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Volume 12, Number 43
December 7, 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.

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Iran Initiative
Students Clash With Riot Police As Protests Erupt on Iranian Campuses. Violence erupted in Tehran on December 7 as thousands of students and opposition activists staged fresh protests against the Iranian government. Riot police using teargas and batons charged demonstrators in two of the capital's main squares. Security forces flooded the streets and sealed off universities. They were reported to be firing in the air and bringing in water cannons, but they failed to prevent students demonstrating on campuses across Tehran and in other Iranian cities. The authorities cut off internet services and took down the mobile telephone network in some places, but snatches of grainy footage still reached the West. They showed students staging sits-in, marches and mock funeral processions, and burning posters of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader - an act unthinkable before he backed President Ahmadinejad's hotly disputed re-election in June. Read the full article from the Times Online here.

Khamenei Says US, Britain Will Fail to Isolate Iran. Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei lashed out December 6 at the US and Britain, labeling them Tehran's main "enemies" and warning they will fail to isolate Iran over its nuclear issue. "Americans are at the head of the list of enemies and the British are the most awful of them," state television reported Khamenei as saying in an address to thousands of people to mark a major Shiite ceremony. "Americans, Zionists and other oppressive powers tried to isolate Iran for the past 30 years, but they failed and with God's help they will also fail in the future," Khamenei said in reaction to sustained Western threats to isolate Iran over its controversial atomic program. "We ask them to stop lying and as we have said in the past the Iranian nation is pursuing nuclear technology and if we do not achieve it today, then tomorrow when the world economy is driven by nuclear power we will be late," the cleric said, re-asserting that Iran's nuclear intent is entirely peaceful. Read more from AFP here.

Editorial: Obama Must Outline Plan to Stop Iran's Nuclear Ambitions. As a result of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Metropolitan Detroit's ongoing conversations with local media, an editorial published in the Detroit News states, "Developing an effective response to Iran's nuclear ambitions is as important as stabilizing Afghanistan and keeping Iraq moving toward self-government. The Iranians have proved impervious to international pressure to suspend their uranium enrichment work. Iran demonstrated its defiance again this week by revealing plans to build 10 more centrifuges to produce the material necessary for a nuclear weapon. On Iran, the Obama administration seems torn between moving forcefully to deny it nuclear capability and developing a strategy to contain the nuclear threat if it manages to build a weapon. At this point, the United States must be prepared to do both. Time is running short to impose an effective, iron-clad sanctions program punishing enough to discourage Iran from pursuing its nuclear goals. The Obama administration must push for a stronger commitment from China and Russia to participate in sanctions. The sanctions must be tightened soon. Iran has demonstrated its intent to rapidly accelerate its uranium enrichment efforts. Once all of the centrifuges are built, a bomb won't be far behind." To read more click here.
JCPA/UJC Israel Advocacy Initiative

JCPA Leadership Mission in Israel. JCPA Chair Andrea Weinstein, President Steve Gutow, Senior Vice President Martin Raffel, and 11 members of the JCPA leadership began the annual JCPA Leadership Mission in Israel last night, December 6. Among their meetings, today the participants met with Natan Sharansky, Jewish Agency Chairman, as well as Ron Dermer, Senior Advisor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Tomorrow, the leadership will meet with Daniel Rubinstein, United States Consul General to Jerusalem, and then head travel to Ramallah to meet with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. The trip will conclude in Jerusalem on Thursday, December 10.

Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Improved Economic Situation in the Palestinian Authority. There was a 5.6% increase in the Palestinian national product during the first quarter of 2009 compared with the corresponding quarter last year, and a 5.4% increase in the second quarter of 2009, compared with the corresponding quarter in 2008. Israel continues to collect and transfer tax monies to the PA on a regular basis. Each month Israel transfers NIS 50 million to Gaza for the salaries of PA employees, and up to $13.5 million for the salaries of UNRWA workers (most of whom are Palestinians). The number of Palestinians employed in Israel increased by 8.4% compared with 2008 and reached 47,161 in September 2009 (working in Israel or in West Bank settlements). About 14% of the Palestinian workforce is employed in Israel or in Israeli businesses in the West Bank. Read more here.

I'll Take Israel for $2,000, Alex. hat's what contestants on "Jeopardy!" were saying November 23, when the famous quiz show included a Double Jeopardy category titled "A Journey Through Israel."  Host Alex Trebek and his team, the Clue Crew, traveled to the Holy Land in early September, the show's first time there, to tape the questions, which also will be used throughout the year. They spent nearly three weeks exploring and filming, starting in Tiberias and winding their way around the country. Videotaped questions touched on both Israeli and Jewish topics, such as Oskar Schindler, the Sea of Galilee, Masada and the Dead Sea, in which Trebek was featured floating. Read the article from Haaretz here.

Irony Abounds in Human-Rights Commentary Criticizing Israel. Steve Hunegs, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, wrote in an op-ed on November 30,  "Irony abounds in Sylvia Schwarz's piece, "Human rights: Not to be entrusted to governments" (MinnPost, Nov. 19), which is a title camouflaging yet another diatribe against Israel. To begin, Schwarz correctly advises that human-rights violations occur throughout the world. Yet, she descends into the same intellectual dungeon as the United Nations Human Rights Commission in dedicating most of her space to criticism of Israel - as is the habit of the Human Rights Commission. Indeed, such human-rights malefactors as Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and Russia, who are also members of the Human Rights Commission, channel its energies to a perpetual critique of Israel. By contrast, the commission ignores such abuses as Iran's treatment of homosexuals (public executions) and members of the Baha'i faith (imprisonment for the practice of their religion). I believe this obsession - whether in a MinnPost commentary or the halls of the United Nations - betrays a true agenda: delegitimization of Israel." Read more from the MinnPost here.

Save Darfur
ICC: Sudanese Who Deny Darfur Crimes May Be Charged. Sudanese officials who deny and deceive the world about crimes committed in Sudan's western Darfur region might face criminal charges, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said on Friday.  In March, the Hague-based ICC issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on suspicion of war crimes such as orchestrating mass killings and deportations in Darfur, a remote region of Sudan roughly the size of France. "(Bashir) used the state apparatus not only to commit massive crimes but also to dissimulate them, and therefore facilitate their continuation," ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told the U.N. Security Council.  To read more from the New York Times, click here.
This Week in Washington
This Week in Washington.  This week, Congress is in session and will continue consideration of several significant pieces of legislation, including health care reform.  President Obama will visit Copenhagen for an international climate change summit.  He will also accept his Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo.  The Supreme Court is in session and will hear oral arguments this week.  

Jobs. On December 3rd  President Obama held a jobs summit at the White House. The 130 invited attendees included business owners, leading economists and labor union presidents. After a series of breakout sessions and speeches, President Obama signaled his support for programs that would help create job growth such as weatherization, small-business incentives, and tax credits for employers who hire new workers. However, the President did not make a commitment for direct federal investment in job creation.  To date, no specific job creation plan has been fully endorsed by the White House or Congress. It is expected that in the coming weeks the House of Representatives will set forth a jobs plan. Leadership in both the House and Senate have said that it is not likely that one big package will be proposed but instead a variety of smaller bills will be introduced. The Senate will likely start debate on job creation legislation after health care is finished, likely in early January.

Climate Change. The U.N. Climate Change Conference started today in Copenhagen, Denmark. More than 190 nations are expected to be represented as well as a number of NGOs. The two week conference is expected to focus on ways countries can curb their greenhouse gases and stop the increasing threat of global warming. Leading up to the conference many diplomatic leaders took part in various negotiations. President Obama is scheduled to attend the conference.

Health Care. Throughout the weekend the Senate continued debate on their version of the health care reform bill, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590). Senators are offering a large number of amendments to the legislation, ranging from women's preventative care to changes to the Medicare system. It is likely that an abortion amendment will be voted on this week. President Obama made a rare appearance before the Senate on Sunday afternoon and urged continued negotiations in hopes that a bill will be passed before the New Year. Senate Leadership has set a goal of Christmas Eve to complete their work, but no firm date or timeline has been established.
JCPA Programs
2010 JCPA Plenum. The JCPA is happy to announce Lee Cullum, syndicated columnist and television commentator, will moderate a plenary session on civility and interfaith relations featuring Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon and Rabbi Steve Gutow.  This plenary session is scheduled for Monday, February 22.

Lee Cullum's column is published in the Dallas Morning News and syndicated by Associated Features. She is a regular commentator on the "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" and National Public Radio's "All things Considered." In addition she is political commentator for KTVT-TV, the CBS affiliate in Dallas-Fort Worth, and hosts "Conversations," a public-television series of biographical interviews with major newsmakers.

The JCPA has confirmed many esteemed speakers including Ambassador Michael Oren, Professor Nadine Strossen, Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, and many more.  To register for the Plenum and read more about confirmed speakers visit 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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