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Volume 13, Number 17
May 10, 2010

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In This Issue
Iran Initiative
Israel Advocacy Initiative
Interfaith Encounter
This Week in Washington
COEJL
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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
Iran gives European energy companies two weeks to decide on gas fields.  Iranian Oil Minister Masoud Mirkazemi has given a two week ultimatum to energy giants Royal-Dutch Shell and Spain's Repsol to decide on their investments in key gas projects in Iran.  These companies have been locked in negotiations with Iran since around 2002.  The negotiations stalled amid growing Western pressure of new sanctions against Tehran.  Mr. Mirkazemi has threatened to replace these foreign firms with domestic companies, which would most likely be affiliated with Iran's Revolutionary Guard.
Israel Advocacy Initiative

UCSD's Israel divestment bill tabled indefinitely.  Last Wednesday, the Student Senate at the University of California San Diego, voted to table a bill that would call on the university to divest funds from two companies doing business in Israel.  Like a parallel proposal at UC Berkeley, the UCSD measure called for the withdrawal of funds from General Electric and United Technologies, both of which have contracts with Israel's armed forces.  Around 30 students spoke for, and against, the resolution at the meeting attended by approximately 100 people. The pro-Israel students wore UCSD shirts and held signs that read, "Divestment Divides our Campus." There is concern that the proponents of divestment would come up with a new proposal to try once again to get some form of divestment passed in this week's Student Senate meeting.

Israel unanimously accepted into OECD.  The 31 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on Monday unanimously voted in favor of accepting Israel as a member of the group.  Israel's acceptance is seen as an important stamp of approval for the country's economy, boosting its credit rating and strengthening ties with foreign investors.  To read more on Israel's acceptance, click here.

This Week in Washington

This week in Washington.  This week, Congress is in session and is considering many pieces of legislation.  The Senate continues its work on financial regulation.  President Obama is in Washington this week and today announced the nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagen to the Supreme Court to fill the seat being vacated by Justice John Paul Stevens.  The Supreme Court will not hear oral arguments this week. 

Kagen nominated for Supreme Court.  Solicitor General Elena Kagen was nominated by President Obama today for the Supreme Court.  Justice John Paul Stevens is retiring at the end of this session.  He has served on the Court since 1975.  Prior to serving as Solicitor General, Kagen held several positions in the Clinton administration and served as Dean of Harvard Law School.  Kagen is President Obama's second Supreme Court nominee.  Last summer, he appointed Justice Sonia Sotomayor to the Court.  To see JCPA's statement on Kagen's nomination, click here.

  
Child Nutrition.  Last Thursday a Dear Colleague letter, organized by Rep. Jim McGovern (MA-D) and Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (MO-R), co-chairs of the House Hunger Caucus, was sent to Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling for increased funding and action be taken on the child nutrition reauthorization bill. The bi-partisan letter was signed by 221 Members of the House. The House Education and Labor Committee is expected to release a bill sometime this month. For a copy of the letter please click here.

Jobs.  On Friday the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report showing that 290,000 jobs were created in the month of April, the largest one-month gain since March 2006. The unemployment number, however, rose to 9.9% as many discouraged workers reentered the job market. The increase in April jobs can be partially contributed to the federal government hiring large amounts of workers to carry out the 2010 Census. While this steady increase is positive, experts are still cautiously optimistic because quite a bit of work still needs to be done before the job market is back to a healthy level.

Emergency Assistance.  A $5.1 billion emergency supplemental spending package for disaster relief and youth jobs initiatives has been blocked in the Senate. Senator Tom Coburn (OK-R) is blocking the measure, stating the emergency money would add to the national deficit. The bill includes money for the ongoing Gulf Coast disaster recovery in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and the more recent flooding emergency in Tennessee. In addition, $600 million would go to the Labor Department to fund youth summer employment initiatives.

Green Jobs.  On Thursday, May 6th The Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010 (H.R. 5019) passed the House of Representatives in a bi-partisan vote of 246-161. The bill, also known as "Cash for Caulkers," would create 168,000 green jobs and help millions of homeowners retrofit their homes-reducing their environmental impact and lowering energy costs.  Home Star would provide consumers with rebates for renovating their homes with better insulation and energy-saving windows and doors. The bill is now awaiting action in the Senate.

Resolution recognizing Israel's independence. H. Con. Res 260, a non binding resolution recognizing the 62nd anniversary of the Independence of the State of Israel now has 177 co-sponsors.  The bill, which was introduced to the House of Representatives by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), also reaffirms unequivocal support for the alliance and friendship between the United States and Israel.  To see the full resolution, click here.
 

COEJL
Senate Climate Legislation Expected to be Introduced on Wednesday, May 12. Senator Kerry (D-MA) and Senator Lieberman (I-CT) announced that they will release their comprehensive climate and energy bill this Wednesday, without Senator Graham (R-SC), who withdrew over politics related to immigration legislation. Without the key Republican supporter of the bill and with exacerbated concerns over offshore drilling since the oil spill in the Gulf, many are debating the climate bill's pros and cons and asking whether it has a chance. Also under debate, as reported in the Washington Post, is whether the oil spill in the Gulf Coast will reinforce the urgency of passing climate change legislation now or delay the process because it involves too much compromise. The legislation aims to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 but also reportedly includes an expansion of offshore drilling.

Gulf Coast Oil Spill. Oil continues to gush out of the ocean floor at the site of BP's Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig at rates of thousands of gallons per day. The "dome" or "box" engineered to divert the leak is not working but there is hope that it might within 72 hours. BP is also reportedly considering other plans, such as an attempt to inject a so-called "junk shot" of debris made up of golf balls and shredded tires. President Obama is due to meet senior officials at the White House on Monday to review these efforts. According to CNN Money, oil spill clean-up costs have already totaled $350 million. BP is financially responsible, however, its subcontractors are thought to be exempt from most liabilities. Clean-up costs could unfortunately be dwarfed by liability costs resulting from damages to the fishing, tourism and shipping industries if the oil washes ashore in large quantities. BP has said it will pay all "legitimate claims", but it's not clear what that means and who will decide the legitimacy of claims. According to the New York Times, BP says it "is committed to pay legitimate claims" for loss or damage caused by the spill, all in addition to footing the cleanup costs and has set up a phone-line for claims. So far, around 4,700 claims have been filed with a little over 800 paid, almost all for loss of income. The company is working with local churches and communities to get the word out about the claims process but still few people know about the process. Meanwhile, facts about the economic and environmental damages as well as the reason for this terrible mistake are still emerging. Recent commentary, like this piece by Paul Krugman in the New York Times, is focused on the role of the Minerals Management Service, the arm of the Interior Department that oversees drilling, in minimizing environmental risks. The Service failed to require a backup shutdown system that is standard in much of the rest of the world, even though its own staff declared such a system necessary. It also exempted many offshore drillers from filing plans to deal with major oil spills, and specifically allowed BP to drill Deepwater Horizon without a detailed environmental analysis.

Join COEJL at the Tevah Seminar on Jewish Environmental Education - June 7-10, Surprise Lake Camp, Cold Spring, NY! COEJL is a partner of the 16th Annual Teva Seminar, which is sponsored by the Jewish National Fund. Sybil Sanchez, COEJL Director, and Rachel Cohen, Religious Action Center Senior Legislative Assistant, will present on "Integrating Environmental Education, Programming, and Advocacy " and Sybil will also teach "Inspiring Hope When Addressing Global Climate Change and Energy Policy." This one of a kind four day professional development opportunity in Jewish Environmental Education brings together congregational and day school educators, students, camp staff, Torah scholars, lay leaders, and farmers every year. To register and learn more click here!
JCPA Programs
JCPA Task Force and Board of Directors 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!


JCPA is delighted to welcome Hannah Rosenthal back to discuss global anti-Semitism with the Task Force on Israel, World Jewry & International Human Rights.  Hannah has just returned from an extensive overseas trip and will share with us her thoughts and experiences concerning global anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.  

Hannah is the U.S. State Department's Special Envoy to Combat and Monitor Anti-Semitism.  Most recently she served as the Executive Director of the Chicago Foundation for Women.  Prior to this role, Hannah was Executive Director of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and in 1995, President Clinton appointed Rosenthal Midwest regional director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.   

Hannah will be joined by Michael Salberg, ADL's Associate Executive Director.  Michael will provide an analysis about how the field can contribute to the struggle against global anti-Semitism.  Michael served as ADL's General Counsel from the time he joined ADL in 2003 until July 2006. In addition to his duties as General Counsel, Michael also served as Deputy Chief Operating Officer until December 2005 and then as Special Assistant to the National Director.
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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