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Volume 13, Number 28
July 26, 2010

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In This Issue
Iran Initiative
Israel Advocacy Initiative
Save Darfur
This Week in Washington

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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 an effective advocate for the issues that matter.  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

EU Approves New Iran Sanctions.  Today, the European Union approved new sanctions on Iran.  The move, unanimously agreed upon by the 27 member council, targets Iran's foreign trade, banking and energy sectors.  "According to the decision reached in June, the sanctions will target dual-use items that could be used as part of a nuclear program, and Iran's oil and gas industry - including the 'prohibition of new investment, technical assistance and transfers of technologies.'" Read more about the sanctions from NPR here.

Despite Human Rights Violations and Sanctions, Iran Manages to Exploit the U.N. Earlier this year, Iran was appointed to the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women.  Forbes foreign affairs columnist, Claudia Rosett, explores Iran's extensive membership in U.N. commissions.  "While it rarely gets much attention, there's a strong Iranian tang to the U.N. alphabet soup. This is a bizarre and alarming scene, given an Iranian regime that continues to indulge in the execution of juveniles and homosexuals; the stoning and mandatory veiling of women; the jailing, torture and murder of democratic dissidents…"  Read the complete op-ed from Forbes here.

JCPA/Jewish Federations
Israel Advocacy Initiative

Newsweek on BDS: The Very Idea is Repellent.  The delegitimization movement against Israel employs a tactic of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).  Targeting academia, culture and businesses, the campaign unfairly singles out the State of Israel.  In Newsweek magazine, Jacob Weisberg, makes the case against BDS and its proponents.  "Because Israel is a refuge for Jews persecuted everywhere else, this kind of existential challenge is hard to disassociate from anti-Semitism."  Read the complete article in Newsweek here.

Israeli Government Promotes Participation in Democratic Process.  Initiated by the Minister for the Improvement of Government Services, the Israeli government has created a website which is meant "to provide a platform for public debates, votes and referendums as well as bill proposals discussed by the government in the Knesset."  The website serves as an example of Israel as a progressive and open government.  Learn more about the new website from Haaretz here.

U.S. and Israel Collaborate on Missile Defense Systems.  Israel successfully completed final testing of its Iron Dome missile defense system.  After completion of the test, U.S. and Israel signed an agreement to collaborate on the Arrow 3 defense system, which aims to intercept long-range missiles while they are still outside the atmosphere.   Read more about these programs from Jerusalem Post here.

Save Darfur
African Union Drops Resolution Barring Arrest of Sudanese President in Continent.  The African Union (AU) delegates at a summit in Uganda agreed to remove language from the draft resolution that instructs its members not to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in apprehending the Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir.  Following fierce debates between two opposing blocs led by South Africa on one side and Libya on the other, the redrafted text removed both of the clauses that were originally proposed. The new resolution reiterates calls for freezing the arrest warrants issued by the UN Security Council (UNSC), which have previously gone unanswered and urges members to work on amending provisions in the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the ICC. The ICC is currently handling 5 cases in the following African countries: Uganda, Central African Republic (CAR), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Darfur and Kenya. To read more, click here.
This Week in Washington
This Week In Washington. Congress is in session this week and is expected to begin work on energy legislation.  The President is in Washington this week.  The Supreme Court has ended its term for the summer and is not in session.

Americans with Disabilities Act turns 20. 
Today, the JCPA joined Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others in the Capitol for a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  The ADA has been an instrumental tool for protecting and advancing the rights of disabled Americans in the workplace. In a statement released today, JCPA President Steve Gutow and Chair Conrad Giles said "The JCPA remains as proud of our support of the ADA now as when it was passed 20 years ago, but much work remains to be done."   To read the rest of the statement, click here

JCPA Leaders Meet with White House and Israeli Officials.  Last week, JCPA's Rabbi Steve Gutow, Martin Raffel, Josh Protas, and Jared Feldman met with officials from the White House and Israeli Government. During two days of meetings with Special Envoy for anti-Semitism Hannah Rosenthal, Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, Robert Wexler, Scott Busby and Samantha Power and Dan Shapiro of the National Security Council, they discussed the Middle East peace process, violence in Darfur, religious freedom, and Alan Gross, the American Jew currently being held by the Cuban government.

Ehud Barak comes to DC. 
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak is in Washington this week where he is scheduled to meet with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  Discussions are expected to focus heavily on the raid on the Gaza flotilla, as well as Gaza policy in general, Iran, Gilad Shalit, and Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Support Builds for Child Nutrition Reauthorization.  In light of the House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee passing their version of the bi-partisan child nutrition bill, Improving Nutrition for America's Children Act (H.R. 5502), on July 15th, the First Lady released a statement calling on Congress to pass the bill "without delay." The complete statement can be read here.

In addition, Senator Lincoln (AR-D), chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Representative Miller (CA-D), chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, sent a letter to President Obama urging him to champion the child nutrition bill, stating "we respectfully request your assistance in ensuring that a strong reauthorization is delivered to your desk for signature before the programs expire on September 30."

The JCPA, along with our partners in the faith community, are circulating a sign-on letter to Joshua Dubois, Executive Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, urging prompt action on the Child Nutrition bill. To view the letter please go here. The letter will be sent from a coalition of both  national and local faith organizations. To sign the letter please send your organizations name to Elyssa Koidin, ekoidin@thejcpa.org, by COB Thursday, July 29th.

President Signs Jobless Benefits Bill. 
On July 22nd Congress passed a piece of legislation that will expand unemployment insurance benefits to the 1.2 million Americans currently out of work. President Obama signed the bill in to law the following day. Unemployment benefits lapsed for more than a month, after Congress failed to pass the original extension in June. Jobless workers will receive benefits retroactively for that period of time.

Committees Pass Housing Funding.  Last week, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees approved the 2011 Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (T-HUD) Appropriations bills. Both the House and Senate bills include $825 million for Section 202 (housing for low-income seniors), which maintains the FY2010 levels and is $551 million above the President's request. The House committee approved $300 million for Section 811 (housing for the disabled), which maintains the FY2010 level. The Senate committee included $113.6 million for mainstream vouchers in the Tenant-Based Rental Assistance program. The JCPA, along with our partners in the Jewish community, advocated for increased funding for these programs, above the Administration's recommended level. It is unclear when the full House of Representatives and Senate will consider these bills.
Senate Expected to Move on Energy Efficiency but Disappoint on Climate Policy. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plans to unveil a bill for energy and oil disaster measures today. A rough outline of the proposed legislation suggests that it will increase the spill-liability cap for oil companies to $10 billion, create a "Home Star" energy-efficiency program to incentivize home retrofits, provide tax breaks for natural gas vehicles and infrastructure, and boost money for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. These provisions will help stimulate growth in the energy efficiency sector while providing needed relief for those hurt by oil spill environmental and economic damages and help conserve important natural resources. However, Senate aides say the bill will lack the coveted renewable energy standard (RES) sought by environmental leaders and the bill has removed the climate piece in terms of pricing greenhouse gas emissions by creating a market for trading carbon emissions. The bill will also not provide major incentives for coal and nuclear power, nor will it eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to regulate greenhouse gases. While it is not what's ultimately needed for leadership within the 21st century economy, it provides some important steps along the way and is expected that Democrats will uniformly support it.  States continue to lead on the issue, in spite Congress' resistance to creating a federal carbon cap. We hope to see climate policy that caps carbon-dioxide introduced in the fall but that remains to be seen.

On Day 98 of the Gulf oil disaster. The Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection will hold a hearing on Tuesday, July 27, 2010 (Day 99) to explore the damages suffered by the tourism industry in the Gulf region and the process by which the independent Gulf Coast Claims Facility will evaluate tourism-related claims. The Subcommittee will likely question Kenneth Feinberg, BP's claims fund administrator, regarding his testimony that the fund may not be able to pay indirect claims, such as those made by companies that lost money when wary tourists stayed home. Feinberg also said this weekend that BP is holding up payments to economic victims of the disaster. Feinberg, speaking to reporters at a town hall meeting in southern Alabama said, "I have a concern that BP is stalling claims. Yes, BP is stalling. I doubt they are stalling for money. It's not that. I just don't think they know the answers to the questions (by claimants)."  Meanwhile, it was reported at BP's board meeting today that BP CEO Tony Hayward will be stepping down. It's expected that Robert Dudley will be named tomorrow as his successor. On another front, it is fortunate that Tropical Storm Bonnie petered out  over the weekend and clean-up efforts were expected to return to their full capacity today.

Jewish communal energy activism. This Friday, July 30, communities of faith throughout the Gulf region will host a special day of prayer and reflection on the oil spill disaster. Visit the Religious Action Center and Canfei Nesharim websites  for related prayer resources. On Sunday, August 1, 2010 from 1 to 4 PM the Nashville Jewish Community will host a free event to kick off the Nashville Eco-Challenge, which is held in partnership with COEJL's Jewish Energy Covenant Campaign. Participants will pledge to complete a personal checklist of six simple and effective ways to reduce their ecological footprint and conserve resources, such as signing up for the TVA In-Home Energy Evaluation (IHEE) program and always using reusable shopping bags at stores. The sponsoring organizations will sign a pledge as well.
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 an effective advocate for the issues that matter. 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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