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JCPA Insider
Volume 13, Number 6
February 8, 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

New Frontiers: The Kennedy Legacy and Its imprint on the Community. Join us and explore the rich history of the Dallas Jewish community and its importance in American political life.  On Saturday night, February 20, 2010 delegates will have an opportunity to visit the Sixth Floor Museum which chronicles the legacy and assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Delegates will hear from Lee Jackson, Chancellor of the University of North Texas system.  He will talk about the Kennedy assassination and how this incident surged the city towards growth and taught a sobering lesson about overcoming adversity. 

Lee Jackson was appointed Chancellor of the University of North Texas System on September 1, 2002 after a 30-year career in government in Dallas and the State of Texas.
    
The Chancellor reports to the UNT System Board of Regents, who are appointed by the Governor of Texas. Chancellor Jackson is responsible for policy direction, planning, and oversight of one general academic institution (UNT at Denton), one health science center (UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth), a new Dallas campus (the future UNT at Dallas), and other system initiatives.

Chancellor Jackson is the current President of the Association of Texas Colleges and Universities. He also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Dallas, the Southern Sector Development Initiative, the Dallas Citizens Council and the Dallas Education Foundation.

Following the program at the museum, participants are invited back to the hotel for a dessert reception.

Visit www.jcpaplenum.org to register.

Click here -- to download the updated schedule which includes each session, time, speakers, bios, and pictures.

Iran Initiative
Iran's President Orders Production of Higher-Enriched Uranium. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on February 7 ordered the production of higher-enriched uranium -- significantly beyond the levels of its regular nuclear fuel -- prompting the United States to renew threats of carefully targeted sanctions.  Ahmadinejad's instructions were followed by an announcement from the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization that Iran would alert the International Atomic Energy Agency on February 8 of its plans to "start making 20 percent enriched fuel on February 9." Read the article from the Washington Post here.

Iran Begins to Build Unmanned Planes. Iran has launched two production lines to build unmanned aircraft with surveillance and attack capabilities, the defense minister announced February 8. It also announced that Iran would soon deploy a missile air defense system more powerful than the advanced Russian S-300 system Teheran has ordered from Moscow in 2007 but has yet to receive. The state television quoted Defense Minister Gen. Ahmad Vahidi as saying the unmanned aircraft would be able to carry out surveillance as well as offensive tasks with high precision and a long range. The two types of aircraft, or drones, are named Ra'd (thunder) and Nazir (herald), with the former possessing offensive capabilities. Read the article from the Jerusalem Post here.
JCPA/Jewish Federations
Israel Advocacy Initiative
Alan Dershowitz on Goldstone. Professor Alan Dershowitz has written a new publication called, "The Case Against the Goldstone Report: A Study in Evidentiary Bias." It is now available for download here.

Slain Hamas Terrorist Admitted Role in Killings of Israeli Soldiers. A slain terrorist of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas confessed to his involvement in the 1989 killings of two Israeli soldiers, in a video aired on Sunday, February 7, more than two weeks after his death. Mahmud al-Mabhuh, whose body was found in a luxury Dubai hotel room on January 20, said in the tape broadcast by Al-Jazeera television that he had been at the center of the killings of Ilan Saadon and Avi Sasportas. The two were abducted in separate incidents more than two decades ago. Appearing on tape with his face hidden behind a scarf, Mabhuh detailed the kidnapping of Sasportas. He and other terrorists had disguised themselves as religious Jews to abduct the soldier, whose body was found in April 1989. Read the article from the AFP here.
Save Darfur
Save Darfur President, Jerry Fowler, to Step Down on March 12th.  Jerry Fowler has accepted a position with another major human rights nongovernmental organization to work on related issues, which will be announced soon.   Mark Lotwis, Senior Director of Campaign Advocacy, will serve as acting president while Save Darfur undertakes a search for a new chief executive.   The JCPA salutes Mr. Fowler for his determination and leadership in helping the people of Darfur and the country of Sudan by bringing their struggle for human rights and peace to the national agenda.  To read the full Save Darfur Coalition press release announcing this development, click here.
This Week in Washington

This Week in Washington.  This week, Washington was inundated by a historic snowstorm which the local media is dubbing "snowmageddon."  Snow levels reached 20 inches Downtown and above 30 inches in the suburbs.  Federal offices closed early on Friday and were shut on Monday as well.  The Senate postponed votes until Tuesday morning.  President Obama is in Washington this week.  Last week, he held a question-and-answer session with the Senate Democratic Caucus and addressed Democratic National Committee at its winter meeting.  The Supreme Court will not be hearing oral arguments this week.  

Jobs Bill.  The Senate is expected to start debate this week on a much anticipated jobs bill. While details of the bill have yet to be released, the legislation is likely to include tax incentives for small businesses, including $5,000 per new hire, funding for green jobs, and benefits for unemployed workers. The House of Representatives passed its version of the jobs bill, The Jobs for Main Street Act, in December. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday that the unemployment rate decreased slightly in January to 9.7%.

EU and US on Human Rights in Iran.  The European Union and the United States released a statement calling on the Iranian government to fulfill its human rights obligations.  The statement condemns the continuing human rights abuses in Iran, including the large scale detentions and mass trials, the threatened execution of protestors, the intimidation of family members of those detained and the continuing denial to its citizens of the right to peaceful expression.  The statement goes on to express particular concern for the potential of further violence and repression during the coming days, especially around the anniversary of the Islamic Republic's founding on 11 February.   To read the full statement, click here.

White House Faith-Based Office.  Last week, President Obama's White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and its corollary Presidential Advisory Council, turned one year old.  The Council is in the process of finalizing its recommendations to the President on a host of issues including economic recovery, interfaith relations, and the efficacy and legal foundation of the White House Office. Since its original creation by President George W. Bush in 2001, the White House Faith-Based Office has been controversial.  Last week, the JCPA, several of our member agencies (American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League, B'nai B'rith International, and Union for Reform Judaism), and other coalition partners sent a letter to President Obama offering suggestions for his Administration's next steps with regard to this program.  The letter can be found here.

Health Care.  President Obama announced Sunday his intention to convene a half-day bipartisan helath care summit at the White House that would be broadcast on live television.  The summit, tentatively scheduled for February 25th, is envisioned as a means to bring Democratic and Republican leadership together to try to mvoe psat the political stalemate on health care reform.

COEJL
Whether Through the EPA or Congress, Carbon Emissions Must Be Reduced. As the battle to ensure the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to regulate the Clean Air Act and implement its endangerment finding http://epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment.html that carbon emissions threatens public health, the first federal permit to regulate carbon dioxide has been issued upon the request of a Texas company building a power plant in California. To read more about it click here.  In COEJL's recent analysis in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency's review of the Jewish agenda for the Congressional year, COEJL advised that President Obama and Congress "Heed the moral and practical urgency of combating climate change and work together for a comprehensive bill this year." You can help by calling or writing your Senators today and urging them to vote 'no' to any attempt to ban the EPA from regulating green house gases and to vote 'yes' to comprehensive climate change and energy policy legislation.
Condolences
Seth Felson, z"l.  The JCPA expresses its condolences to Ethan Felson, JCPA Vice President, on the passing of his brother, Seth, on February 2.  A college fund has been established for Seth's children.  Contributions may be made payable to CollegeAmerica and sent to Ethan Felson, 305 W. 18th Street, Apt. 4K, New York, NY 10011.
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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