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JCPA Insider
Volume 13, Number 18
May 17, 2010

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In This Issue
Happy Shavuot
Iran Initiative
Israel Advocacy Initiative
This Week in Washington
COEJL
Congratulations
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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Happy Shavuot
Shavuot, the celebration of receiving the Torah, begins this Tuesday night at sundown.  Jews around the world will be up all night studying, reading the Book of Ruth and otherwise kibbitzing.  So whether you're a cheesecake or blintz person, we wish you a chag sameach. 
Iran Initiative

Uranium Offer by Iran May Block Efforts on Sanctions. Iran announced an agreement on Monday, May 17, to ship some of its nuclear fuel to Turkey in a deal that could offer a short-term solution to its nuclear standoff with the West, or prove to be a tactic aimed at derailing efforts to bring new sanctions against Tehran. The deal, negotiated by Turkey and Brazil, calls for Iran to ship 1,200 kilograms (2,640 pounds) of low enriched uranium to Turkey, where it would be stored. In exchange, after one year, Iran would have the right to receive about 265 pounds of material enriched to 20 percent from Russia and France. The terms mirror a deal with the West last October that fell apart when Iran backtracked. But it is far from clear that the Obama administration will agree to it now - in part because Iran has continued to enrich uranium, adding to its stockpiles. Read the full article from the New York Times here.

White House: Iran Still Must Prove its Nuclear Program is Peaceful. The White House said Monday, May 17, that Washington and its international partners remained seriously concerned about Tehran's nuclear program, but that it would be a positive step for Iran to transfer low-enriched uranium off of its soil as it agreed to do in October. "Iran must take the steps necessary to assure the international community that its nuclear program is intended exclusively for peaceful purposes," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a statement. Gibbs acknowledged efforts made by Turkey and Brazil, and said the proposal must "be conveyed clearly and authoritatively" to the International Atomic Energy Agency before it can be considered by the international community. Read the article from Haaretz here and the the full White House statement here.

Portland JCRC on Iranian divestment. Last Wednesday, May 12, a delegation from the Community Relations Committee in Portland met with the Oregonian editorial board asking them to write an editorial urging the Oregon Investment Council to divest public employee retirement funds from foreign energy companies that are doing substantial business in Iran's energy sector. Currently, the OIC has holdings in nine such companies, including Royal Dutch Shell and PetroChina, worth $252 million. On May 16, the Oregonian published this editorial.

Israel Advocacy Initiative
Barak to lawmakers: Don't Present Israel as Opponents of Peace. Defense Minister Ehud Barak urged Israeli lawmakers  Monday to refrain from taking any actions or making remarks that might present Jerusalem as opposed to the Middle East peace process, according to Israel Radio. The defense minister told members of Knesset from his Labor Party that Israel must work to increase the mutual trust with its top ally, the United States. He stressed that the Americans have been making a noted effort to see the peace process succeed and expected Israel to reach an agreement with the Palestinians. Read the article from Haaretz here.

Israel Dedicates Huge Sea-Water Purification Plant. A huge new desalination facility on Israel's Mediterranean seashore, with a network of pipes beneath the beach reaching far into the ocean, could help solve Israel's chronic fresh water shortage, officials said Sunday, May 16. The plant, one of the largest in the world, turns sea water into drinking water. It stands next to the northern city of Hadera, the third of five large facilities that will dot the coastline, designed to provide two-thirds of the country's drinking water and reroute the National Water Carrier, a water transport system that has sustained Israel for 50 years. "Up until now, it was a government monopoly regulating all water transportation," said Teddy Golan, vice president of IDE Technologies, a company responsible for the plant. "Then we found it was cheaper to desalinate water on the shore than transfer it from the (Sea of Galilee) in the north." The facility, which Israeli President Shimon Peres inaugurated in a ceremony Sunday, May 16 includes a series of interconnected round and rectangular concrete buildings. It has been in operation since January. Read the article from the AP here
This Week in Washington

Financial Reform bill to be voted on.  This week, the Senate plans to vote on Sen. Chris Dodd's (D-CT) bill overhauling financial regulation.  The legislation, largely unchanged from what President Obama wanted, is expected to attract bipartisan support, surpassing the 60 votes needed to prevent a filibuster.  The overhaul's main provisions are an independent watchdog agency to monitor predatory lending practices, and a government mechanism to prevent some firms from growing too large.  

Life Sentences for Juveniles Ruled Unconstitutional.  On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision in Graham v. Florida that state laws sentencing those under 18 convicted of non-homicidal crimes to life terms violated the "cruel and unusual punishment" clause of the constitution.  Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy cited international norms and "evolving standards of decency," stating that life sentences for juveniles denies them the chance of reentering society  before they have even matured.


Jobs. The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010 this week. This bill extends unemployment insurance and COBRA (federal assistance to purchase health insurance for jobless workers and their families) through the end of the year. In addition, it provides funding for the TANF Emergency Fund (the federal matching program for Medicaid), the National Housing Trust Fund (funding for the creation and renovation of affordable housing), and summer youth jobs programs. Individuals are encouraged to take action and contact their Representative on this important piece of legislation.


Visit by Mexican President.  This week, Mexican President Felipe Calderon will make his first visit to Washington, DC since his election in 2006.  He will meet with President Obama on Wednesday, where their discussion will include immigration and border security, before a state dinner that night and an address to a joint session of Congress on Thursday.

COEJL
Stakes are High for Newly Introduced Energy and Climate Bill. Last Wednesday, May 12, Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) introduced their energy and climate bill, the American Power Act.  This bill invests in renewable energy, creates green jobs, reduces carbon emissions and lessens dependence on foreign oil.  The legislation allows for continued offshore drilling although it allows states to veto such drilling in neighboring states.  This effort to increase energy independence is a key component of the Don't Fund Terror campaign (www.dontfundterror.org) and JCPA has urged swift and fair consideration of the bill.  COEJL's statement about the American Power Act can be found here.
Congratulations
A hearty mazel tov to Len and Ruth Cole for being honored this June by the Bergen County High School of Jewish Studies (BCHSJS). In Northern New Jersey, the Coles, who have been unwavering supporters of this school for years, will be this year's Guests of Honor.  Len is a former JCPA national chair and Ruth is a current board member.  We wish them continued success and congratulate them again on this honor.
JCPA Programs
Be Sure to Register for 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 June Meetings



JCPA Board of Directors Meeting
Be sure to join us on Monday, June 7 when JCPA leadership will hear from Rev. Dr. Katharine Henderson, President of the Auburn Theological Seminary who will discuss the recent findings by the Middle East Study Commission and the impending debate of the Kairos Palestinian document by the Presbyterian Church (USA) this July.  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.  Lastly, Rabbi Jack Moline of the Rabbinical Assembly and Mark Pelavin of the Union for Reform Judaism will lead JCPA Leadership in a discussion on the Jewish community's relationship with the Mainline churches and regarding anti-Israel activity.  

CRC professionals are encouraged to attend Monday's Board meeting.  

JCPA Task Force Meetings
We have lined up a number of timely topics and informative speakers for the JCPA task force meetings on Sunday, June 6th.  JCPA's Task Force on Israel, World Jewry, and International Human Rights will hear from Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.  Isobel will discuss the role of women in Iran and how they are transforming Iran from within.  Also confirmed is Hannah Rosenthal, U.S. State Department's Special Envoy on Anti-Semitism who just returned from an extensive trip overseas, and will discuss trends in global anti-Semitism.  Additionally, we have confirmed 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.  
    
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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