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JCPA Insider
Volume 12, Number 24
July 6, 2009

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In This Issue
Iran Initiative
JCPA/UJC Israel Advocacy Initiative
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.


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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Iran Initiative

Metrowest Iran Advocacy Plan.  Following the regional consultation on community-based Iran advocacy in June, hosted by the UJC/JCPA Israel Advocacy Initiative (IAI) and the New York JCRC, the Iran Task Force of MetroWest, NJ drafted an Iran community advocacy plan.  To view that strategy, please click here.

Ayatollah Warns West Over Alleged Meddling. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned Western governments on July 6 of a "negative impact" on relations over what he called their meddling in Iran's post-election riots. Meanwhile, opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi on Monday made his first public appearance in a week, saying he was determined to persist in his challenge to the regime, but he stopped short of calling for more street demonstrations after a fierce crackdown on demonstrators. "We need to make efforts to show our protest ... within the framework of the law," Mousavi said as he welcomed well-wishers at his home for a holiday commemorating Shiism's most important saint, Imam Ali. "The legitimacy of this government is in question because of the people's lack of trust. This weakens the government from within even if it preserves it in appearance," he said, according to the Iranian news Web site Parsine. Read the report from the AP here.

For Bahis, A Crackdown is Old News. As long as she is on duty, Dr. Samali can suppress what she sees and hears of the marchers, the arrests, the beatings. But when she leaves St. Joseph's Hospital in Paterson and returns home to nearby Clifton, the present conjures up a terrible past. She remembers when her father's factory in Tehran was set afire, leaving him severely scarred and blind in one eye. She remembers her family's trying to escape to Pakistan, traveling in a smuggler's Jeep, headlights out on a midnight desert. She remembers the army bullets that shattered the windshield and pierced the tires, and she remembers the months in prison that followed. It was 1985, and she was 5 years old. In all the years since, even after a subsequent, successful escape and a new life in the United States, Dr. Samali has not forgotten what it meant to be a Bahai in the Islamic Republic of Iran. "I try to turn my emotions off," Dr. Samali, 28, said of the current turbulence in Iran… During the recent upheaval, which is essentially a struggle among Shiites over the dubious re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Bahais have again served as scapegoats. Supporters of President Ahmadinejad have recycled the canard that Bahais are American spies and secret Zionists, and have added a new one, claiming the British Broadcasting Corporation stands for the Bahai Broadcasting Company. Read the full article from the New York Times here.

JCPA/UJC Israel Advocacy Initiative
"No" Is the Real Obstacle to Peace. The American Jewish Committee released a 4-minute video highlighting Israel's desire for peace that can be used in your Israel advocacy efforts. Click here.

Shalit Slams Hamas at UN Mission. Noam Shalit, father of captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, appeared before the UN fact-finding mission on Operation Cast Lead on July 6. During his address in Geneva, Shalit took the opportunity to speak directly to the people of Gaza and "in particular, to the people holding [my son] Gilad." Shalit blasted Hamas for the "violent abduction" and "continued detention" and claimed that Gilad's capture was "a violation of international law." He went on to that say "the refusal to allow the Red Cross access to him, if not a war crime, is at least a gross act of inhumanity and an aggravating situation." Read the article from the Jerusalem Post here.
This Week in Washington
This Week in Washington.  This week, President Obama will travel to Russia to meet with President Medvedev.  Congress will return to session this week after the July 4th recess.  The Supreme Court has adjourned and will return in October.  

Foreign Operations Appropriations.  This week, the House of Representatives will consider the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill.  Sponsored by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), this bill appropriates the funds for the Department of State as well as foreign aid.  This bill includes $2.775 billion in security aid to Israel, reflecting the 2007 Memorandum of Understanding which stipulates increased assistance to Israel in order to meet increasing threats to its security.

Healthcare. As Congress returns this week, healthcare reform is front and center. The Finance Committee has not yet released its bill, and the Senate HELP Committee is still marking up its version of healthcare reform.  After the two committees finish mark-up, Senate leaders must negotiate a merger of the two bills and pass a unified Senate version before recess to meet the current proposed timeline. The Finance Committee is hoping to draft a bipartisan bill that costs less than $1 trillion and is deficit neutral. The HELP committee announced last week that its bill would cost about $611 billion over 10 years (not including Medicare expansions, which could cost another $400 billion), but this figure is not deficit neutral. In addition, the HELP committee's bill includes a "public option" (supported by JCPA and UJC's common principles on healthcare reform), while the Finance Committee has not yet come out in support of this policy. While the Senate's official timeline still indicates that the chamber hopes to clear a bill before the August recess, there is a possibility that the floor vote will not take place until after Labor Day.

Appropriations. This week, the House may vote on three appropriations bills: the Department of Agriculture, State Department and Foreign Operations, and Military Construction/Veteran's Affairs. The House has already passed four appropriations bills, putting them on target to clear all 12 by August. The Senate has not yet voted on any of the 12 appropriations bills, but Majority Leader Reid has indicated that the Senate will vote on appropriations for the legislative branch and homeland security this week. Under the measures proposed by House and Senate leadership, discretionary spending would increase by approximately 7.6 percent.
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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