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Volume 13, Number 21
June 08, 2010

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In This Issue
Iran Initiative
Israel Advocacy Initiative
This Week in Washington
COEJL
Congratulations
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

Germany and Russia support new UN sanctions against Iran.  In a joint news conference on Saturday, the leaders from both countries said that "agreement on the sanctions exists," despite the fact that "nobody wants sanctions."  The United States and Europe overcame reservations in China and Russia, which have strong trade ties to Iran, and forged agreement on a draft sanctions resolution last month.  Obama administration officials have said that they expect a vote at the Security Council in the next two weeks.  To read more, click here.

A call to stop funding companies that do business with Iran.  In a recent South Bend Tribune opinion piece, David Ibsen of United Against Nuclear Iran, a bipartisan advocacy group dedicated to raising awareness of the dangers of a nuclear armed Iran, makes a case for divestment from companies that do business in Iran, as an effective way of delaying their nuclear program.  While Ibsen is proud of the work that ordinary citizens and organizations such as United Against a Nuclear Iran have done, he believes that more can and should be done to prevent companies from doing business with this state sponsor of terrorism.  He uses the example of Honeywell, a US based company that last year received over $12.9 billion in federal contracts, and still does business with Iran.  To read the full article, click here.

Israel Advocacy Initiative

Israeli Navy takes over 'Rachel Corrie' without incident.  IDF naval commandos took control Saturday of the Rachel Corrie, a ship trying to breach the maritime blockade on the Gaza Strip. The Israel Defense Forces said Saturday that the activists on board, who included Irish and Malaysian citizens, did not enter into any confrontations with the troops.  The IDF is not aware of any more ships sailing for Gaza in the coming days. The last ship of the flotilla, the Challenger 2, is still stuck in a Cypriot port due to mechanical malfunctions.  To read the full Haaretz article, click here.

U.S. delegation attended Palestine Investment conference.  Special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, led the delegation to the Palestine Investment Conference, which took take place Wednesday through Friday in Bethlehem.  Other members included, Neal Wolin, deputy secretary of the U.S. Treasury; Daniel Rubinstein, American consul general in Jerusalem; Alonzo Fulgham, USAID chief operating officer; Mara Rudman, deputy special envoy for Middle East peace; Saed Nashef, general partner, Middle East Venture Capital Fund; and Dr. Ziad Asali, president and founder of the American Task Force on Palestine, which advocates a two-state solution and has good relations with Jewish groups.  In total, the conference generated $655 million in pledges, grants and initiatives for economic development. To read more, click here.

CJCUC statement on Christians in the Middle East. The Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding has put out a statement on the declining number of Christians in the Middle East.  "We, the leaders of The Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding, are distressed over the decline of Christians throughout the Middle East. In the last 50 years, the Christian populations in the region have dropped significantly in every country except Israel. This trend has accelerated in the last 10 years. "  To read the entire statement, click here.

This Week in Washington
This Week in Washington.  Congress returns from the Memorial Day recess this week and is expected to take up a number of important bills including jobs and economic recovery measures.  President Obama is in Washington this week.  The Supreme Court is in session this week but is not hearing oral arguments.  

Senate Takes Up Jobs Bill Again.  This week, the Senate will be working on the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act, which will, among other things, extend unemployment and COBRA benefits.  A version of this bill has already passed the Senate in March and in the House last month.  Though the bill remains popular, some opposition continues over the bill's tax increases and contribution to the deficit.  The Senate version also includes an extension of Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP) which was removed from the House bill.  The FMAP funding is necessary to help States make Medicaid payments and alleviate strains on their budgets.  

DADT Repeal Moves to Senate.  Last month, the House passed their Defense Authorization bill, which included an amendment to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell.  As Senators return from the Memorial Day recess, debate on the repeal is expected to begin in the Senate as well.  A similar provision to the House's is being considered, though some Senators are offering an alternative which will require approval by the heads of all military branches before the repeal takes place, as opposed to the current system where only the approval of the President, Secretary of Defense, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is needed.  A final bill is not expected to be signed until after the summer.  

National Museum of American Jewish History recognized in the House.  On Wednesday this week, the House is expecting to vote on a resolution recognizing the Smithsonian's National Museum of American Jewish History as "the only museum in the Nation dedicated exclusively to exploring and preserving the American Jewish experience."  The full text of the bill can be read here.
COEJL
Senator Murkowski Moves Forward on "Dirty Air Resolution".  On Thursday, the Senate will vote on a resolution by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) to prevent the EPA from regulating emissions under the Clean Air Act.  The resolution has 41 cosponsors, including some Democrats, and is being brought up under rules that prevent a filibuster.  The resolution comes in response to a Supreme Court case recognizing the EPA's regulatory authority and criticized by the bill's supporters who claim climate change should be addressed by Congress and not executive agencies.  Senator John Kerry, (D-MA) who introduced a climate change bill along with Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), said, "If you don't want the EPA to do it, then the Senate needs to provide some adult leadership to pass a comprehensive climate and energy bill instead of keeping our heads in the sand and then tying the hands of the EPA."  Read more here.
Congratulations
Mazel tov to JCPA Vice Chair Robert Siskin and his wife Pris on the birth of their granddaughter, Madeline Reece, on Thursday, May 27.
Condolences
Jane Perlman z"l.  The JCPA extends it's condolences to JCPA Vice Chair Midge Perlman Shafton on the recent passing of her mother, Jane.
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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