Spread the word » Facebook Twitter
Insider Header
JCPA Insider
Volume 12, Number 4
February 2, 2009

Join Our List

Join our List

Update Your Profile!


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

Quick Links

About JCPA

JCPA Homepage

JCPA Blog


Contribute to JCPA

Contribute Now!

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..

Our Supporters

Iran Initiative

Hamas Rules Out Permanent Truce Under Gaza Blockade. The political supremo of Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, Khaled Meshaal, on February 1, ruled out any "permanent ceasefire" until Israel ends its crippling blockade of the Gaza Strip. Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, meanwhile, in talks with Meshaal, urged him to be prepared for new hostilities with archfoe Israel."The resistance is against a permanent ceasefire," Meshaal said at a news conference in Tehran, Iran's state news agency IRNA reported."While the occupation continues, a permanent ceasefire has no meaning," Meshaal said at the conference, jointly held with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki. Read the full article here.

Talk to Iran.  Then What? Stephen Rademaker writes in an editorial in the New York Times, "The presidential campaign failed to address the hard choices America must make to contain the Iranian nuclear threat. By focusing almost exclusively on tactics, the election obscured the questions that really matter: What should the United States demand when it finally talks to Iran? And when Iran rejects our opening position, how much should we compromise to come to a deal?The opening act, after all, is entirely predictable. The Obama administration will likely begin negotiations by insisting that Iran suspend its efforts to enrich uranium. Compliance with this requirement - imposed by the United Nations Security Council in July 2006 and reiterated several times since - has been the goal of the European-led negotiations with Iran that President Obama faulted the Bush administration for not joining. Iran has consistently rejected the demands of the United Nations and our European allies, however, and it would be naïve to expect a different answer just because the United States is at the negotiating table. Iran will almost certainly say no, presumably calculating that it can eventually force the world to accept its enrichment program. So what then?" Read the full editorial here.

JCPA/UJC Israel Advocacy Initiative
Dear Prime Minister Erdogan.  David Harris, Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee wrote a letter to Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey, "You have accused Israel of deliberately seeking to kill civilians. In reality, as British Colonel Richard Kemp told the BBC, "I don't think there has ever been a time in the history of warfare when any army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties. ... Hamas has been trained extensively by Iran and by Hizbullah to use the civilian population in Gaza as a human shield." Even if you disagreed, you might have been respectful of such public criticism of Hamas, whether from Col. Kemp, EU official Louis Michel, Egyptian and Saudi leaders, or, in more hushed tones, some Gaza residents themselves. Instead, you accused "Jewish-backed media" of spreading falsehoods. Mr. Prime Minister, Israel yearns for a secure and lasting peace. No one has more fully embodied that hunger for peace, or worked more tirelessly to achieve a new start for the Middle East, than Shimon Peres - Israel's president, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and your fellow panelist at Davos last week." To read the full letter from the Jerusalem Post click here.

Durban II.  Intensive negotiations last week in Geneva have resulted in a new version of the "Draft Outcome Document" for Durban II - released yesterday. Iran - a Vice-Chair of the executive committee for Durban II - played a leading role in the drafting process, speaking more often than any other single state. The result? Now on the negotiating table: Jewish self-determination or Zionism is racism. Israel is guilty of apartheid and the number of Jews murdered in the Holocaust is questionable. Anne Bayefsky, Editor of EYEontheUN, commented: "this "anti-racism" manifesto is much worse even than its predecessor. Islamic and other rights-abusing states had a field day preparing for Durban II. European states were totally unable to introduce the modifications necessary to protect human rights standards or change the clear intent of the conference." Read more at Eye on the UN here.
Save Darfur
Obama's Envoy Voices Support for International Court.  U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice signaled a shift in U.S. policy toward support for the International Criminal Court, a tribunal the Bush administration opposed, in her first speech to the United Nations Security Council.  The International Criminal Court "looks to become an important and credible instrument for trying to hold accountable the senior leadership responsible for atrocities committed in the Congo, Uganda and Darfur," Rice said in a closed council meeting, according to a text provided by the U.S. mission.  Click here to read this entire article from Bloomberg.com.
Interfaith Encounter
Passings.  The JCPA notes with great sadness the recent passing of two giants in the field of interfaith relations.  Rabbi Leon Klenicki was director emeritus of the Anti-Defamation League's Department of Interfaith Affairs.  Rabbi Michael Signer  was Co-Chair of the Commission On Interreligious Affairs of Reform Judaism.  Both made tremendous contributions to dialogue, particularly the Catholic-Jewish encounter.   May their memories be for a blessing.
This Week in Washington
This Week in Washington.  This week, President Barack Obama is in Washington and working with members of the Senate to approve the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  The House passed this legislation last week and the Senate is scheduled to debate the bill this week. The Supreme Court will not be in session this week.   
Economic Recovery Package.  Last week, the House cleared the $819 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (HR 1). This week, the Senate will begin debate on its version of the bill (S 1), with several amendments offered to change the allocation of funding. Republicans are expected to try to add more tax cuts provisions and reduce spending that they argue will not stimulate the economy or create jobs. Other lawmakers are expected to offer amendments that would increase funding for infrastructure/ public transit and address the collapse of the housing market.  

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act.  Last week, President Obama signed his first major piece of legislation, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act.  This bill overturns the Supreme Court decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire that limited the timeframe for a person to file a law suit challenging pay discrimination.  A similar bill was passed by the House last year, but stalled in the Senate.  

SCHIP.  Last week, the Senate approved the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA, HR 2), and this Wednesday, February 4, the House is expected to pass the legislation. The Senate made slight revisions to the version the House passed on January 14, but the House is expected to accept the Senate's changes and send the bill straight to the President for his signature. CHIPRA would extend healthcare to an addition four million children whose parents cannot afford health insurance, but do not qualify for Medicaid. The bill covers a total of 11 million children, and removes the bar that had disqualified legal immigrant children and pregnant women from receiving benefits during their first five years in the United States.

Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.  Last week, President Obama named Joshua Dubois, a 26 year-old Pentecostal Minister, to be the new head of the White House's Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.  This office is the renamed Office Faith Based and Community Initiatives established by President Bush shortly after his election.
Congratulations
Sybil Sanchez.  Sybil Sanchez, former director of United Nations affairs for B'nai B'rith Interntional, has been named Executive Director of the Jewish Labor Committee.
JCPA Programs
Register for the 2009 JCPA Plenum.  Please visit www.jcpaplenum.org to get the latest information on Plenum session, speakers, and topics.  The hotel deadline is now February 9th!  Make sure you have reserved your space at the Capital Hilton.  Early registration also expires on Monday February 9th!  So be sure to register and take advantage of our early rate!

Join us for a forum on Immigration.  On Monday, March 2nd, the JCPA will host a forum on immigration policy.  Newly-named Jewish Labor Committee Executive Director Sybil Sanchez will address JCPA leadership about the important roles immigrants play in American society and their necessary role in contributing to our workforce and sustaining our economy.  This panel will also feature Gideon Aronoff, President and CEO of Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.  

Other confirmed speakers include: Ambassador Sallai Meridor, Robert Greenstein, Executive Director of Center for Budget and Policy Priorities; Wade Henderson, President and CEO of the Leadership Council on Civil Rights; William Rapfogel, President of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty; Tom Dine, Search for Common Ground; Imam Mohamed Magid of the ADAMS Center, Jerry Fowler, Save Darfur Coalition; Roberta Cohen, Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights; Professor Yoram Peri; Rabbi Michael Paley; Dr. Michael Ladeen, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies; Kenneth Jacobson, Anti-Defamation League; and David Makovsky, among many others.  Professor Laurence Tribe will accept the 2009 Albert D. Chernin Award.

All of these names, and more, can be found on www.jcpaplenum.orgwww.jcpaplenum.org with their photo and biography.
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.

To unsubscribe from this list or adjust email preferences, please click update profile.
To stop receiving all JCPA emails, please click unsubscribe.

e-powered

This email is powered by Engage, a program of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA).