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JCPA Insider
Volume 13, Number 15
April 26, 2010

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

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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!


About Us

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

Iranian Technocrats, Disillusioned with Government, Offer Wealth of Intelligence to U.S. Iran's political turmoil has prompted a growing number of the country's officials to defect or leak information to the West, creating a new flow of intelligence about its secretive nuclear program, U.S. officials said. The gains have complicated work on a long-awaited assessment of Iran's nuclear activities, a report that will represent the combined judgment of more than a dozen U.S. spy agencies. The National Intelligence Estimate was due last fall but has been delayed at least twice amid efforts to incorporate information from sources who are still being vetted. Some of the most significant new material has come from informants, including scientists and others with access to Iran's military programs, who are motivated by antipathy toward the government and its suppression of the opposition movement after a disputed presidential election in June, according to current and former officials in the United States and Europe who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the intelligence gains. Read the article from the Washington Post here.

US Congress to Advance Legislation Against Iran. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) are expected to meet on Wednesday, April 28 to discuss the advancement of legislation calling for US sanctions against companies that conduct business with Iran. American and Israeli officials estimate that sanctions imposed on Iran's oil industry would be the most devastating blow to the regime in Tehran. The Obama Administration is trying to promote similar measures in the UN, but Russia and China are opposed to "crippling sanctions," prompting American lawmakers to move forward with their own initiative rather than wait for the president's diplomatic efforts to yield the desired results. The Senate and House of Representatives have passed rival bills taking aim at Iran over its defiance of world demands it freeze its suspect nuclear drive, and must now forge and pass compromise legislation to send it to President Barack Obama. Asked a few days ago how quickly the US Congress could wrap up that process and send Obama the legislation, Hoyer told reporters that House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman "would like to get this done in a matter of weeks." Read the article from Ynet here.

JCPA/Jewish Federations
Israel Advocacy Initiative

Hamas Releases Cartoon about Gilad Shalit. Hamas released an animated film Sunday bearing a grisly message for Israel: If it doesn't meet the Islamic militant group's demands, an Israeli soldier it has held for nearly four years could return home in a coffin. The short but sophisticated cartoon - which depicts Sgt. Gilad Shalit's aging father wandering empty streets with a picture of his son and ends with the words "There is still hope" - is the latest product of Hamas' growing media machine. TV and radio stations controlled by the group continuously broadcast Hamas-produced songs and music videos threatening the Jewish state and rallying the group's militant Islamic base. But the latest cartoon - which was widely broadcast on Israeli TV - was remarkable for the personal and callous nature of the appeal on an issue that has profound emotional resonance for many Israelis: The fate of Shalit, who was captured by Gaza militants in June 2006. Read the article from the AP here.

Israel to Share Agricultural Know-how with Struggling African Farmers. Israel is getting ready to share technology and skills with African countries struggling to sustain agricultural output due to increasingly unreliable rains, said Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon. Simhon said sharing know-how, especially in irrigation and water management, was his focus on a tour of Senegal, Ivory Coast and Gabon. His trip comes as some 10 million people in West and Central Africa face food shortages due to failed rains. "We are not arriving here in Africa to take resources from the African countries. We are coming here in order to give know-how and abilities to these countries to develop," Simhon told Reuters in Senegal over the weekend. "Israel is the only country in the world that has been able to conquer the desert. More than 50 percent of our exports are coming from semi-arid areas. This is our strength - this we would like to bring here." Read the article from Haaretz here.

Save Darfur
Sudan election results announced.  After repeated delays, the results of the Sudanese elections were announced today by the National Elections Commission.  Omar Al-Bashir, the dictator since 1989, won with 68% of the vote.  The largest of the opposition parties declared last week that it would not accept his expected victory as legitimate.  Such statements have also come from key leaders of the Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement (SPLM), which had previously partnered with Bashir's National Congress Party (NCP) in a unity government.  Last week, State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley criticized the Sudanese government saying, "to the extent that the Government of Sudan was looking for redemption or legitimacy in what happened here, they will get none of it."
Interfaith Encounter

Letter From National Council of Churches:

Shalom Chaverim,

In February, it was my honor and pleasure to speak at the JCPA Plenum in Dallas, sharing the podium with my close friend, Rabbi Steve Gutow.  I write now to thank you who were present for your very warm welcome (as well as your challenging questions!), and to extend to all of you greetings on behalf of the National Council of Churches (NCC).  Surely the collaboration that now exists between the JCPA and the NCC, especially through our work of Fighting Poverty with Faith, is pleasing to the God we commonly worship.

But while I am thankful for our strong relationship, I am also deeply concerned about the current state of Jewish-Christian relations as a whole.  Tensions arising from different assessments of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians threaten to undermine two generations of dialogue and cooperation.

In the coming months, you may well hear of decisions, taken by churches that are part of the NCC, that you find distressing.  If so, it is certainly appropriate to raise hard questions with members of these churches-even with me!  My prayer, however, is that our channels of dialogue will remain open and that we will hold fast to the multi-faceted relationships formed over the past fifty years.  I also ask you to keep in mind that our churches' strong support for the rights and national aspirations of the Palestinian people, many of whom are Christian, is coupled with a firm and public commitment to Israel's right to exist in peace and security.

May the one God of all creation, who made enduring covenant with the Jewish people, bless and keep you!  May these days between Passover and Shavuot be meaningful and peaceful!

This Week in Washington

This week in Washington.  This week, Congress is in session and will consider several important issues, including financial regulation.  On Sunday, President Obama offered a eulogy at the memorial service for the miners recently killed in Big Branch Mine in West Virginia.  The Supreme Court is in session this week and will hear oral arguments.  Additionally, the funeral for Dr. Dorothy Height, a leading civil rights advocate, will be held on Thursday at the National Cathedral.  Click here to see JCPA's statement on the passing of Dr. Height.

Immigration.  On Friday, April 23rd, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed into law one of the most stringent immigration laws in the country. The law seeks  to identify, prosecute, and deport immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally and gives law enforcement officials expansive powers to seek out and detain those that are believed to be in the country illegally. Opponents of the law held protests in Arizona throughout the weekend. The new law brings in to question a number of potential civil rights and civil liberties violations.  Critics charge that this law will lead to rampant racial profiling and that such troubling local legislation emphasizes the need for Congress and the President to act swiftly on comprehensive immigration reform. 

House names Iran sanctions conferees.  On Thursday, the House of Representatives voted to approve the following conferees to meet with their counterparts in the Senate to reconcile the two Iran sanctions bills from each chamber.  From the House Committee on Foreign Affairs: Representatives Howard Berman (D-CA), Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Joseph Crowley (D-NY), David Scott (D-GA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Ron Klein (D- FL), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Dan Burton (R-IN), Ed Royce (R-CA), and Mike Pence (R-IN).  From the Committee on Financial Services: Representatives Barney Frank (D-MA), Gregory Meeks (D-NY), and Scott Garrett (R-NJ).  From the Committee on Ways and Means: Representatives Sander Levin (D-MI), John Tanner (D-TN) and Dave Camp (R-MI).

COEJL
COEJL celebrates 40th Anniversary of Earth Day at the White House. Last Thursday, at the invitation of President Barack Obama, COEJL Director Sybil Sanchez celebrated the fortieth anniversary of Earth Day in the Rose Garden together with other environmental advocates, industry leaders, members of Congress and members of the President's Green Cabinet, which represents the President's top environmental advisers. The President stated that together we "renewed our commitment to passing a comprehensive energy and climate bill that will safeguard our planet, and spur innovation and help us to compete in the 21st century." Watch it here.

Continued hope for comprehensive energy and climate legislation. This week language that would lead to a comprehensive bill addressing energy and climate legislation was delayed due to politics on Capitol Hill. COEJL is committed to advocating that legislation addressing our energy and climate crisis pass in the Senate as it did last June in the House. Extensive negotiations have been ongoing and the Senate bill would reportedly reduce carbon pollution 17 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050 by capping emissions and auctioning pollution allowances and include several additional provisions.
JCPA Programs

Invitation to Attend the 2010 June Task Force and Board Meetings

Sunday June 6 & Monday June 7, 2010

UJA Federation of New York
130 East 59th Street
 New York, NY 10022

 
Click Here to Register for the Meetings!

Join us for the 2010 June Task Force and Board of Directors meetings.  The JCPA is excited to convene friends and professionals from the community relations umbrella to hear from experts on issues important to the JCPA field and Jewish community at large. 

Be sure to join us on Monday, June 7 when JCPA leadership will hear from Aaron David Miller, Public Policy Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, who will speak about the ongoing issues surrounding U.S. - Israel relations, as well as, Gerrald (Jerry) Silverman, Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA)'s newly named President and Chief Executive Officer.  Jerry will share with us his vision for the JFNA, the Federation system, and how Federations can continue a strong, mutually beneficial relationship with the CRC field.  CRC professionals are encouraged to attend Monday's Board meeting. 

Hotel Reservations

A limited block of hotel rooms is available at the Radisson Lexington Hotel, 511 Lexington Avenue, New York (at 48th Street).  Rates are $169, single/double occupancy for Saturday, June 5th and $129 single/double occupancy for Sunday, June 6th.  For reservations, please call (212) 755-4400 or (800) 333-3333 and ask for the "Jewish Council for Public Affairs" room block. 

The reservation deadline is Friday May 7 - after that date all rooms will be released for general sale, and reservations will be based on availability.  If you plan to arrive early, we suggest that you request an early check in or give your arrival time to the hotel.

Mission to Birmingham.  The JCPA is seeking applications for participants for our 3rd annual African-American/Jewish Community Leaders Mission.  This year, we will head to Birmingham, Alabama.  The trip itinerary will include visits to historic sites from the Civil Rights Movement such as the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and the Edmund Pettus Bridge.   Additionally, participants will be joined by local experts to discuss contemporary issues of race and poverty in the United States.  The mission will take place from Sunday, June 20th to Wednesday, June 23rd.  This program is open to one JCRC staff member or lay leader from your community, along with a counterpart African-American leader.  We strongly encourage JCRCs across the country to reach out to African-American leaders in their communities to form a delegation.  To apply for this mission, please click here and fill out the simple, one-page application.  The application must be returned to jwojciechowski@thejcpa.org by Friday, May 7.

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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