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Volume 12, Number 35
September 21, 2009

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

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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.

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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

Stand For Freedom in Iran Events. This Thursday, September 24, 2009, in conjunction with the opening of the UN General Assembly, Americans will participate in "Stand for Freedom in Iran" events around the country. From New York City to Los Angeles, diverse voices, reflecting a broad range of political, ethnic and religious perspectives, will fill the public arena to voice solidarity with the Iranian people as they seek freedom and human rights. In addition, these events will underscore the urgency of the US and the international community coming together to persuade the Iranian regime, using strong diplomatic and economic measures, to abandon its nuclear weapons program. The Stand for Freedom in Iran Coalition will hold a rally in New York City on September 24 at 12 PM at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, 47th Street and 2nd Avenue.  This coalition is led by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, UJA-Federation of New York, National Interagency Task Force on Iran, Progressive American Iranian Committee, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, American Federation of Teachers, United Federation of Teachers, New York City Central Labor Council: AFL-CIO, NAACP New York Conference, New York Coalition of 100 Black Women, National Puerto Rican Coalition, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and 100 Hispanic Women.  For more information on this rally and the sponsoring organizations, please visit www.standforfreedominiran.org.

Communities from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Connecticut will be participating in the rally. Additionally, the UJC/JCPA Israel Advocacy Initiative is helping to coordinate "Stand for Freedom in Iran" events in Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Providence, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C.  Information on the Washington, D.C. Rally can be found here. Additionally, a YouTube video for the rally can be found here and AJC's David Harris' radio spot about the rally can be found here. 

1. http://www.jcouncil.org/site/PageServer
2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vi1YSfNi6s
3. http://www.ajc.org/atf/cf/%7B42d75369-d582-4380-8395-d25925b85eaf%7D/091509%20AJC%20REV.MP3

Iran Task Force of Pittsburgh and United Against Nuclear Iran Launch Petition to G-20 Leaders to Impose Tougher Sanctions Against Iran. The Iran Task Force of Pittsburgh and United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) are circulating a petition that calls on the G-20 leaders to use their September 24-25 meeting in Pittsburgh to take action to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. The two organizations - one local, the other national -- call on all citizens to send a clear message to the G-20 leaders in support of sanctions against Iran.  UANI will deliver copies of the signed petition to the embassy of each G-20 nation and to President Obama. The petition can be found at www.irantaskforce.org. See the full press release here.

Columbus Jewish Federation Holds Program on Iran. On September 10, the Columbus Jewish Federation held a program entitled, "A Nuclear Iran and the Implications for Israel." The evening featured Knesset Member Binyamin "Benny" Begin and Consul General of Israel Daniel Kutner. Approximately 170 people attended the program, including key staffers of Ohio's US Senators Voinovich and Brown as well as Congressmen Tiberi, Austria, and Jordan. In his remarks, MK Begin suggested that this is the time for action against a nuclear armed Iran and that sanctions needed to be brought on Iran.  He also stated that a nuclear Iran is not just an Israel problem; rather it is a vital security problem for the world community.

Gates: Iranian Medium-Range Missile Threat Developing More Rapidly Than Previously Thought. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates last week explained the reasons behind the change in the U.S. missile defense posture: There has been "a change in our intelligence community's 2006 view of the Iranian threat. The intelligence community now assesses that the threat from Iran's short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, such as the Shahab-3, is developing more rapidly than previously projected. This poses an increased and more immediate threat to our forces on the European continent, as well as to our allies." Read more from the Department of Defense here.


New York Hotel Axes Event with Ahmadinejad on the Guest List. New York's Helmsley Hotel said on September 18 that it canceled a banquet set for next week when it learned Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was on the guest list, saying the man who called the Holocaust a lie was not welcome. "As soon as Helmsley corporate management learned of the possibility of either the Iranian mission or President Ahmadinejad holding a function at the New York Helmsley Hotel, they immediately ordered the cancellation of that function," hotel spokesman Howard Rubenstein said in a statement. United Against Nuclear Iran told the hotel that Ahmadinejad was on the guest list. Read the article from Reuters here.

JCPA/UJC Israel Advocacy Initiative
President Obama, Mahmoud Abbas, and Benjamin Netanyahu will Meet in a Summit. The leaders of the United States, the Palestinian Authority and Israel will meet Tuesday, September 22, 2009, according to a statement released by the White House. Obama will meet separately with each leader before the summit."These meetings will continue the efforts of President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Special Envoy George Mitchell to lay the groundwork for the relaunch of negotiations, and to create a positive context for those negotiations so that they can succeed," the statement said. On September 19, the White House announced that the meetings would take place at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York, on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. Read the article from JTA here.

IDF Chief: Israel Must Free Terrorists for Shalit. Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi said September 21 that there was no way Hamas would release abducted soldier Gilad Shalit unless Israel agreed to free jailed Palestinians involved in terror attacks.

"There is no way to bring Gilad Shalit back without freeing terrorists," the IDF chief told Army Radio. "The question, of course, is what kind of prisoners and what they did." Ashkenazi also blasted the damning United Nations report on Israel's offensive against Hamas in Gaza, calling it "biased" and reiterating that the IDF was a moral army. "I read the report - it is biased and unbalanced," Ashkenazi told Army Radio, in his first public response to the report. Read the article from Haaretz here.
Save Darfur

Darfur/Darfur Opening in New York.  On Tuesday, September 22nd the Save Darfur Coalition will project the images of the Darfur/Darfur exhibit in midtown Manhattan.  See below for details.

Time: Tuesday, September 22 from 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Host: Martha Bixby

Location: Grace Plaza (New York, NY)

43rd Street and 6th Avenue
New York, NY 10036

Southern Sudan Denies U.S Sanctions Divide Entire Sudan.  The government of Southern Sudan has dismissed accusations that U.S. targeted sanctions will divide and undermine the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. This follows Presidential adviser Ghazi Salahuddin's sharp criticism of Washington's decision to exclude certain areas, including Southern Sudan, from economic sanctions.  Ghazi argues that the sanctions on northern Sudan are obstacles, which undermine the unity of the country.  But the Southern Sudanese government denies the sanctions will affect the CPA, which ended more than two decades of war between the North and South.  Click here to read more from Voice of America.

This Week in Washington
This Week in Washington.  This week Congress is in session and considering several pieces of important legislation including healthcare insurance reform.  President Obama will attend the General Session of the United Nations.  The Supreme Court is not in session this week. 

Healthcare Insurance Reform.  The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to review and mark-up Chairman Max Baucus's (D-MT) healthcare bill.  Hundreds of amendments have been filed by members of the Finance Committee.  Of the five congressional committees who have jurisdiction over healthcare, the Senate Finance Committee is the last one to consider a major reform effort.  After being debated in committee, Senators will merge the Senate Finance Committee's bill with the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee's legislation that was approved before the August recess. 

Employment Discrimination.  This week, the House and Education and Labor Committee, Chaired by Rep. George Miller (D-CA), will consider the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.  This legislation would prohibit discrimination in employment decisions on the basis of sexual orientation and gender-identity. 

President Obama's Rosh Hashanah Message. 
Last week, the White House released a video message from President Obama for Rosh Hashanah.  To date, the message has been viewed about 90,000 times on YouTube.  To watch the message, click here
JCPA Programs
Yossi Klein Halevi is confirmed to speak at JCPA's October Board Meeting.  Registration is Now Open for the 2009 October Meetings.  On Sunday October 25 and Monday October 26 JCPA leadership will meeting in New York City for the 2009 October JCPA Task Force and Board of Directors meetings.  This event is set to take place at the UJA Federation of New York located at 130 East 59th Street in NYC.  Click here to register and to view the meeting schedule.

2010 JCPA Plenum.  "B'Yachad: Building Bridges - Acting Together".  The 2010 JCPA Plenum is set to take place February 20-23, 2010 in Dallas, Texas.  Registration is now open at www.jcpaplenum.org.
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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