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JCPA Insider
Volume 13, Number 4
January 25, 2010

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In This Issue
JCPA Programs
Iran Initiative
Israel Advocacy Initiative
Save Darfur
This Week in Washington
COEJL
Condolences

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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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JCPA PLENUM
Hotel Deadline for the JCPA Plenum is Fast Approaching!  JCPA has lined up an impressive roster of speakers for the 2010 JCPA Plenum.  Be sure to register today! Click here to download a comprehensive list of speakers who will address such issues as Israel, healthcare, interfaith, and Poverty in America.

Be sure to visit www.jcpaplenum.org to make your hotel reservation using the JCPA Plenum Block.  The reservation deadline is Friday, January 29th.

Iran Initiative
HRW: Iran Crackdown is a Human Rights Disaster. A report released on January 24 by New York-based Human Rights Watch details alleged abuses by members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, Basij militia and police following widespread demonstrations in the wake of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election.  About 4,000 people have been arrested in the post-election crackdown. The government has confirmed the deaths of at least 37 people in the protests or in detention, seven of those deaths happening in December on Ashura, a major religious observance, the report said, alleging that many detainees have been beaten, tortured and in some cases, sexually abused. The group also says it believes the death toll is much higher. "The systematic and brutal targeting of demonstrators and government critics by security forces shows that the regime's crackdown is nothing but an attempt to silence voices of dissent," said Joe Stork, the group's deputy director for the Middle East. "Iran's post-election unrest is now a full-blown human rights crisis." The Iranian government had no immediate response to the report. Read the full article from CNN here.

Iranian Opposition Leader Karoubi Acknowledges President. Prominent Iranian opposition leader Mehdi Karoubi has said he recognizes Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president, despite saying last year's poll was rigged. Mr. Karoubi had refused to accept the president's controversial re-election. Mr. Karoubi's son says his father still has doubts about the vote, but accepts the results following Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's endorsement. Opposition activists are preparing for a new round of anti-Ahmadinejad protests on Revolution Day next month. Read the article from the BBC here.
JCPA/Jewish Federations
Israel Advocacy Initiative
Investment of $350M In Electric Car Project.  HSBC Holdings PLC will lead an international team of investors, including Israel Corp. Ltd., planning to invest $350 million in the electric car venture Project Better Place. Project Better Place, founded by software entrepreneur Shai Agassi, intends to build a network of charging stations for electric cars around Israel and other countries. HSBC will invest $125 million, and Israel Corp. will invest $20.5 million. Additional investors, including Morgan Stanley Investment Management, will contribute the rest of the necessary capital. Read the full article from the Wall Street Journal here.

Israel to the Rescue. In his editor's notes, David Horovitz writes for the Jerusalem Post, "Israel went into action the moment the scale of last Tuesday's earthquake disaster in Haiti began to become clear. That same day, the IDF dispatched a five-member preliminary team to establish what assistance Israel could most usefully provide and to work out the logistics for providing it. While other countries dithered, countries both nearer and far better resourced, Israel utilized the experience born of its previous earthquake rescue missions - to Turkey, Greece, Armenia and Mexico - and got down to business. By Friday, its field hospital in Port-au-Prince was, literally, operational: Israeli surgeons were saving Haitian lives. Almost a week later, it remained the best hospital in the blighted Haitian capital. Our "light unto the nations" Haitian relief effort encapsulated much of what is best about our country - and encapsulated certain other aspects of our familiar reality, too." To read the full article from the Jerusalem Post, click here.
Save Darfur
Sudanese Elections.  The first significant elections in Sudan in 24 years are fast approaching in April of 2010.  These elections are supposed to serve as a capstone to a democratic transformation promised in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed between North and South Sudan in 2005. However, the upcoming elections are not free and fair, we must not allow Bashir and his regime to legitimize itself through these elections. Tell President Obama that you still stand with the Sudanese people during the upcoming elections. Vote for free and fair elections. Order free postcard petitions to galvanize your local community for peace in Sudan by contacting melissa@savedarfur.org.
This Week in Washington

This Week in Washington.  This week, Congress is in session and President Barack Obama will deliver his first State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress.  The Supreme Court is not in session this week. 

State of the Union. On Wednesday, President Obama will deliver his first State of the Union address to Congress.  The President is expected to focus on the economy and government policies to promote job creation. 

Citizens United.  Last week, in a special Thursday session, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Citizens United v. FEC.  Overturning several Court precedents and pieces of legislation, the Justices found that corporations and unions can spend money directly from their treasuries for political advertisements.  The corporate or union expenditures cannot be coordinated with a candidate or their campaign.  The Court did uphold several transparency requirements which mandate that the advertisements disclose their funder.

Netanyahu and Mitchell Meet.  Special US envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the weekend.  Following the three-hour meeting in Jerusalem, Netanyahu told his cabinet that Mitchell mentioned "a number of ideas on how to jumpstart the peace process and I expressed hope that these ideas will in fact lead to negotiations - if the Palestinians express a similar interest in them, for the sake of all those who seek reconciliation in our region." 

Child Nutrition Reauthorization. JCPA has partnered with MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, to create the 2010 Child Nutrition Seder mobilization to communicate the importance of the issue of child hunger to the Jewish community, and to advocate for a strong Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill.  Jewish communities across the country will hold mock Passover Seders during the month of March, and discuss the modern slavery of hunger and specific public policy proposal designed to end childhood hunger in America.  If you are planning on holding a Child Nutrition Seder, please write to Becky Eisen at beisen@thejcpa.org.  All community organizations that commit by February 2 to hold a Seder will automatically be entered in to a raffle to win one of three new flip cameras that they can use to take video of their Seder. 

COEJL
TU B'SHVAT ACTION ALERT. As the holiday of Tu B'Shvat approaches and we prepare to celebrate trees and nature, we can also take urgent action to protect that which we seek to honor. Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski is seeking to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions, which would effectively stop the EPA from enforcing its recent ruling that such gases jeopardize our public health. If the carbon output of polluting industries isn't regulated, it will increase unabated - and that is not an acceptable situation. Senator Murkowski and her supporters believe that Congress needs more time to come up with effective environmental legislation - that we cannot rush such an important piece of work. The truth is that we know the danger of carbon emissions and we need to regulate them. We ought to trust the EPA to come up with the necessary regulations. Last week Senator Murkowski introduced this language through a new resolution. In the spirit of Tu B'Shvat , COEJL urges you to call or write your Senators today and urge them to vote 'no' to any attempt to ban the EPA from regulating green house gases.
Condolences
Walter Lurie, z"l. The JCPA family mourns the passing of Dr. Walter Lurie, who served as Director of Program Analysis at the agency (then known as the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council) from 1946-80; as Director of the Large City Budgeting Conference (Council of Jewish Federations) from 1956-68; and as President of the Conference of Jewish Communal Service.  Dr. Lurie, the author of many seminal publications on Jewish community relations died on January 16, 2010, at the age of 97.
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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