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Volume 12, Number 42
November 30, 2009

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In This Issue
Iran Initiative
JCPA/UJC Israel Advocacy Initiative
Save Darfur
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
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Israel's response to the IAEA Resolution Regarding Iran. "Israel commends the resolution by the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency regarding Iran. The fact that the resolution was approved by a large majority confirms that the international community has realized that Iran's nuclear program, which has been advanced by employing methods of concealment and deception, is becoming a significant and urgent threat to world peace." Read the full text from the MFA here.

Iran Earmarks $20 million to Support Militants. On November 29 Iran's parliament passed a law earmarking $20 million to support militant groups opposing the West and investigate alleged U.S. and British plots against the Islamic Republic. The legislation is widely seen as a response to Western criticism of Iran's violent crackdown against protesters following the disputed June presidential election. Lawmakers started debating the outline of the bill in August when Iran's hardline leaders were fending off allegations that security forces had tortured opposition activists detained during the demonstrations. The text of the legislation says the money is to "support progressive currents that resist illegal activities by the governments of the U.S. and Britain." Iranian officials often use such terms to describe militant groups. It was not immediately clear which groups would receive funding from Iran, but Tehran already backs the Islamic militants Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Read the article from the AP here.

Stand For Freedom in Iran Coalition Holiday Initiative. The Stand for Freedom in Iran Coalition is asking people of all faiths and backgrounds to light a candle in honor of those imprisoned in Iran who fight for freedom.  To upload your picture to the slide show, e-mail your photo as an attachment to miles34all@photos.flickr.com.  If you'd like to give the photo a title, please put that in the subject line.  If you'd like to add a description of the photo, please do so in the body of the e-mail.  Submissions will be edited into a Flickr slide show and will then be published on the Stand for Freedom in Iran website. For more information on this initiative click here.
JCPA/UJC Israel Advocacy Initiative
Statement by Prime Minister Netanyahu on the Cabinet Decision to Suspend New Construction in Judea and Samaria. "On November 25, my cabinet authorized a policy of restraint regarding settlements which will include a suspension of new permits and new construction in Judea and Samaria for a period of ten months. My cabinet authorized this far-reaching step because of our deep desire for peace. We hope that this decision will help launch meaningful peace negotiations to reach a historic peace agreement that will finally end the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel." Read the full statement from the MFA here.

Barak: Israeli Settlement Freeze is Unprecedented Peace Move. On November 29 Defense Minister Ehud Barak called the government's move to enforce a construction freeze in West Bank settlements an unprecedented step that proves Israel is serious about pursuing Middle East peace. "This step was not carried out in the Olmert government or in the Sharon government, not in my government and not in Yitzhak Rabin's government either," said Barak. "The real significance is that for the first time, we are suspending all new construction for an extended period and therefore giving peace negotiations a chance." Read the article from Haaretz here.

   
Hezbollah to Continue Arming to Fight Israel. On November 30 Hezbollah's leader said that the Lebanese militant group will improve its weapons capabilities to face off any Israeli threat and that armed struggle was the only way to regain Arab lands captured by the Jewish state. Hassan Nasrallah's remarks signaled the group has no intention of meeting a United Nations resolution requiring it to give up its weapons. That position that has generated division among the country's fractious political groups as well as concern in Israel, which says it is preparing to deploy a defense system to shoot down rockets from Lebanon. Nasrallah gave no details on the weapons plans, but Hezbollah has said it has tens of thousands of rockets. Israel's military says that since its 2006 war with the group, Hezbollah has tripled its prewar arsenal to more than 40,000 rockets, some of which can strike virtually anywhere in Israel - a dramatic improvement over the short-range missiles fired in 2006. Read the article from the AP here.
Save Darfur
U.S. Blasts Sudan Over Darfur Peacekeeper Harassment. The U.S. envoy to the United Nations sharply criticized Khartoum Monday over a U.N. report that accused the Sudanese army of harassing and threatening international peacekeepers in Darfur.  U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his latest report on the U.N.-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur, known as UNAMID, that limits on the freedom of movement of UNAMID personnel violated an agreement with Khartoum on their deployment and made it difficult to protect civilians.  "The United States is particularly concerned about ... the secretary-general's report of some 42 instances in which UNAMID personnel and patrols have been denied freedom of movement and access," U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice told reporters after a meeting of the Security Council on Sudan.  Click Here to read the entire article from the New York Times.

This Week in Washington
Health Care Reform. This week the Senate will begin debate on a $848 billion health care reform package drafted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). The proposed legislation would expand health care coverage to 30 million additional people.  Major questions remain on how the Senate intends to pay for the bill. The Congressional Budget Office deemed Reid's plan "fully paid for", which means lawmakers have identified enough spending cuts and tax increases to cover the cost of the bill. Still, some Senators remain unhappy with how the bill would be funded. For a complete and comparative look at the House and Senate bills go to the Kaiser Family Foundation's side-by-side comparison website: http://www.kff.org/healthreform/sidebyside.cfm
   
Jobs. On December 3rd, President Obama will convene a Jobs Summit at the White House. In light of the growing U.S. jobless rate., the President announced the summit in mid-November. 130 attendees were invited, ranging from business owners to economists to labor union presidents. President Obama said the summit will explore ways to slow the loss of jobs and quicken the pace of job creation in the coming years. The jobless rate in November was 10.2%, the highest rate unemployment has reached since 1983.
JCPA Programs
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. 

JCPA is pleased to announce H.E. Ambassador Michael Oren will speak at the 2010 Plenum on Sunday, February 21.  Take advantage of early plenum registration rates by visiting our website www.jcpaplenum.org.  Keep checking back for updates to the plenum program.

Michael B. Oren is the State of Israel's Ambassador to the United States.  A graduate of Princeton and Columbia, Dr. Oren has received fellowships from the U.S. Departments of State and Defense, and from the British and Canadian governments. Formerly, he was the Lady Davis Fellow of Hebrew University, a Moshe Dayan Fellow at Tel-Aviv University, and the Distinguished Fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem. He has been a visiting professor at Harvard, Yale, and Georgetown.

Ambassador Oren has written extensively for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The New Republic, where he was a contributing editor. His two most recent books, Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East and Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present, were both New York Times bestsellers. They won the Los Angeles Times' History Book of the Year prize, a National Council of the Humanities Award, and the National Jewish Book Award.
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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