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Volume 12, Number 41
November 9, 2009

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In This Issue
Iran Initiative
JCPA/UJC Israel Advocacy Initiative
Save Darfur
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
On Tuesday, November 3, a special Israel Navy force intercepted and boarded the cargo ship "Francop," flying an Antiguan flag 100 miles off the coast of Israel and brought it to the Ashdod port. Some 500 tons of weapons, rockets, and missiles were uncovered aboard the vessel, disguised as civilian cargo and hidden among hundreds of other containers. The weapons found on board the ship originated from Iran and were intended for the Hizbullah terror organization, for use against Israel. They constitute a harsh violation of UN Security Council Resolutions 1747 and 1701 that strictly forbid Iran from exporting or trading any form of weapons. Read more from the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs here.

Report: Iran Will Not Ship Uranium Out of the Country. On November 7, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, chief of Iran's Parliament National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said the proposed deal to send uranium out of the country is "called off," Iran's semiofficial news agency ISNA reported. This issue is part of a deal being negotiated by a U.N. nuclear watchdog agency. The draft agreement has been supported by the United States, France and Russia. It calls for Iran to ship low-enriched uranium outside the country, possibly to Russia, to be converted into fuel rods. The material then would be shipped back to the Tehran research reactor that produces isotopes for use in medical treatments. The U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency said under the deal, Iran would get the converted fuel back by the end of 2010. Read the full article from CNN here.
JCPA/UJC Israel Advocacy Initiative
Goldstone/ Gold Debate at Brandeis. In an op-ed for the Boston Globe, Jeff Jacoby writes, "To Brandies University, South African jurist Richard Goldstone brought his international reputation as a legal scholar, a human rights advocate, and the former chief prosecutor of the United Nations tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Dore Gold, Israel's former ambassador to the UN, brought facts and figures, maps and photographs, and audio and video in English, Arabic, and Hebrew….Yet to my mind, what was most striking of all was Goldstone's inability to give a clear answer to an essential question: What should a law-abiding country do to defend itself against relentless terrorist attacks? In one form or another, that question came up repeatedly. In his welcoming remarks, Brandeis president Jehuda Reinharz observed that we live in a "new age of warfare,'' in which civilized nations confront terrorists able to "mix and melt'' into the civilian population. Asked Gold, after describing the thousands of rockets launched by Hamas at Israeli communities: "What would you do if your population was facing repeated attacks for eight years?'' During the question-and-answer period, a student asked Goldstone - who had condemned Israel's "disproportionate'' attacks - what he would have considered a "proportionate'' response. But the judge, astonishingly, had no answer." Read the full op-ed  from the Boston Globe here and see a video of the debate here.

Palestinian Workers, Unions Don't Support BDS Campaign
. In a series of blog postings, British trade unionists visiting Israel and Palestine have learned that Palestinian workers and their unions are not enthusiastic supporters of the campaign for boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS) targeting Israel. In fact, they were told bluntly that the BDS campaign is bad news for Palestinians. USDAW National Executive member Mike Dixon wrote: "There was a discussion about the boycott and it is clear that Palestinians don't want it - all they want is equal pay and a living." The communications director for the Advance union added: "Listening to people from both communities on the subject of the proposed international trade union boycott, it is evident that all parties oppose this action.  In a meeting with the Jerusalem Municipality workers, one view from the Palestinian contingent was that a boycott would be more detrimental to the Arab workforce than any other. The reason for this was that in the event of economic sanctions, it would cause a detrimental impact on the employment levels of their community." Read the full article here.

Israel Ranks Number Five in Top Ten CleanTech Countries of 2009. Israel, the 'Silicon Valley' of water technology, is fast becoming the cleantech incubator to the world Israel recycles 75 percent of its wastewater, invented drip irrigation, and is home to the world's largest reverse osmosis desalination plant. Israel certainly isn't the world's biggest cleantech market, but it might just be one of the world's most important centers of cleantech innovation and R&D, with innovative companies such as CellEra, Aqwise, and Emefcy. Better Place is also making Israel the first test-market for a nationwide electric vehicle recharge network. VCs include Israel Cleantech, Aqua Argo Fund and Terra Ventures. Read more here.
Save Darfur
U.N. Says Abuses Continue in Darfur.  Sudan's government continues to commit human rights abuses in Darfur, according to a U.N. report released Friday, even as the Obama administration pursues a new policy of engagement conditioned on an improvement in the situation there.  A U.N. panel appointed to monitor implementation of Security Council sanctions said the Khartoum government has failed to halt the illegal flow of arms into Darfur or protect the rights of people living in the region, and has tortured government opponents. "The Darfurian population continues to be victimized by the effects of attacks and counterattacks involving most of the armed movements that frequently lead to disproportionate use of force by the Sudanese Armed Forces," the report said. The panel described a government crackdown on Darfur natives that "has manifested itself in violations of a catalogue of human rights and fundamental freedoms." To read more from the Washington Post, Click here.
This Week in Washington
This Week in Washington.  This week, Congress will be in session until the Veterans Day Recess.  President Obama will travel to Fort Hood in Texas to attend a memorial service for the 13 soldiers killed there last week.  The Supreme Court will be in session this week and hear oral arguments.   The General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America will be held this week in Washington. 

Health Care Reform.
  After hours of debate in a rare Saturday session, the House of Representatives passed their version of the health care reform bill, the Affordable Health Care for America Act (H.R. 3962). The bill passed in a 220-215 vote. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says the bill will cost around $900 billion over ten years and will cover an additional 36 million Americans.

The legislation, the result of combining and negotiating the three bills passed over the summer in the House, requires all individuals to have health insurance, creates an employer mandate that would require companies to cover their employees (with an exemption for small business), dramatically expands Medicaid by providing free health care coverage to any American with an income below 150% of the federal poverty level, creates a government run health insurance option, and ends several controversial insurance practices such as denials based on preexisting conditions.  In addition, an amendment was accepted by the House that further limits access to reproductive health services.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has said that he hopes the Senate will pass a comprehensive health reform bill before the Thanksgiving Recess. There are still a number of outstanding issues that are being negotiated by key Senators, including the use of a public option, the requirements for employer provided coverage, and  the details of the financing mechanism.

Unemployment.  On November 6, the Labor Department reported that the unemployment rate rose to 10.2% in October, up from 9.8% the previous month. This marks the highest level of unemployment since 1983. The labor market is still weak despite the Commerce Department's economic assessment that the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) rose 3.5% in the third quarter of 2009.

Last Friday, President Obama signed in to a law an extension of unemployment insurance benefits. The legislation provides an additional 14 weeks of benefits to jobless workers in all 50 states, and an extra 6 weeks of benefits in states with unemployment rates greater than 8.5%. The Administration and Congress are expected to introduce additional measures over the coming months that will help stimulate job growth.
JCPA Programs

Plenum Registration is Open!  Please make plans to join us in Dallas, Texas on February 20 - 23 for the 2010 JCPA Plenum.  The theme of this year's Plenum is, B'Yachad: Building Bridges - Acting Together.  Plenum registration, hotel information, and program updates are now available at www.jcpaplenum.org

Kathy Miller, President of the Texas Freedom Network  is confirmed to speak at the 2010 JCPA Plenum on religion in public schools Monday, February 22nd.  Kathy has also served as communications director for the Texas Council on Family Violence and National Domestic Violence Hotline and as public affairs director for Planned Parenthood Federation of Austin. She served as TFN's deputy director from 1996 to 2000.

Kathy has appeared on Texas and national broadcast media and has testified before the Texas Legislature and Congress. Kathy created and directed a nationally acclaimed public awareness campaign that included television, radio and print advertising and reached thousands of Texas victims of domestic violence and connected them to lifesaving services.

Kathy believes in the tremendous strength of the grassroots and has spent her career focused on mobilizing support for important issues such as women's reproductive freedom, children's health care, public education and ending partner violence. Kathy has trained thousands of individuals from Texas and across the nation on media relations, grassroots organizing and mobilizing to combat radical-right political extremism.

Join us for this important session by registering 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!

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