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JCPA Insider
Volume 12, Number 1
January 5, 2009

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

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About JCPA

JCPA Homepage

JCPA Blog


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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) is the united voice of the organized Jewish community.  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.

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

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JCPA/UJC Israel Advocacy Initiative

The JCPA Speaks Out at the Beginning of the Crisis in Gaza.  The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) is standing behind Israel's efforts to extinguish weeks of sustained, daily rocket fire and mortar shell attacks from the Gaza Strip into Israel.  While JCPA has a strong record of supporting Israel in its quest to negotiate peace with the Palestinians, no country can be expected to absorb continuous and unrelenting violence.  Read Executive Director Rabbi Steve Gutow's statement from December 29, 2008 here.

The JCPA Speaks Out at the Beginning of the Crisis in Gaza.  The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) is standing behind Israel's efforts to extinguish weeks of sustained, daily rocket fire and mortar shell attacks from the Gaza Strip into Israel.  While JCPA has a strong record of supporting Israel in its quest to negotiate peace with the Palestinians, no country can be expected to absorb continuous and unrelenting violence.  Read Executive Director Rabbi Steve Gutow's statement from December 29, 2008 here - http://e-guana.net/organizations.php3?action=printContentItem&orgid=54&typeID=78&itemID=22861&User_Session=d95e0d27a096a08578db0487a1d9d6f0.

The IAI Responds to the Crisis in Gaza.  Since Israel's operation "Cast Lead" in Gaza began, the IAI has been monitoring the situation and proactively responding.  The IAI has convened conference calls, in partnership with the Conference of Presidents, featuring top Israeli officials such as MK Avi Dichter and MK Yitzchak Herzog, to offer the latest developments on the ground.   In the coming days, the IAI will host an Israel perspectives call with noted author Yossi Klein Halevi to engage our interfaith friends on the developments. 

The IAI has worked with dozens of individual communities to address local concerns.  The written materials that the IAI has disseminated include a press release supporting the Israeli operation in Gaza; comprehensive talking points, updated as developments unfold; a model op-ed piece on Israel's operation in Gaza focusing on its goals and Israel's humanitarian efforts towards the civilians in Gaza; a template of a letter to members of Congress; statements from U.S. officials on the crisis; and background information on the Israeli operation including op-eds, editorials and other analysis.  In addition, the IAI is spurring nationwide "Gatherings for Peace and Solidarity with Israel" events as well as coordinating an American Voices in Israel tour for bloggers, broadcast, and radio journalists.

The Israel Advocacy Initiative is updating its website continuously as developments unfold.  Please continue visit the IAI website here.

Recommended Reading.  On Sunday, January 4, 2009, Israeli Journalist Yossi Klein Halevi published "Why My Son Has to Fight" in the Washington Post.  In sharing his personal experiences about the current crisis in Gaza, he writes, "This is my first experience as the father of a soldier, and now, after 26 years of living in Israel, I finally understand the terrible responsibility of being an Israeli.  I had assumed that I'd become initiated into Israeliness when I myself was drafted into the army as a 34-year-old immigrant in 1989. But perhaps only now have I become fully Israeli.  Zionism promised to empower the Jews by making them responsible for their fate; the price for that achievement is to be prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for one's commitments.  Read his entire piece here.

Save Darfur
Statement by National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley.  Today, President Bush announced his approval of the airlift of equipment for the United Nations/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID). The President also authorized the waiver of the 15-day congressional notification requirements to allow the airlift assistance to proceed immediately, because failing to do so would pose a substantial risk to human health and welfare.

The U.S. provision of airlift will deliver equipment and vehicles that are critical to the UNAMID deployment, and will thus help UNAMID directly protect civilian lives and improve the safe and effective delivery of lifesaving humanitarian aid to areas of west Darfur currently inaccessible due to security concerns. Click here.
This Week in Washington
This Week in Washington.  This week Congress convenes for the first session of the 111th Congress.  The Democrats will control both chambers of Congress.  Several seats in the Senate are still disputed.  In Minnesota, legal challenges are expected after the State Canvassing Board meeting today to certify Al Franken as the winner of the U.S. Senate contest.  In Illinois, Governor Blagojevich, who has been arrested on corruption charges, has appointed former state Attorney General Roland Burris to fill President-elect Obama's Senate seat.  Senate Democrats have threatened not to seat any Blagojevich appointee because of the "tainted" appointment process.  It is unclear at this point if Burris will become a Senator from Illinois.  

President-elect Obama moved to Washington this weekend.  President-elect Obama is scheduled to meet with Congressional leaders this week about an economic recovery package.

The Supreme Court will meet for Conference this week, but will not hear any oral arguments.  Oral arguments will resume next week.

Economic Recovery Package.  Democrats in the House and Senate have revised the timing for passing an economic stimulus bill, predicting enactment in early February.  President-Elect Obama arrived in Washington, DC yesterday to discuss the contents of the bill with congressional leadership. The new timeline will leave time for public hearings on measures included on the stimulus and provide opportunities for Republicans to weigh in on the bill. The bill is expected to cost between $700 billion and $1 trillion dollars, and to include priorities such as: job creation through infrastructure spending, aid to states including a temporary boost in the federal Medicaid matching rate, and a middle-class tax cut.

The House may also consider a bill this week to release the second half of the $700 billion rescue package passed in early October. Any legislation to authorize use of the remaining $350 billion will likely require more oversight and contain provisions that address mortgages and the foreclosure crisis.

Early priorities for the 111th Congress.  In addition to passing a major economic stimulus package, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer has indicated that early priorities for the 111th Congress will include:

•    The FY2009 appropriations bills. Nine of the twelve bills have not been signed into law, and a continuing resolution funding the programs within those bills will expire on March 6, 2009;

•    An expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), vetoed last year by President Bush;

•    The "Lilly Ledbetter bill," legislation that would make it easier for women who have faced pay discrimination to bring suits against employers; and

•    The Employee Free Choice Act, a bill which would eliminate the right of employers to demand a secret-ballot election, instead allowing unions to form through a process known as "majority sign-up." The bill would also strengthen penalties against employers that violate labor laws, and create a process for mandatory arbitration if, once certified, unions could not reach agreement with employers.
Condolences
Henry Gutin, z"l.  The JCPA sends condolences to David Gutin on the recent loss of his father, Henry Gutin.  May his memory be for a blessing.
JCPA Plenum 2009
Remember to register for the 2009 JCPA Plenum in Washington DC.  Early plenum rates are available only until February 4th! so please visit www.jcpaplenum.org to reserve your place at the largest community relations conference.

We are working tirelessly to put together plenary sessions, forums, and workshops designed to educate the organized Jewish community.  Speakers who have already been confirmed include:  Professor Laurence Tribe, Professor Yoram Peri, David Makovsky, Jeremy Ben-Ami.  

Additionally, this year, the 2009 JCPA Plenum will honor Susan Turnbull (http://www.democrats.org/a/party/turnbull.html) with the 2009 Chair's award.  Susan serves as the Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee.  As Vice Chair, Ms. Turnbull serves as an instrumental adviser on a number of key programs and initiatives. She is also considered by her esteemed peers as an expert in women's outreach, Jewish outreach, and many other areas of political strategy.
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.

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