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JCPA Insider
Volume 12, Number 30
August 17, 2009

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In This Issue
Iran Initiative
JCPA/UJC Israel Advocacy Initiative
Environment
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
Testimony in Iran Trial Ties Mousavi to Unrest. On August 16, Iranian authorities put on trial a group of demonstrators, including an Iranian Jewish teenager, who said they were directed by campaign officials of defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi to destroy public property in the chaotic aftermath of the June 12 election. The arrested demonstrators made their statements, which could become part of a case against Mousavi if he is arrested, in the third session of a mass trial of politicians, journalists and academics. There has been widespread criticism of the confessions, which many government opponents say are coerced. Read the full article from the Washington Post here.

Iranian Bahais Face Espionage Trial. Seven members of the Bahai faith in Iran are to go on trial on Tuesday on charges of spying for Israel and of "insulting sanctities". Six of the Bahais were arrested in May, 2008. The other one was arrested two months earlier. They were the leaders of the Bahais in Iran. The Bahai faith is banned by the Islamic revolutionary leadership of Iran which considers it heretical. Bahais claim some 300,000 members in Iran, where the faith originated. "The trial of the seven Bahais accused of spying for the Zionist regime of Israel and insulting sanctities will be held on Tuesday," Hassan Haddad of the Tehran prosecutor's office said, the official Iranian news agency reports. Last year relatives of the six Bahai leaders arrested in May said they had been taken to Evin Prison in Tehran after intelligence ministry officers raided their homes in the middle of the night. Read the article from the BBC here.

Israel's Ambassador to the United States: Israel is Far From Even Contemplating a Strike on Iran's Nuclear Facilities. In an interview aired August 16 on CNN, Michael Oren told host Fareed Zakaria that Israel supports President Obama's diplomatic efforts to Iran. Asked about reports that Israel was planning to curb the Islamic Republic's ability to obtain nuclear weapons by attacking its nuclear facilities, Oren said, "I don't think it's true. I think that we are far from even contemplating such things right now." After Zakaria accused Oren of not being forthcoming about an imminent attack, and pointing out that Israel has been "deeply uncomfortable and nervous" about engagement with Iran, the ambassador replied that "We were, but we were greatly comforted during the prime minister's visit here in May, when the president told him, assured him, that there would be a serious reassessment of the policy before the end of the year. We are further reassured now that the end-of-the-year deadline has been moved up to September."  Oren added that the U.S. "willingness to consider formulating a package of serious sanctions against Iran even now in advance of the reassessment" also was reassuring. Read the article from JTA here.
JCPA/UJC Israel Advocacy Initiative
Author of Human Rights Watch "White Flag" Report Supported Munich Massacre of Israeli Athletes. According to a report from Ma'ariv, Joe Stork, who presented last week's Human Rights Watch report accusing Israel of killing 12 Gazans who had raised a white flag, is a veteran anti-Israel activist who supported the Munich massacre of Israeli athletes. He has called many times for the destruction of the State of Israel and is a long-time supporter of Palestinian terror. He was a friend of Saddam, ruled out negotiations and supported the Munich Massacre, which "provided an important boost in morale among Palestinians." As a student, Stork was amongst the founders of a new radical leftist group, which was formed based on the claim that other leftist groups were not sufficiently critical of Israel and of the United States' support of it. Already in 1976, Stork participated in a conference organized by Saddam Hussein which celebrated the first anniversary of the UN decision that equated Zionism with racism. Stork, needless to say, arrived at the conference as a prominent supporter of Palestinian terrorism and as an opponent to the existence of the State of Israel. See the article here.

United Church of Canada Rejects Divestment from Israel. Canada's largest Protestant denomination rejected a series of resolutions calling for a boycott of Israel. Delegates of the United Church of Canada, meeting in British Columbia, voted August 13 against three measures that would have ended trade, cultural and academic ties with Israel. The resolutions also called for financial divestment and sanctions. Canadian Jewish groups had described the proposed resolutions as anti-Semitic. Earlier, the delegates in Kelowna repudiated background material on one resolution that claimed some politicians are dual Canadian-Israeli citizens and therefore could have questionable loyalties. The material also said members of Parliament have taken Israeli-sponsored junkets, "which might be called bribes." The CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress, Bernie Farber, who attended the annual meeting, commended the church for rejecting the "misguided and destructive" proposals. He said they were aimed at isolating and excluding Israel on the international stage. "We are quite relieved and quite pleased," Farber told CBC News. "The council understood it needed to be inclusive, not exclusive, and a boycott is exclusive by nature." The CJC had warned that passage of the resolutions would cause "irreparable" harm between the church and the Jewish community. B'nai B'rith Canada had called the resolutions an "obscene gesture." Read the article from JTA here.

Israel Sent Emergency Aid to Taiwan Typhoon Victims.
On August 13, a shipment of water-purification equipment was sent to victims of typhoon "Morakot" in Taiwan. As soon as the extent of the destruction was known, Raphael Gamzou, head of the Israeli Economic and Cultural Office, turned to the authorities in Taipei and proposed that Israel send emergency aid to Taiwan. All agreed that the most immediate need was clean drinking water and, accordingly, over the weekend a shipment with water purifiers, containers, and hundreds of easy-to-use personal water-purification kits was sent to hard-to-reach areas struck by the disaster.The equipment, made by the Israeli company Water Sheer, was donated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  Read the article here.
ENVIRONMENT
Global Climate Healing Shabbat.  The JCPA has joined with a broad spectrum of Jewish organizations to urge that this fall, congregations, rabbis, and other members of our community observe Shabbat Noach on October 23-24 -- when Jews around the world read the Torah portion about the Flood, Noah, the Ark, and the Rainbow -- as "Global Climate Healing Shabbat."  A number of experts on the global climate crisis have called for world-wide actions on October 24 to protect our planet from climate disaster.  The JCPA encourages actions and activities such as special prayers, sermons, Torah commentary/midrash, lectures, debates, panel discussions, resolutions, meals, nature-walks, children's activities, programs with elected officials, environmental activities, interfaith activities, and other means of bringing Jewish commitment to bear on healing the earth from the dangers that over-use of fossil fuels is bringing upon us all.  To join the effort and register your participation, click here and here. Useful materials are available here.
This Week in Washington
This Week in Washington.  This week, President Obama is traveling in the western United States.  He and his family are visiting several National Parks.  Over the past several days, President Obama has held town hall meetings across the nation to discuss healthcare reform.  Congress has recessed for the August district work period and is scheduled to reconvene after Memorial Day.  The Supreme Court has adjourned for the summer and is will reconvene in October.  

President Obama to Speak on JCPA co-sponsored Conference Call.  President Obama has agreed to participate in a nationwide phone call with JCPA and other national religious denominations and groups on Wednesday, August 19 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern / 4:00 p.m. Central / 3:00 p.m. Mountain / 2:00 p.m. Pacific.  The goal of the call is to connect and energize the millions of people of faith across the country who are concerned about health care and who want to be part of the solution. RSVP for the call here and we will send you a reminder next week with the call-in number.  We want tens of thousands of people on this call with the President so please let your professional networks, family, friends, neighbors and fellow congregation members know so they can be part of this historic event.  Post this link on your Facebook page, Twitter page, and other social networking sites. Please note that the call with President Obama is part of a broader effort by JCPA to make sure that the faith community has a strong voice in the outcome of the health reform debate, and not to promote any particular political party or ideology.  We hope you can join this historic call between President Obama and the faith community on such a vital issue to families across the nation.
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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