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JCPA Insider
Volume 13, Number 11
March 22, 2010

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In This Issue
Iran Initiative
Israel Advocacy Initiative
Save Darfur
What's Happening
This Week in Washington
Condolences

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The JCPA Needs you!  With a nationwide network of JCRCs and Federations and the strength of 14 national Jewish organizations, the JCPA is the Jewish community's most effective advocate for the issues that matter most.  Our annual Leadership Appeal campaign seeks to raise $200,000 in 2010.  We know you care about the JCPA and the work that we do on behalf of the Jewish community here, in Israel and around the world.  Your support is crucial to our success.  To make a gift to the JCPA, please click here.  If you can multiply your gift by planing a parlor meeting in your home for friends and colleagues, contact Dana Hartman, Development Associate at 212.684.6953 or dhartman@thejcpa.org.

We thank you for your generous support!


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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
Clinton: US Wants Biting Sanctions on Iran. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton vowed Monday that the Obama administration will not accept a nuclear armed Iran and is working on sanctions "that will bite" to press it to come clean about its suspect atomic program.  In remarks to a pro-Israel group, Clinton said parts of Iran's government are "a menace" to the Iranian people and the Middle East. Israel considers Iran a mortal threat in its back yard, especially since the development of better Iranian missiles and the advancement of Iran's nuclear program to the point where a weapon could be feasible.  Iran claims it is not building a weapon.  Clinton said Iran's leaders must know there are "real consequences" for not proving their nuclear activities are peaceful. "Our aim is not incremental sanctions, but sanctions that will bite," Clinton told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.  "Let me be very clear: The United States is determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons," she said. Clinton said that if Iran developed a nuclear weapon, it would embolden terrorists and spark an arms race that would destabilize the Middle East.  "This is unacceptable. It is unacceptable to the United States. It is unacceptable to Israel. It is unacceptable to the region and the international community.  Read the entire Washington Post article here.
JCPA/Jewish Federations
Israel Advocacy Initiative
Israeli Government Approves Plan to Invest in Bedouin and Arab Communities. The cabinet on Sunday approved a NIS 800 million stimulus plan for the economic development of minority communities in Israel.  The plan, which was presented to the ministers by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Minority Affairs Minister Avishay Braverman, aims to boost employment, legal construction, public transportation and personal security in 12 selected Arab and Bedouin towns.  Read the entire Jerusalem Post article here.
WHAT'S HAPPENING
Jewish American Heritage Month.  May is Jewish American Heritage Month!  For the past few years, Presidents Bush and Obama have declared May to be Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM).  President Obama is expected to issue a similar proclamation this year.  JCPA encourages all of our member agencies to plan events to celebrate JAHM.  

ADA turns 20.  This summer marks the 20th Anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  ADA is a critical piece of civil rights legislation that provides access to those with disabilities and protects them against discrimination.  However, many obstacles remain for people with disabilities.  The 20th Anniversary of the ADA is wonderful opportunity focus on both the progress we have made since the ADA's enactment in 1990 and the work that still needs to be done to fully integrate those with disabilities into our society. 
Save Darfur
Sudan May Delay Elections.  With hundreds of thousands of names missing from the voters' list weeks before voting, Sudan may have to postpone its first multi-party elections in 24 years.  Similarly, harsh restriction on opposition rallies as well as the continuation of fighting in the country has affected the credibility of these elections.  The U.S. State Department noted "significant logistical and political challenges" with Sudan's election preparations, but cautioned against any delays. 
This Week in Washington
This Week in Washington.  This is an incredibly busy time in Washington.  Congress approved a comprehensive health care reform package on Sunday night.  This is the single largest piece of health legislation since the enactment of Medicare.  President Obama had postponed his trip to Asia to work with Members of Congress and secure their votes for this measure.  Both NCJW and AIPAC are holding conferences in Washington this week.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke to AIPAC delegates this morning about the current status of the US-Israel relationship.  Three large rallies took place on the National Mall over the weekend including one focused on the need for comprehensive immigration reform.  The Supreme Court will be in session this week and will hear oral arguments.  

Health Care Reform.  Last night the House of Representatives passed, 219-212, a historic package of comprehensive health care reform initiatives, originally passed by the Senate in late December. The bill is expected to be signed in to law by President Obama in the coming days. In addition, the House passed, 220-211, the reconciliation bill, which provides a several improvements to the Senate bill. The Senate will vote on the reconciliation legislation sometime this week. The legislation approved last night is expected to expand coverage to 32 million Americans who are currently uninsured and cost $940 billion over the next 10 years and reduce the deficit by $143 billion in the same period.  This bill would create state-based exchanges (public marketplaces for customers to shop for affordable health care coverage) for those that are uninsured or self-employed. Starting in 2014 there will be a separate exchange established for small businesses. Most individuals will be required to be insured or pay a penalty. The bill also closes the Medicare prescription drug "donut hole" by 2020, expands eligibility levels for Medicaid, and makes it illegal for insurance companies to deny an individual coverage based on pre-existing conditions.  For more detailed information about what is in the bill please see this summary from the Washington Post .

Immigration Rally.  On Sunday, thousands of immigration reform advocates held a rally on the National Mall calling for swift action on comprehensive immigration reform legislation. Representative Luis Gutierrez (IL-D), the sponsor of the House of Representative's immigration reform bill, addressed the crowd, along with members of the faith, labor, and civil rights communities. Earlier in the week Senators Chuck Schumer (NY-D) and Lindsey Graham (SC-R) discussed their proposal for the Senate's version of the bill. Also on Sunday, the JCPA's Rabbi Steve Gutow participated in a conference call with other leaders of the Jewish community for grassroots advocates and the press.

President Obama on U.S.-Israel Relations.
In a Fox News interview on Wednesday, the President clarified the situation by stating, "Israel's one of our closest allies and we and the Israeli people have a special bond that's not going to go away. But friends are going to disagree sometimes."  The President then went on to say, "Yesterday, when there were riots by the Palestinians against a synagogue that had been reopened we condemned them in the same way because what we need right now is both sides to recognize that it is in their interests to move this peace process forward."  Following the interview the President was asked about Iran and their pursuit of nuclear weapons, to which he responded, "It is one of our highest priorities to make sure that Iran doesn't possess a nuclear weapon. That is why I've worked so hard to mobilize the international community, successfully, to isolate Iran."  

Netanyahu Calls Clinton. 
Last Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu called Secretary Clinton to discuss "confidence building measures."  The details of the conversation have not been disclosed, but they were sufficient to convince Secretary Clinton to send Senator Mitchell back to the region.  Prime Minister Netanyahu will be in the United States to address the delegates of the AIPAC national conference that is being held this week in Washington DC.   He is scheduled to meet with President Obama, Vice President Biden and Secretary Clinton.
Condolences
Rabbi Morris Shapiro, z"l.  Rabbi Morris Shapiro, father of JCPA Comptroller Simcha Shapiro, passed away Friday, March 19.  The funeral was held Sunday, with burial following in Israel.  Condolences may be sent to Simcha and his family at 75-04 Vleigh Pl, Flushing, NY 11367.  May his memory be for a blessing.
Contribute to JCPA

The JCPA Needs you!  With a nationwide network of JCRCs and Federations and the strength of 14 national Jewish organizations, the JCPA is the Jewish community's most effective advocate for the issues that matter most.  Our annual Leadership Appeal campaign seeks to raise $200,000 in 2010.  We know you care about the JCPA and the work that we do on behalf of the Jewish community here, in Israel and around the world.  Your support is crucial to our success.  To make a gift to the JCPA, please click here.  If you can multiply your gift by planing a parlor meeting in your home for friends and colleagues, contact Dana Hartman, Development Associate at 212.684.6953 or dhartman@thejcpa.org.

We thank you for your generous support!

Contribute Now!

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