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Volume 12, Number 22
June 22, 2009

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

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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

Iranian Guards Issue Warning as Vote Errors Are Admitted. Threatening to crush dissent, the powerful Revolutionary Guards warned protesters Monday that they would face a "revolutionary confrontation" if they returned to the streets in their challenge to the presidential election results and their defiance of the country's leadership. The warning, on the Guards' Web site, was issued despite an admission by Iran's most senior panel of election monitors that the number of votes cast in 50 cities exceeded the actual number of voters, according to a state television report two days after the country's supreme leader pronounced the ballot to be fair. The discrepancies, the most sweeping acknowledged so far by the authorities, could affect some three million ballots of what the government says was an 85 percent turnout numbering 40 million voters. But the authorities insisted that the discrepancies did not violate Iranian law. The Guardian Council, charged with certifying the election, said it was not clear whether they would decisively change the result. Read the article from the New York Times here.

Neda Becoming Symbol of Rebellion. Her name is Neda, which means "voice" in Farsi, and her death has become the central rallying cry of the Iranian rebellion. The fresh-faced teenage girl killed by what appears to be a single sniper shot on the streets of Tehran Saturday is now a potent symbol for Iran's pro-democracy protesters. Her shocking and quick death in the arms of her howling father was captured on closeup video, posted to Facebook and came to life on computer screens across the globe. "RIP Neda, the world cries seeing your last breath," was one of a flood of messages on Twitter. "They killed Neda, but not her voice," read another. "Neda is everyone's sister, everyone's daughter, everyone's voice for freedom," said a third. Within hours of her death, posters of the girl's face, open-eyed and bloody, were being brandished by demonstrators in Los Angeles and New York City.The graphic video was originally posted to Facebook by an Iranian expatriate in Holland who said it was sent to him by a friend in Tehran, a doctor who tried to save the girl. He identified her as Neda Soltani, a 16-year-old philosophy student. Read the article from the NY Daily News here.

House Resolution on Protests in Iran.  On Friday, June 19, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a resolution Expressing support for all Iranian citizens who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties, and rule of law, and for other purposes. For a copy of that resolution, please click here.

JCPA/UJC Israel Advocacy Initiative
The International Committee of the Red Cross Statement on Gilad Shalit. The International Committee of the Red Cross has issued a press release about Gilad Shalit, "Since Mr Shalit's capture in June 2006, the ICRC has repeatedly asked Hamas to allow the exchange of Red Cross messages between Gilad Shalit and his family. The most recent requests were made at the highest level, but these and all others have been refused. 'We welcome the fact that yesterday former US president Jimmy Carter handed Hamas a letter from Gilad Shalit's family to him,' said Béatrice Mégevand-Roggo, the ICRC's head of operations for the Middle East and North Africa. However, this cannot replace the regular and unconditional contacts with his family that Gilad Shalit is entitled to under international humanitarian law. The ICRC regrets that in his case political considerations are judged more important than the simple humanitarian gesture of allowing a captive to be in touch with his family after three years of separation." Repeated requests by the ICRC to visit Gilad Shalit to ascertain his conditions of detention and treatment have also been refused." Read the full release here.

Netanyahu: I Will Make Gilad Shalit's Return a Personal Responsibility. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said June 22 that he will make the return of captive Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit a personal responsibility. Netanyahu also vowed to instruct all relevant policy and security authorities to "carry out every effort to return Gilad alive and well, as soon as possible." The prime minister made his statement during a meeting of the Likud faction in the Knesset. He directed his comments at Shalit's father Noam, who was in attendance at the meeting. Netanyahu added that he will make Shalit's return one of the central themes of his upcoming meetings with European leaders in Italy and France. Read the article here.

Palestinian PM Sets 2-Year Target for Statehood. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad set a goal on Monday of establishing a Palestinian state within two years. "I call on all our people to unite around the project of establishing a state and to strengthen its institutions ... so that the Palestinian state becomes, by the end of next year or within two years at most, a reality," he said in a speech. "Achieving this goal within two years is possible," he told an audience at Al Quds University near Jerusalem. Fayyad, a technocrat with no significant political base of his own, heads a newly aligned cabinet with more ministers from the dominant Fatah faction of President Mahmoud Abbas, whose Islamist Hamas rivals refuse to recognize. In line with Abbas' policy, he signaled no change in the Palestinian refusal to resume peace talks with Israel until it freezes Jewish settlements in the West Bank.  Read the article from Ha'aretz here.
Save Darfur
Call on President Obama to Unveil His Plan for Peace in Darfur.  It has been over two months since President Obama delivered a moving speech for the Holocaust Day of Remembrance-a speech in which he restated his commitment to end the atrocities in Darfur.  But each passing day is an eternity for Darfuris who struggle to get by in makeshift camps, wondering what new threats tomorrow will bring.  Additionally, as the rainy season approaches, roads will be washed away in minutes, cutting the flow of aid to 2.7 million Darfuris who depend on it. Displacement camps will be deluged with standing water, leaving millions vulnerable to disease.  By publicly releasing his blueprint for peace, President Obama can rally other nations to do everything they can to support peace, including increasing economic sanctions and expanding an arms embargo if the government of Sudan refuses to end its genocidal policies.  Click here to send a message to President Obama urging him to announce his plan for peace.
This Week in Washington
This Week in Washington.  This week, Congress is in session and will consider several important pieces of legislation.  The House will consider its version of the Department of Defense Authorization Act and appropriations for the Departments of Homeland Security, Interior, and other related agencies.  The Senate will continue working on a tourism bill.  The President is in Washington this week.  The Supreme Court is also in session this week and may hand down several important decisions.

Supplemental Appropriations Bill. Last week, Congress cleared funding for ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan after narrowly defeating an amendment that would have prevented President Obama from closing the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay.  The 212-213 roll call vote can be found here.  The $105.9 billion spending bill already included severe restrictions on how President Obama could use funds to transfer prisoners from Guantanamo.   

Healthcare Reform.  The Senate Finance Committee draft on health reform, expected to be released on Friday, June 19, has been postponed until post-July 4th recess due to public outcry over the projected high cost of current legislation which would insure roughly 1/3 of the currently uninsured Americans.  The House TriCommittee (which is composed of Ways & Means, Energy and Commerce, and Education and Labor) released a discussion draft of the Bill on Friday, June 19th.  You can find the draft of the Bill here.  The TriCommittee will hold hearings next week and mark-up shortly after.  Their goal is to have legislation on the floor in both chambers before the August recess.  

Voting Rights Act.  Today, the Supreme Court ruled in Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder, a case that challenged the constitutionality of the preclearance provisions (Section 5) of the Voting Rights Act.  In a narrow holding, the Supreme Court found that the District qualified as a "political sub-division" for the purposes of the "bail-out" proceedings that would exempt the District from the preclearance requirements.  Resolving this case on statuary grounds, the Court did not reach the constitutional question.  

Climate Change.  HR 2454, The American Clean Energy and Security Act, will be voted on this week in the House.  A copy of the Bill and supporting documents can be found here.  "The legislation will create millions of new clean energy jobs, save consumers hundreds of billions of dollars in energy costs, promote America's energy independence and security, and cut global warming pollution," said Chairman Waxman.

Apology for Slavery.  Last week, the United States Senate unanimously approved a non-binding resolution by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) that apologized for slavery and racial discrimination.  The House is expected to vote on a similar resolution soon.   

Job Creation.  The JCPA is gearing up for the fall interfaith mobilization:  Fighting Poverty with Faith: Good Jobs Green Jobs, and we encourage you to mark the dates for the mobilization, October 14-21, on your institutional calendars.  The Center for American Progress has created a useful interactive map that allows you to see the number of jobs that investment in clean energy projects would create on a state by state basis and how that would affect the unemployment rate.  Click here.
Congratulations
Lisa Yoram.  Congratulations to Lisa Yoram, Houston CRC director, on receiving the Hans Mayer Jewish Communal Professional Award from the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston.

Rosie Foss Protas.  Mazel Tov to Tucson CRC Director Josh Protas and his wife, Abby, on the birth of their daughter, Rosie Foss Protas, on June 10.  Rosie joins brothers Eli and Noah.
Condolences
Meyer Lubin z"l.  The JCPA sends heartfelt condolences to Lois Frank, past chair of the JCPA, and her family, on the passing of her father, Meyer Lubin earlier this month.

Bert Gold z"l.  The JCPA sends heartfelt condolences to former executive vice chairman Larry Rubin and his wife, Judy, on the recent passing of Judy's father, Bert Gold, former national executive director of the American Jewish Committee.
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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