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JCPA Insider
Volume 12, Number 39
October 19, 2009

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In This Issue
Iran Initiative
JCPA/UJC Israel Advocacy Initiative
Save Darfur
Interfaith Encounter
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.

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
Iran: U.S., Israel Planned Suicide Attack. The head of Iran's Revolutionary Guard accused the United States, Israel, Britain, and Pakistan of planning a suicide attack that killed 42 people, including five senior Revolutionary Guard commanders, on October 18 near the Pakistani border. The attack, carried out by a bomber who reportedly was disguised in tribal dress, occurred at a reconciliation meeting in southeastern Iran between Shiite and Sunni tribal leaders.  "The American and Israeli intelligence agencies are behind this," Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari said Monday. "We must pay them back in order to punish them and, God willing, we hope to be able to do so." The Muslim group Jundallah, or Soldiers of God, which operates along the Iranian-Pakistani border and is said to be affiliated with al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for the attack. Read the article from JTA here.

Iran Will Continue to Enrich Uranium if No Deal is Reached. Iran will further enrich uranium itself if nuclear talks fail with the International Atomic Energy Agency, Russia, France and the United States in Vienna, an Iranian official said. "If the talks do not bring about Iran's desired result ... we will start to further enrich uranium ourselves," Ali Shirzadian, spokesman for Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, told Iran's official IRNA news agency a few hours before the talks start. The IAEA will host the meeting to discuss details of sending Iran's low enriched uranium abroad for further processing. The issue was agreed "in principle" between Iran and world powers in Geneva on October 1. But Iranian authorities have so far shown no public hints of flexibility over Iran's nuclear row with the West. The U.N. Security Council has imposed three rounds of sanctions on Iran for refusing to stop its sensitive enrichment work. Shirzadian said Iran had no intention of suspending its enrichment.  Read the article from Reuters here.

UK Financial Restrictions on Iran. On October 12, the Treasury Department of the United Kingdom issued a direction to the UK Financial Sector to cease all business relationships and transactions with Bank Mellat and Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) under the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008. Read more here.

JCPA Press Release on the Passage of the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act. The U.S. House of Representatives vote to enable sanctions against Iran sends a strong message to Tehran that the United States and its international partners are serious in preventing a nuclear Iran from becoming a reality, says a leading Jewish advocacy organization.  The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) and its Israel Advocacy Initiative (IAI), a joint project of UJC/The Jewish Federations of North America and JCPA, applauds House members for their swift action authorizing state and local governments to divest from any company that invests at least $20 million in Iran's energy development. Read the full press release here.
JCPA/UJC Israel Advocacy Initiative
Russia Says it Won't Let Goldstone Reach the Hague. Russia has made it clear to Israel that it will oppose a Goldstone Report discussion at the United Nations Security Council or at the International Criminal Court in the Hague, although its representatives voted in favor of adopting the report accusing the Jewish state of committing war crimes at the UN Human Rights Council.  The remarks were made in a meeting between Russian Ambassador to Israel Peter Stegney and a Foreign Ministry official. The ambassador relayed messages from Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the Foreign Ministry sources said.  Stegney stressed that Russia believes Israel should investigate itself. "The most important thing is that the peace process won't suffer," the Russian ambassador said. Read more from Yediot Achronot here.

Israel, the U.S. and the Goldstone Report. John Bolton writes for the Wall Street Journal, "The Goldstone Report has important implications for America. In the U.N., Israel frequently serves as a surrogate target in lieu of the U.S., particularly concerning the use of military force pre-emptively or in self-defense. Accordingly, U.N. decisions on ostensibly Israel-specific issues can lay a predicate for subsequent action against, or efforts to constrain, the U.S. Mr. Goldstone's recommendation to convoke the International Criminal Court is like putting a loaded pistol to Israel's head-or, in the future, to America's." Read the full op-ed here.
Save Darfur
New U.S. Policy in Sudan. Today, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, and General Gration released the President Obama's official U.S. policy toward Sudan.  The strategy calls for a definitive end to the conflict, as well as a combination of incentives and possible punitive actions to restore peace in Darfur and assure implementation of Sudan's north-south peace accord.  The policy also calls on the international community to take measures that prevent Sudan from becoming a safe-haven for international terrorists and renewal of the declaration of a National Emergency to continue aggressive sanctions on the Sudanese Government.

The Save Darfur Coalition has issued a press release and preliminary evaluation of the Obama Administration's rollout of the Sudan Policy Review that includes the Sudan Strategy in its entirety accompanied by the Save Darfur Coalition responses to each section.
A Call for Jews to Observe Shabbat Noach, October 23-24, as "Global Climate Healing Shabbat.  The Jewish Council for Public Affairs has joined with a broad spectrum of Jewish organizations to urge that this fall, our own affiliated congregations and rabbis and all others as well join to 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, led by Bill McKibben, have called for world-wide actions on October 24 to protect our planet from climate disaster.  So we also encourage interfaith as well as Jewish work during the week before Shabbat Noach and on the weekend,  with special prayers, sermons,  Torah commentary/ midrash, songs, lectures, debates, panel discussions, resolutions,  meals, nature-walks, stories for children, invitations to public officials and environmental activists, 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.

Please join us and register your intent to create a local event in both these places:  http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/602/t/4180/event/index.jsp?event_KEY=50242 and http://www.350.org/oct24.
This Week in Washington
This Week in Washington.  This week, Congress is in session and will continue their work on several important pieces of legislation.  President Obama is in Washington this week.  The Supreme Court will also be in session but will not receive oral arguments.  

Iran Sanctions Legislation. On Wednesday, October 14, the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act of 2009 (H.R. 1327) passed in the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 414 to 6. The bill authorizes state and local governments to divest from any company that invests at least $20 million in Iran's energy sector.  The companion bill in the Senate, the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act of 2009 (S. 1065), was referred to committee and now has more than 30 cosponsors.

Health Care Reform.  After three months of bi-partisan negotiations, the Senate Finance Committee finally passed its version of the health care reform bill on October 13th. With the support of a lone Republican, Senator Olympia Snowe (ME), the Committee voted 14 to 9 to approve legislation that would, for the first time, require every American to have health insurance. This bill would dramatically expand health care coverage and market the largest single expansion of government health care benefits in 40 years. Current projections expect this plan to cost $829 billion, financed by new taxes on high-cost health insurance plans and decreased Medicare spending. Now the Senate is working on crafting a compromise bill between the Senate Finance Committee Bill and the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee bill, passed in early July. Senate negotiators say they are still working several key issues, including whether to include a public option, how to pay for the package, how to ensure affordability, and what level of employer responsibility to demand.  In the House, leaders continue to work to merge the three bills from Energy and Commerce, Education and Labor, and Ways and Means. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) indicated that House action on a final bill may not occur until sometime in November.

Sudan.  On Monday, President Obama outlined his administration's comprehensive strategy for confronting the situation in Sudan.  The president called for an end to the conflict, an end to human rights abuses, and an end to the genocide in Darfur by implementing the North- South agreement.  Obama also stressed that the United States would work "aggressively" to ensure that Sudan not provide a safe-haven for terrorists. Finally, he stressed that while the United State Special Envoy to Sudan is working closely with all parties to resolve the issues diplomatically, the administration will renew the declaration of a National Emergency with respect to Sudan, which will continue tough sanctions on the Sudanese Government.

Immigration Reform. Immigration Reform.  Thousands of advocates from around the country gathered in Washington, DC on October 13th for a rally and vigil in support of comprehensive immigration reform. At the rally, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), one of the top leaders on immigration reform, announced that he will introduce a bill in the coming weeks outlining the key principles for comprehensive immigration reform.  Rep. Gutierrez's proposal includes provisions on worker protections, family unity, border enforcement and a pathway to legalization. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will take the lead in the Senate and has promised to introduce language this Fall.  Our partners at HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) are sponsoring a postcard writing campaign in support of Comprehensive Immigration Reform. For more information or to receive postcards for your local community contact Elyssa Koidin at ekoidin@thejcpa.org.

Breast Cancer Prevention.  On October 7th a hearing was held in the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to discuss the EARLY Act (Young Women's Breast Health Education and Awareness Requires Learning Young Act of 2009), a bill introduced by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) that would increase awareness among young women under the age of 40 of the threats posed by breast cancer. The bill also takes steps to reduce the risks through early detection techniques and offers support for women diagnosed with breast cancer.
JCPA Programs
JCPA Board Meeting Agenda. Don't miss JCPA's 2009 Board meeting.  Our agenda covers a host of issues including the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall featuring Dr. Horst Freitag, Consul General of Germany in New York; A discussion on Iran, the Peace Process and the relationship between P.M. Netanyahu President Barack Obama featuring Yossi Klein Halevi; and a panel discussion on fair labor standards in Kosher food featuring Rabbi Menachem Genak of the OU and Rabbi Julie Schonfeld of the Rabbinical Assembly.

Joint JCPA Task Force Meeting on Civility. All three JCPA task forces will come together to explore what factors help yield a more cooperative public dialogue.   We will examine models for discourse, the tools we need, and what the community relations field can do to foster greater civility in our community and in society.  This panel will be moderated by Dr. Steven Windmueller of Hebrew Union College and feature Rabbi Doug Kahn, Dr. Karen Abrams Gerber, and Rabbi Stephanie Ruskay.

Click here to register for the October meetings!
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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