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Volume 11, Number 42
December 8, 2008

 

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In This Issue
Iran Initiative
JCPA/UJC Israel Advocacy Initiative
Save Darfur
This Week in Washington
Climate and Energy
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
Oil Firm Sidesteps Sanctions on Iran.  A Boston Globe investigative report found that Iran possesses a "2,000-pound drilling tool ... powered by a radioactive chemical that scientists say could fuel a so-called 'dirty bomb,'" that was brought to Iran "through a legal loophole that allows multinational corporations to use foreign subsidiaries to sidestep US sanctions."  To view the Boston Globe piece in its entirety, please click  here.
JCPA/UJC Israel Advocacy Initiative
Tel Aviv Parking Spaces Set to Charge Electric Cars.  Approximately 400 parking spaces in the Tel Aviv area have been wired to charge electric cars.  The charging stations are meant to power a fleet of cars being built in partnership with Palo Alto, California-based "Project Better Place" by the Renault-Nissan Alliance.  To view the complete article in Ha'aretz, please click here. 
 
New Israeli Startup Eases the Pain of Holiday Shopping.  ViewScore reads product consumer electronic reviews from over 1,500 sites on the internet and assigns a numerical score from 1-100 so consumers can decide whether or not to purchase the item.  The six-person Tel Aviv-based company has landed seed funding so far from private investors.  To learn more about this company on Israel21c, please click here
Save Darfur
Sudan Confirms Troop Build-up in Oil Region.  Sudan's government on Sunday confirmed it had moved troops to a volatile energy-rich central region, telling state media it wanted to halt "feverish attempts" to attack the area by Darfur rebels.  The deployment into South Kordofan raised tension in the province that contains key oil fields and borders some of Sudan's most sensitive areas, including the western Darfur region, southern Sudan and the contested town of Abyei.  The announcement came days after officials in semi-autonomous southern Sudan accused the north of building up a large force in South Kordofan over the past three weeks.  Read to read this entire article here.
This Week in Washington
This Week in Washington.  This week Congress will be in session for a lame duck session.  The Senate will convene on Monday; the House of Representatives will convene on Tuesday.  The auto bailout will be one of the most important items considered.  The Supreme Court will not hear oral arguments this week.  The President is in Washington this week.  

Obama's Economic Plan.  Appearing on "Meet the Press" this past Sunday, President-Elect Obama outlined key elements of his economic recovery plan.  Although he acknowledged that the economic situation will likely get worse before it gets better, he put forth over the weekend an infrastructure investment program that he believes will stimulate the economy in the short-term while laying the groundwork for long-term economic growth.  Components of his infrastructure plan include investing in healthcare information technologies and electronic medical records, making schools more energy efficient, and providing funding to states for "shovel-ready" projects.  Obama also indicated that he would focus on helping homeowners, possibly through a temporary moratorium on foreclosures and incentivizing banks and homeowners to renegotiate the terms of bad loans.

Auto Bailout.  This weekend negotiations continued between Congressional Democrats and the White House over the conditions and structure of a bailout for the Detroit automakers.  Congress is likely to pass a short-term $15 billion loan, which would then be supplemented by a broader restructuring of the auto industry next year, overseen by the government.  Government oversight could take the form of an auto "czar" or a board of government appointees.  Negotiations seem to be focused on using an existing loan (PL 110-114), initially designed to help automakers green their fleets, with that pot of money potentially replaced later.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will introduce a bill today to initiate the debate, and the House is expected to take up the issue tomorrow, December 9th.
Climate and Energy
International Climate Talks.  From December 1 - 12, nearly 11,000 representatives from 192 countries are meeting in Poznan, Poland, for the 14th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The 12-day negotiation will lay the groundwork for an international agreement to follow the Kyoto Protocol (post-2012) and acts as the halfway point between the 2007 meeting in Bali, Indonesia, and the December 2009 meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, at which time a new international climate treaty will be negotiated.  Senator John Kerry (D-MA), likely incoming chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is participating in the talks, along with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Rep. George Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.).  Senator Kerry's participation is noteworthy as his committee would be the first to debate any treaty that comes out of the United Nations process next year.  

Compromise Neared on Automobile Bailout.  Congressional leaders and White House negotiators are nearing a compromise on a bailout for Detroit carmakers, which will be considered by Congress this week in a lame-duck session.  The financial rescue package will likely tap into an existing $25 billion Energy Department auto loan program, which was created under last year's energy law to help carmakers retool their U.S. plants to meet new fuel economy standards.  The bailout will likely include substantial limits on executive compensation, an increase in corporate average fuel economy ("CAFÉ") standards, and a provision requiring carmakers to drop their legal challenge to California's efforts to enforce greenhouse gas tailpipe restrictions on cars and trucks.  This is a matter of particular concern to the Jewish community, which recently filed a "friend of the court" brief in the DC Circuit defending California's right to adopt such standards.  The House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming will meet this week to further consider the bailout.  Read the Jewish community brief supporting California's emissions standards here - http://www.coejl.org/~coejlor/action/Amici_Brief.php.

New Leadership for House Energy and Commerce Committee.  Earlier this month, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) won a historic vote (137-122), ousting long-time Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.) from his position of leadership.  This vote marks the end of Dingell's 28 years as the top Democrat on the Committee.  It is also a major shift for House Democrats, who traditionally rely on seniority to choose committee leaders.  Many are hopeful that the transition will strengthen efforts to pass national climate change legislation.  Waxman is the lead author of the "Safe Climate Act" (HR 1590), which seeks to curb US greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.  He also took the lead this fall on a "Dear Colleague" letter calling for stringent environmental regulations to address climate change.  The letter, which was signed by 151 other Members of Congress, was delivered to Speaker Nancy Pelosi on October 2, 2008.  Read the Dear Colleague letter elaborating the Principles on Global Warming Legislation here.
Congratulations
Rachel Lerner.  Mazel tov to former JCPA/UJC Israel Advocacy Intiative Director Rachel Lerner, who will become the Chief of Staff at J Street in Washington, D.C.
JCPA Programs
Plenum 2009.  Join us For a Reception on Capitol Hill For the 2009 Plenum Closing Session.  This year we conclude the 2009 JCPA Plenum with a closing program and reception on Capitol Hill.  Community and state delegates will meet with their members of Congress and then convene to hear about the new priorities of the 111th Congress.  Invitations have so far been extended to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as well as Congressional leadership on both sides of the aisle.  Visit www.jcpaplenum.org to register for the Plenum to join us for this special event!
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!

Please consider a gift of $500, $100, or any other amount that you can, so that JCPA can enhance our efforts to provide information and resources to your community, and to mobilize our national network in support of Israel and of all the public issues we care about so dearly. Click here to make a contribution to the JCPA. Contributions can also be sent to JCPA, 116 E. 27th, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10016 or click here and we will send you a contribution envelope.

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