.  President Bush is in Washington, after hosting the G-20 economic summit.  The Supreme Court will only be session one day this week and will not hear oral arguments.  

Congressional Leadership.  This week, Members of Congress will choose their new leadership.  Many of the officers are expected to say the same.  Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) will maintain their roles.  House Minority Leader John Boehner will run for reelection for his leadership post.  He faces a challenge from Dan Lungren (R-CA).  In the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Majority Whip Dick Durban (D-IL) are both expected to retain their posts.  Likewise Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Whip John Kyl are expected to remain in their positions.  

Lame Duck Action on Stimulus and Emergency Funding for Auto Industry. This week, Congress will convene a lame-duck session to consider legislation that would provide emergency funding for the auto industry and temporarily extend unemployment benefits. Democrats had been pushing a broader based stimulus package that would include measures such as aid to the states and funding for infrastructure, but were unable to find enough votes to overcome the threat of a filibuster. Therefore, the focus this week will be on building consensus on the need to extend unemployment insurance and a debate over whether or not to provide a $25 billion lifeline to American auto companies such as General Motors, Chrysler and Ford. One of the key points of debate is whether or not the aid to automakers would be a loan, a grant, and whether it would constitute part of the $700 billion rescue package passed earlier this fall or take an existing $25 billion loan intended to help Detroit produce more fuel-efficient cars and convert it into a different type of loan. The House already voted 368-28 on October 3 on a bill (HR6867) to extend unemployment insurance, and it is this bill that will likely be offered as an amendment to the auto assistance bill in the Senate.

Landmark EPA Decision Halts Construction of Coal-Powered Plants. On Thursday, November 13, the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Environmental Appeals Board ruled that EPA must regulate carbon dioxide emissions that come from new coal-powered plants.  This decision will make it virtually impossible - at least in the short term - to certify new coal power plants, as the agency has not yet established Best Available Control Technologies for carbon dioxide.  Permitting cannot proceed until such standards are established, which will take six months to a year.

TAKE ACTION: Ask EPA to regulate Carbon Dioxide.  The Environmental Protection Agency has repeatedly refused to take meaningful steps to control Carbon Dioxide, insisting that it does not have the authority to do so.  The US Supreme Court rejected that argument last year, confirming that EPA has the authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act if they "endanger public health and welfare."   This landmark decision has caused the EPA to ask the public a very simple question:   Do greenhouse gases that cause global warming endanger public health and welfare?  Click here for guidelines on how to take action and click here to view COEJL's comments on this issue.

JTA Election Compilation.  The Jewish Telegraphic Agency has compiled a series of post-election news reports.  The compilation includes news and analysis about the Jewish vote, Jewish elected officials, and the challenges facing President-Elect Obama and Congressional leaders.  Click here to view a PDF.

Congratulations
Hadar Susskind.  Mazel tov to JCPA's Washington Director, Hadar Susskind, who was named to the Forward 50.  "Although almost everyone who's anyone on Capitol Hill and in Jewish federations knows Hadar Susskind, few understand his job title: Washington director of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.  He is the person in charge of translating Washington politics for Jewish communal leaders and bringing their concerns and priorities to the ears of politicians.  For the past two years, Susskind, 35, has been part of a drive to take Jewish advocacy to the field of social justice.  His work made the Jewish community a player in this year's effort to pass the new farm bill in Congress.  Jewish farmers are scarce, but Susskind focused on a little-known part of the bill dealing with food stamps, and became a driving force in bringing about passage of the bill and increases in assistance for thousands of families in need.  A former infantry soldier in an Israeli combat unit and a former kibbutznik, Susskind views himself as both American and Israeli.  His work has taken Jewish lobbying away from its foreign policy focus and has made the Jewish community a partner in the political debate on poverty, hunger and social assistance."  The entire article can be found at www.forward.com.
JCPA Plenum 2009

Professor Laurence Tribe to accept the 2009 Albert D. Chernin award.  Each year, the Albert D. Chernin Award is bestowed upon an American Jew whose work best exemplifies the social justice imperatives of Judaism, Jewish history, and the protection of The Bill of Rights, particularly the First Amendment.  This year, we will honor Professor Laurence Tribe in recognition for his tireless efforts to protect civil rights and individual liberties and the heroic work of your foundation in support of so many important causes in the areas of democracy and civic education, community building, and social service.  Professor Tribe will also speak about the challenges we face of balancing civil rights with national security, and how we, as Americans, can respect and advance international human rights, and what we can do to reform our criminal justice system.  

Laurence Tribe was born a Jewish refugee living in Shanghai before moving to the United States with his parents as a child.  Now, he is an American constitutional scholar and the Carl M. Loeb University Professor at the Harvard Law School.  In 2001 Tribe helped found the American Constitution Society and was long considered a possible Supreme Court nominee.  Tribe received his A.B. in math from Harvard in 1962 and graduated from Harvard Law School in 1966.  He clerked for Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart from 1967-1968 and became an Assistant Professor of Law at Harvard in 1968, where has taught ever since.  Tribe has argued over thirty cases before the Court, including the infamous Bush v. Gore in 2000, and is the author of Abortion: The Clash of Absolutes, American Constitutional Law, and co-author of On Reading the Constitution (with Michael Dorf).  Click here to view his biography/career highlights from the Harvard Law School website. 

To register, visit www.jcpaplenum.org.

JCPA Plenum 2009 -- New Faces....New Politics?
February 28 - March 3, 2009, Washington, D.C.

Contribute to JCPA

JCPA speaks to you each week, alerting you to what the community relations field is doing to safeguard the rights of Jews here, in Israel, and around the world and to protect, preserve and promote a just, democratic and pluralistic American society. For three generations, we have brought together diverse voices in the Jewish community to unite a strong Jewish public policy force.

We hope you will continue to enjoy our three weekly emails.

Contribute Now!

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