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Volume 13, Number 1
January 4, 2010

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In This Issue
Iran Initiative
Israel Advocacy Initiative
Save Darfur
This Week in Washington
COEJL
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.


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The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) is the united voice of the organized Jewish community.

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
Iran Soccer Chief Apologizes for Israel Greeting. The head of Iran's soccer federation issued a public apology and a member of his staff resigned after the federation mistakenly sent a New Year's greeting to its counterpart in Israel, Iranian officials announced Sunday. "It was a big mistake sending an e-mail to Israel's football federation," Ali Kaffashian, president of the Iran Football Federation, said in a statement carried by the semi-official Mehrs News Agency. "However, I am sure the director of the foreign relations office didn't do it on purpose." Kaffashian said Iran's soccer league routinely sends New Year's greetings to all members of FIFA, the sport's global federation, except for Israel. Iran does not recognize Israel, which it dismisses as the "Zionist entity," and the two countries' teams do not meet in international competitions. Read the article from CNN here.

US Discusses Iran 'Next Steps' with Partners. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the US has been discussing ways of putting pressure on Iran to ends its nuclear program with its partners. But the White House said the "door is still open" for Iran to return to talks over nuclear enrichment.  Iran is already subject to three sets of UN sanctions for refusing to suspend its uranium enrichment program. US President Barack Obama had said harsher steps would be taken if Iran failed to respond by the end of 2009. Clinton said the US had begun speaking to its partners and "like-minded nations" about pressure and sanctions. She said the goal of the US was to "pressure the Iranian government, particularly the Revolutionary Guard elements, without contributing to the suffering of the ordinary people, who deserve better than what they currently are receiving." Read the article from the BBC here.
JCPA/Jewish Federations
Israel Advocacy Initiative

Third International Renewable Energy Conference to be held in Eilat. The Third International Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Conference will be held in February in Eilat. Organized by the Eilat Eilot Renewable Energy Administration in association with the Technologies Company, the conference focuses on the latest innovations in renewable energy. Israel is a prominent actor in the field of renewable energy and the conference will provide new Israeli technology companies a platform to present their innovations. The conference is an international forum encouraging discussion and debate of policies, technology, business and investment practices to lead to cost effective, doable solutions. More than 2,000 people are expected to attend the conference, including former US Ambassador to Israel Richard Jones, who is now the Deputy Executive Director of the International Energy Agency; Michael Peevey, President of California Public Utility Commission and Dr. Hermann Scheer, General Chairman of the World Council for Renewable Energy. Read more from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here.

A Mideast Bond, Stitched of Pain and Healing. He can be impulsive. She has a touch of bossiness. Next-door neighbors for nearly a year, they talk, watch television and explore the world together, wandering into each other's homes without a second thought. She likes his mother's eggplant dish. He likes her father's rice and lamb. Friendship often starts with proximity, but Orel and Marya, both 8, have been thrust together in a way few elsewhere have. Their playground is a hospital corridor. He is an Israeli Jew severely wounded by a Hamas rocket. She is a Palestinian Muslim from Gaza paralyzed by an Israeli missile. Someone forgot to tell them that they are enemies. "He's a naughty boy," Marya likes to say of Orel with an appreciative smile when he gets a little wild.  When Orel arrived here a year ago, he could not hear, see, talk or walk. Now he does them all haltingly. Half his brain is gone. Doctors were deeply pessimistic about his survival. Today they are amazed at his progress although unclear how much more can be made. Marya's spinal cord was broken at the neck and she can move only her head. Smart, sunny and strong-willed, she moves her wheelchair by pushing a button with her chin. Nothing escapes her gaze. She knows that Orel is starting to prefer boys as playmates and she makes room. But their bond remains strong. Read the full article from the New York Times here.

The Wake-Up Call from Flight 253. There has been much written about the attempted bombing of Flight 253 on Christmas Day by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.  Jeff Jacoby presented his views in an op-ed for The Boston Globe on December 30, 2009. Jacoby writes, "For many Americans, 9/11 had not marked a break with old ways of thinking. As the near-unanimity of 9/11 receded, Americans divided into what Fred Barnes dubbed September 12 people, for whom 9/11 had changed everything, and September 10 people, who believed the terrorist threat was being exaggerated by the Bush administration. Would that divide have closed if Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had succeeded in blowing up Northwest Airlines Flight 253 over Detroit on Christmas Day? If Al Qaeda, which reportedly trained Abdulmutallab in Yemen and is claiming responsibility for the thwarted attack, had succeeded in carrying out another 9/11, would the short-lived unity and moral clarity of that terrible day in 2001 have returned? Had Flight 253 ended in mass-murder as the bomb plotters intended, Americans would today be filled with grief and fury. They would also be grappling with some hard lessons - lessons that in recent years too many had been inclined to dismiss." To read the full op-ed, click here.

Save Darfur
UNAMID Chief: Darfur Situation Remains 'Volatile'. Darfur remains volatile despite improvements, with the causes of its six-year conflict still at play, the commander of UN-African Union peacekeepers in the western Sudanese region said Tuesday.  "Of course the security situation is better than it was two or three years ago, in terms of clashes between factions," Lieutenant General Patrick Nyamvumba, head of the UNAMID force since  September, told AFP in an interview.  "But the absence of armed clashes between the government and a number of groups does not mean there is prevalent security.  "Now we have other forms of insecurity. We have kidnappings, we have carjackings, we have robbery, we have tribal clashes, so the situation, much as it has improved, still remains volatile," said Nyamvumba.  Click here.
This Week in Washington

This Week in Washington.  President Obama returns to Washington this week after vacationing in Hawaii.  Congress is currently on recess.  The House and the Senate are scheduled to reconvene on January 12th and January 20th, respectively.  The Supreme Court will not hear oral arguments until January 11th.  

The United States and Britain Shut Down Embassies in Yemen.  Citing unspecified threats from the al-Qaeda branch linked to the attempted bombing of an American airliner on Christmas Day, the United States and Britain closed their embassies in Yemen this past Sunday.  Both nations also signaled that they would play a more active role in combating terrorism and Islamic radicalization in Yemen. The United States announced that it would dramatically increase foreign aid to Yemen, more than doubling its counterterrorism assistance this year.  On Saturday, Gen. David H. Petraeus, the head of U.S. Central Command, met with Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to express U.S. support for the fight against al-Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula.

COEJL
Fortieth Anniversary of the National Environmental Policy Act. On the last day of 2009, President Obama recognized the fortieth anniversary of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and stated that the Administration "will recognize NEPA's enactment by recommitting to environmental quality through open, accountable, and responsible decision making that involves the American public." He also encouraged "every American to learn more about the NEPA and how we can all contribute to protecting and enhancing our environment." To read about his proclamation, click here.

The NEPA was adopted in 1969 to "declare a national policy which will encourage productive and enjoyable harmony between man and his environment; to promote efforts which will prevent or eliminate damage to the environment and biosphere and stimulate the health and welfare of man; to enrich the understanding of the ecological systems and natural resources important to the Nation; and to establish a Council on Environmental Quality. Click here for the act's full text.

The act accomplishes three things - it declares national environmental policies and goals with regard to environmental quality, declares that it is the continuing policy of the Federal Government, in cooperation with State and local governments, and other concerned public and private organizations to enforce such declared policies and goals, and establishes a Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) in the Executive Office of the President.

This year on April 22nd we will also commemorate the fortieth anniversary of Earth Day. In the spirit of President Obama's declaration, check out the Citizen's Guide to the NEPA at ceq.hss.doe.gov/nepa/Citizens_Guide_Dec07.pdf or contact COEJL at ssanchez@coejl.org for more information about how to get involved.
JCPA Programs

2010 Plenum to Address Anti-Semitism. Threats of anti-Semitism challenge Jewish communities at home and across the globe. What can we do to alleviate anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist sentiment in the United States and how should the Obama Administration, with its foreign policy shift toward engagement, seek to address global manifestations of anti-Semitism multilaterally?

 

Hear from leading expert on Anti-Semitism, Hannah Rosenthal, former Executive Director of the JCPA and newly appointed State Department Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism.  Joining Hannah will be Abraham Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League. 

 

Come find out at a plenary session on global anti-Semitism on Monday, February 22 at the 2010 JCPA Plenum.  Read more about these speakers and others 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!

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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