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Volume 13, Number 23
June 21, 2010

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In This Issue
Mission to Birmingham
Iran Initiative
Israel Advocacy Initiative
Interfaith Encounter
This Week in Washington
COEJL
Congratulations
JCPA Events

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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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Mission to Birmingham
3rd Annual African American/Jewish Community Leaders Mission in Birmingham.   Sunday night marked the start of the 3rd annual Affrican American/Jewish Community Leaders Mission held in Birmingham, Alabama.  Community leaders from across the country will explore the intersection between race and poverty in America and discuss action steps to address such issues back home in their own communities.  These important conversations about modern-day disparities will take place in the context of the historic Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. The greater goal of this Mission is to continue building connections between the Jewish and African-American communities around social justice issues.  The mission opened with talks on Sunday night from Birmingham Mayor William Bell, JCPA Board Member Vicki Grodner, and Birmingham Jewish Federation Executive Director Richard Friedman.
For updates on the Mission, visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/thejcpa or by  following us on Twitter at @theJCPA .
Iran Initiative
Israel responds to UN Security Council Resolution 1929 on sanctions against Iran.  Israel views UN Security Council Resolution 1929 as an important step in the efforts to get Iran to acquiesce to international demands: suspension of uranium enrichment, including enriching to 20%; cessation of construction of the facility in Qom; full cooperation with IAEA investigation into the military aspect of the nuclear program; and granting the agency full access to the facility.  To see the full response from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson, click here.

Treasury Department designates Iranian groups and individuals. The Obama administration on Wednesday unveiled its widest ranging measures to date against Iran, affecting sectors ranging from banking to petroleum and shipping, in a bid to prevent Tehran from dodging existing restrictions and to encourage other jurisdictions to follow suit. The Treasury Department also designated dozens of Iranian entities and individuals as contributors to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. To read the full Financial Times article on this, click here. To read Congressman Howard L. Berman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee's statement supporting the designation, click here.
Israel Advocacy Initiative
Fayyad has chance to do for the Palestinians what Ben-Gurion did for Jews.  Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is wholeheartedly convinced that terrorism is not the way. He thinks, and rightfully so, that Palestinian terrorism is Israel's most effective weapon. When the Palestinians blow up buses in Israel, the world shows a little less mercy to the Palestinians and a little more mercy to the Israelis, giving Israel reasons to further tighten the occupation.  Fayyad is busy doing one thing: Building an economy and central institutions. Should he gain enough power, he will also be able to prevent terror, and boost the standard of living in the West Bank. If he also has the courage to unilaterally declare independence in 2011, as he pledged to do, the Palestinians shall have a state. The world will recognize it, and Israel too will eventually be forced to recognize it.  To read the full op-ed piece by Gadi Taub in Ynet news, click here.

Israel eases Gaza land blockade.  On Sunday June 20, 2010, the Israeli Security Cabinet approved steps toward easing Israel's land blockade of the Gaza Strip.  To view the statement issued following the Israeli Security Cabinet Meeting, please click here.
To view the statement issued by the White House Press Secretary on Israel's announcement on Gaza, please click here.
 
Interfaith Encounter

World Religions Summit.  This week, JCPA President Steve Gutow will be joining religious leaders from around the world for the annual World Religions Summit in Winnipeg, Canada.  Held annually in conjunction with the G8/G20 summit, this forum is an important opportunity to advance social justice and promote interfaith dialogue.  This year the summit hopes to issue a statement calling on the G8 to fulfill the Millennium Development Goals to alleviate poverty, promote education, combat disease, ensure environmental sustainability, and more.  The summit will be accompanied by an interfaith media forum and a human rights conference.  Find out more and see the schedule here: http://www.faithchallengeg8.com/home_en.html

Evangelical Christian-Jewish Relations.  JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow and Christian Century Editor David Neff co-chaired a two-day meeting of Jewish and Evangelical Christian leaders.  The program was co-convened by JCPA Vice President Ethan Felson, Rev. Joel Hunter, Dr. David Neff, Rabbi Yehiel Poupko, and Dr. Ron Sider.  The agenda included discussions on civility, social justice, and Arab-Israeli-Palestinian peace.

This Week in Washington

This Week in Washington.  Congress is in session this week and is expected to continue focusing on jobs and Iran.  President Obama is in Washington this week.  The Supreme Court is in session this week but is not hearing oral arguments.  
Agreement Reached on Iran Sanctions. 
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA) have announced an agreement on language for legislation imposing further sanctions on Iran.  Following, and expanding on, the sanctions recently passed by the UN and the EU, this bill would crack down on supplying or helping Iran produce refined petroleum and on financial institutions involved with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.  The bill still needs to be agreed on by the other Conferees and voted on again in both chambers.  


Failed Jobs Bill Picked Up Again.  The American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010 (H.R. 4213) failed after a procedural vote in the Senate last week.  Proponents of this legislation are in the process of renegotiating the key provisions of the bill. This bill includes funding for the extension of important  Federal safety net programs such as unemployment insurance (UI), COBRA (federal assistance to purchase health insurance for jobless workers and their families), the TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) Emergency Fund (short term financial assistance for qualifying families), and FMAP (federal matching funds for states' Medicaid programs).  As Congress attempts to reduce the overall cost of this legislation, some of these programs are expected to be cut..  

House Calls for Release of Gilad Shalit.  This week, the House will vote on a resolution calling for the immediate and unconditional release by Hamas of Israeli Soldier Gilad Shalit.  The resolution was introduced by Gary Ackerman (D-NY).  Urge your members of Congress to cosponsor this resolution.  Take action by clicking here.

COEJL
Comprehensive Energy and Climate Legislation - A Moving Target.  Last week, President Obama called on the Senate to adopt comprehensive legislation to reduce carbon emissions, save money and stimulate job growth, but several proposals are in play. The Cantwell-Collins CLEAR Act would cap carbon and establish what some experts say is a good value with a unique "cap-and-dividend" model. Read the Senators' own description of the bill in Friday's Washington Post.  The Kerry-Lieberman American Power Act is more broadly supported by both industry and environmental groups. (Click here for key take-aways of last week's EPA analysis of the APA) Overall, the EPA finds that the impacts of APA will be broadly similar to the impact of the House's American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES). Also, the "Practical Energy and Climate Plan," was introduced last week by Senator Dick Lugar of Indiana. The bill focuses on auto-efficiency and construction standards but places no price on carbon. (Here is an overview of how much each proposal might reduce carbon emissions if properly implemented.)

Gulf Oil Spill Update.  Last week President Obama gave his first Oval Office speech emphasizing the importance seizing this moment of environmental tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico and turning it into an opportunity for action.  The President made clear that his administration is putting tremendous pressure on BP for damages to the environment and to all affected parties. Also last week, Kenneth Feinberg, who oversaw the 9-11 victims fund and more recently was President Obama's 'pay cszar' on executive compensation was appointed to run the $20 billion BP oil-spill compensation fund. While BP suspended its quarterly dividend, Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg managed to do a significant amount of public relations damage by using the term 'small people' in reference to the many communities affected by the spill. Also last week it was reported that Halliburton Co., the contractor in charge of cementing the rig's well, recently agreed to purchase a company that focuses on oil spill prevention and blowout response. Experts say that this highlights a troubling trend of 'working on both sides of the fence, that can lead 'to relaxed decision-making over time,' and that 'such bureaucracies … can struggle in high-risk industries such as drilling for oil.' Read more about the spill and President Obama's speech at COEJL's revitalized blog "To Till and to Tend" (http://coejlblog.blog.com).

Israel and Energy Efficiency.  COEJL congratulates the recent success by the Green Zionist Alliance to pass four energy-related resolutions at the World Zionist Congress focused on saving water and energy, abating climate change, including environmental awareness when educating new immigrants, and food justice.(Click here to read the resolutions.) To learn more about energy efficiency and greening efforts in Israel, join COEJL in New York on Monday, June 28th at a talk by Dr. Alon Tal of the Arava Institute organized by the American Zionist Movement. You can also join us over Shabbat Noach, this October 8-10, 2010, at the Green Israel Summit organized by the Green Zionist Alliance.
Congratulations
Please join us in congratulating Alice Viroslav, JCPA Board member and Plenum chair, who was named JFNA Young Leadership Chair this past week.  Alice, you honor us in your new and important leadership position.
JCPA Events
Join Us and Senator Lieberman to Discuss His Energy Bill.  On Wednesday, June 23, The JCPA will be cosponsoring  a conference call with Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) to hear about the energy and climate bill he co-sponsored with Senator John Kerry (D-MA).  While the JCPA has not endorsed this bill, energy independence and protecting our environment are necessary goals and important aspects of JCPA's advocacy.  This is an opportunity to  learn more about the one of the proposals before Congress.  
Please join us on Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 3:00pm (eastern).  

Dial-in number: 877-229-8493

Identification Code:  14556


This call is also cosponsored by American Jewish Committee, B'nai B'rith International, Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, Jewish Labor Committee, Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, Jewish Funds for Justice, Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, United Synagogue  Conservative Judaism, Women's League for Conservative Judaism
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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