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Volume 12, Number 46
December 28, 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.

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For more than sixty years, the JCPA has identified issues, formulated policy, developed strategies and programs, and given expression to a strongly united Jewish communal voice. JCPA's has an unparalleled capacity to mobilize grassroots activism, through our network of 14 national and 125 local member 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.

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Iran Initiative
Aides to Iran's Opposition Leaders Said to Be Arrested. A number of opposition figures, including three top aides to the opposition leader Mir Hussein Moussavi and Ibrahim Yazdi, leader of a banned political group, were arrested Monday in the wake of violent nationwide protests a day earlier. Mr. Moussavi's 43-year-old nephew, Ali Moussavi, was among 10 people reported killed during the protests, which came on a religious holiday during which violence of any kind is normally forbidden, worsening the tensions in the conflict. If the 10 deaths are confirmed, it would be the highest toll since the summer, when huge crowds took to the streets to protest what they said was rampant fraud in the presidential election won by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The decision by the authorities to use deadly force on the Ashura holiday, during which there is normally a prohibition on violence, infuriated many Iranians, and some said the violence appeared to galvanize more traditional religious people who had not previously been part of the protests. Read more from the New York Times here.

White House Condemns Suppression in Iran. On December 27, the White House strongly condemned "violent and unjust suppression" of civilians in Iran, following a fierce government crackdown on opposition protests. The blunt statement contrasted with careful initial responses by the White House following post-election protests in Iran in June and came as the nuclear showdown between Tehran and world powers reached a critical point. "We strongly condemn the violent and unjust suppression of civilians in Iran seeking to exercise their universal rights," National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said in a statement. "Hope and history are on the side of those who peacefully seek their universal rights, and so is the United States.  "Governing through fear and violence is never just, and as President Obama said in Oslo -- it is telling when governments fear the aspirations of their own people more than the power of any other nation." The White House commented after Iranian security forces killed several protestors, including opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi's nephew, in a crackdown on anti-government rallies in Tehran. Read the article from AFP here.
JCPA/jewish federations
Israel Advocacy Initiative
Obama Signs Bills Including Israel Defense Funds. On Wednesday, December 23, President Obama signed a defense appropriations bill that includes $202 million in defense cooperation with Israel. The money is considered separate from Israel's defense assistance package, which was in the Foreign Operations Bill, also signed in recent days, because it is not purely assistance; it is considered an investment in systems that are used by U.S. troops and that are profitable for the American companies involved. The defense cooperation includes $50 million for further development of the Arrow anti-missile system. The Foreign Operations Bill brings defense assistance to Israel up to $2.775 billion, which is commensurate with the 2007-2017 plan launched by President Bush to give $30 billion to Israel. Read the article from JTA here.

The Kibbutz that is Saving American Soldiers' Lives. It is noon on Kibbutz Sasa, way up in the northern Galilee, at the foot of Mount Meron. Dozens of kibbutz members and hundreds of workers from the kibbutz-owned factory Plasan are thronging as usual to the dining hall for a pauper's meal. The simple lunch and vibrant kibbutz ambiance give no hint of the real story behind Kibbutz Sasa, one of extraordinary success on a global scale. The kibbutz owes its success to the company it runs, Plasan, a manufacturer of ballistic protection solutions for vehicles. In recent years Plasan has positioned itself as the world leader in armor protection technology for vehicles, signing contracts worth billions with major clients, first and foremost the U.S. military. "It is not customary in our field to compliment rivals," said a senior Israeli defense industry executive who has watched Plasan triumph. "I have spent 30 years in this field, and this is one of the greatest successes in the industry. Their work is exceptional. To convince the U.S. military that you are a reliable outfit is no mean feat. They did it all alone, without any help from a former ambassador or Defense Ministry director general." Read the article from Haaretz here.
Save Darfur
Five Year Anniversary of the Signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). To mark this January 9 anniversary, a global effort is being launched to draw international attention to this critical time for Sudan. That morning, several cities around the world will host events as part of a coordinated global day of drumming-centered events and action. Save Darfur Coalition and a coalition of partners are currently creating a video of a variety of drummers, some famous and others not, which will be shown at the United States events as well as in approximately 15 other countries. Join us on this global day to stand in solidarity with the people in Sudan and the Sudanese Diaspora. For more information about an event in your city and how you can be involved, contact will@savedarfur.org.
This Week in Washington
This Week in Washington.  Last week, Congress adjourned for the year and will return in January.  President Obama and his family are vacationing in Hawaii this week.  The Supreme Court is not in session this week.  

Health Care Reform.  On December 25, the United States Senate cast its final vote on The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009 (H.R. 3590). The bill passed 60-39, moving the health care reform legislation one step closer to enactment. The legislation, a product of months of negotiations, would cost $871 billion over 10 years and provide health insurance coverage to 31 million Americans who are currently uninsured  by expanding Medicaid, and setting up a national insurance marketplace that includes private plans nationally administered by the same federal agency that oversees federal employee benefits. In addition, the legislation includes insurance reforms such as prohibiting the practice of denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions. There are considerable differences between the Senate's bill and the House of Representatives' legislation, the Affordable Healthcare for America Act (H.R. 3962), which was approved by the House in November. The two bills will need to be reconciled, a process that is expected to take place in the beginning of January.

Attempted Terrorist Attack.  In reaction to the attempted terrorist attack aboard an airliner en route from Amsterdam to Detroit, President Obama ordered a system-wide review of airport screen procedures and the terrorism watch-lists.  On Christmas Day, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigeria national, attempted to detonate an explosive aboard a Northwest Airlines flight.  The device failed, and Abdulmutallab was taken into custody.  He was arraigned on December 26th and remains hospitalized for his burns.
JCPA Programs
JCPA is happy to announce our latest confirmed Plenum speaker.  Dr. Emily Landau is a senior research associate at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in Tel Aviv, where she is also director of the Arms Control and Regional Security Project.  She has published and lectured extensively on CSBMs in the Middle East, Arab perceptions of Israel's qualitative edge, Israeli-Egyptian relations, Israel's nuclear policy and arms control policy, proliferation challenges in the post-Cold War world.

Dr. Landau will speak on Sunday, February 21 at the meeting of JCPA's Task Force on Israel, World Jewry, and International Human Rights.

Joining Emily is a long list of esteemed policy experts, diplomats, and Jewish leaders that will speak at the 2010 Plenum.  This list includes: Ambassador Michael Oren, Professor Nadine Strossen, Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, Abraham Foxman, Lee Cullum, and Rabbi Steve Gutow.

To join us at the JCPA plenum visit www.jcpaplenum.org to take advantage of our early registration rate.
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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