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JCPA Insider
Volume 12, Number 20
June 15, 2009

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

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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.


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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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Iran Initiative
Neither Real Nor Free. An editorial in The New York Times stated, "Although a runoff was widely expected between the two top vote-getters, the polls had barely closed before authorities declared victory for the hard-line president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. And it was a landslide: 62.6 percent versus just less than 34 percent for the main challenger, Mir Hussein Moussavi. We understand why so many Iranians found that impossible to believe. Mr. Moussavi had drawn hugely enthusiastic crowds to his campaign rallies, and opposition polls suggested that he, not Mr. Ahmadinejad, was the one with the commanding lead. Even more improbably, and cynically, authorities claimed that Mr. Ahmadinejad carried all of his opponents' hometowns - including Mr. Moussavi's - by large margins. When protesters took to the streets in the fiercest demonstrations in a decade, the police beat them with batons. The government also closed universities in Tehran, blocked cellphones and text messaging and cut access to Web sites….If the election were truly "real and free" as Mr. Ahmadinejad insisted, the results would be accepted by the voters and the government would not have to resort to such repression." Read the editorial here.

Khamenei's Military Coup in Iran. Mehdi Khalaji writes for the Washington Post, "Large-scale manipulation of Friday's presidential election in Iran was to be expected, but few could have predicted that Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had a military coup in mind. By declaring incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the winner, Khamenei conveyed a clear message to the West: Iran is digging in on its nuclear program, its support to Lebanese Hezbollah and Palestinian Hamas, and its defiant regional policies. In the streets of Tehran and other major cities, riot police, members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Basij militias are battling reformist demonstrators who are protesting the results. The government has cut Internet connections and cellphone service and jammed foreign satellite TV and radio broadcasts. Most foreign journalists in Iran to cover the election were expelled after the voting ended. More than 100 leaders of the reform movement have been detained so far, and others are under what amounts to house arrest. Even though Khamenei asked the candidates not to dispute the results, a reformist group called the Council of Militant Clerics, led by former president Mohammad Khatami, apologized to the people for not being able to protect their votes and asked the government to overturn this result and hold new elections. In statements Sunday, two of the presidential candidates, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, asked people to continue their "nonviolent demonstration" throughout the country and criticized the government for using violence against demonstrators." Read the article here.
JCPA/UJC Israel Advocacy Initiative
Prime Minister Netanyahu's Policy Speech. Yesterday, June 14, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a major policy speech from the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies at Bar Ilan University. To read the full text of the speech click here.

Read the Jewish Council For Public Affairs and JCPA-UJC Israel Advocacy Initiative statement here; the American Jewish Committee's statement here; and the Anti-Defamation League's statement here.
Save Darfur
Sudan's Election Paradox.  In February 2010, Sudan is scheduled to hold its first democratic elections in 24 years. General elections are required by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, or CPA, which ended a second civil conflict between northern and southern Sudan that lasted two decades, killed 2 million people, and displaced 4 million more. The original premise and promise of elections -- democratic transformation, consolidating the peace, and making unity attractive -- have been marred by the ruling National Congress Party's four-year pattern of obstructionism, which has stalled progress on the implementation of the CPA, and sapped good will between North and South.  Click here to read a report by the Enough Project that analyzes Sudan's 2010 elections.

ICC Prosecutor Urges Sudan to Arrest Beshir.  International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo on Friday pressed the Sudanese government to arrest President Omar al-Beshir, who stands accused of Darfur war crimes and crimes against humanity.  "The government of Sudan has the responsibility to arrest him (Beshir)," Moreno-Ocampo told the UN Security Council, citing a legal obligation stemming from the UN Charter and UN resolutions.  The ICC issued an arrest warrant for Beshir at Moreno-Ocampo's request last March but since then the defiant Sudanese leader has made at least seven trips outside Sudan.  Click here to read the entire article.
This Week in Washington
This Week in Washington.  This week, Congress is in session and will consider several important pieces of legislation including a supplemental appropriations bill for the military operations in Iran and Afghanistan.  The President will visit Chicago this week to speak to the American Medical Association about healthcare reform.  The Supreme Court is in session this week, but will not hear oral arguments.  Many important opinions are expected in the coming weeks.

War Supplemental.  This week, the House will consider a supplemental spending bill to finance the ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.  This bill has been very controversial.  Some sticking points include legislative provisions that would bar the President from releasing photos of detainee abuse, funds to transfer detainees from Guantanamo to the United States, and funds to support the International Monetary Fund.  

Healthcare Reform. On June 9th, Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), the ranking Democrat on the Health Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP Committee) who is managing the health reform process in the absence of Senator Kennedy, introduced "The Affordable Health Choices Act." This week and next week, the HELP committee will begin marking up the bill, and vote on amendments. The HELP legislation includes:
•    an individual mandate that would require individuals to get health insurance;
•    a placeholder for a new public health insurance option;
•    insurance market reforms;
•    comparative effectiveness research;
•    health system reforms, including prevention and chronic care management;  
•    a "minimum benefit requirement" for health insurance coverage, although many of the details are left to an expert advisory panel;
•    subsides/tax credits to help individuals and families pay for health premiums;
•    an expansion of Medicaid to cover those under 150% of the federal poverty line; and
•    a placeholder for an employer "play or pay" mandate.

The Finance Committee is expected to introduce a bill sometime this week, with hearings taking place soon after the bill is introduced.  Although the administration has released proposals for additional financing mechanisms for healthcare reform in the past week, the Finance Committee's bill will be critical in seeing how Congress intends to pay for healthcare reform. The House is expected to introduce legislation by early July with hearings set for mid-July.  The public debate around healthcare reform is also gaining momentum as President Obama tries to build support for the inclusion of a public option, including a speech today at the American Medical Association's National Conference.  Both chambers are aiming to vote on their respective proposals on or before July 31st.
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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