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Volume 13, Number 30
August 9, 2010

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In This Issue
Iran Initiative
Israel Advocacy Initiative
Save Darfur
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 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.  For more information, contact Max Mulcahy at 212.684.9815 or mmulcahy@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
How Illinois is Preventing Iran from Getting a Nuke.  Three years ago, under the leadership of state Sen. Jeffrey Schoenberg (D-Evanston) and state Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), Illinois adopted a law ensuring that that they have no part, even unwittingly, in helping Iran get a nuclear bomb. Illinois Public Act 95-0616 required the State Pension Board to divest from foreign companies helping Iran's energy sector.  The pension board's $68 billion portfolio showed 39 companies doing at least $20 million of such commerce.  In all, more than $133 million was ultimately divested from those 39 companies.  Recently, five of those 39 companies Illinois divested from have decided to cease business with Iran. Two of the companies -- ENI and Repsol -- accounted for $40 million of the $133 million Illinois divested.  To read the full opinion piece in the Chicago Sun-Times by David T. Brown, chairman of government affairs and Jay Tcath, senior vice president of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, click here.

As Iran feels the bite of sanctions, the United States administration is offering to reopen negotiation.  President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, arguing that an orchestrated series of global sanctions has brought more economic pain than Iran's government anticipated, are making a renewed appeal to Iranian leaders to reopen negotiations on the country's nuclear program. Iran's gasoline imports fell 50 percent last month as sanctions over the nation's nuclear program spurred traders to halt supplies, according to Energy Market Consultants Ltd.  Both President Obama and Secretary Clinton however, acknowledged that Iranian leaders might be unwilling to give up the nuclear program, despite the escalating cost.  To read more on Iran's declining gasoline imports, click here.  To read the full New York Times article on the Obama Administration's offer to negotiate with Iran, click here.

Congressional group will enforce Iran sanctions.  Reps. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the ranking Republican member of the committee, announced Tuesday that they will launch the Working Group on Iran Sanction Implementation.  The working group will ensure that sanctions against Iran are properly implemented and enforced, and that they have the intended effect of halting production of Iranian nuclear capabilities. Members will meet with the Obama administration, foreign ambassadors and nonpartisan experts to accomplish their goals. Similarly, the Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing in the fall about the implementation of the Iran sanctions bill.  To read the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs' press release on this working group, click here.
JCPA/Jewish Federations
Israel Advocacy Initiative
Israel Exports Shift from West to East.  The United States is still Israel's main export destination, but India has now overtaken Europe as the second largest market jumping from eighth place, while China climbed from 11th to fifth place, according to the Israeli Export Institute. The report also showed that exports to India rose more than 102 percent in the first half of 2010 compared to the first half of 2009. Export growth to China notched an increase of 115 percent over the same time period to reach $755 million.  To read the full article by The Media Line, please click here.

A trend, both deliberate and inadvertent, to delegitimize Israel.  Thomas L. Friedman, in a New York Times op-ed, exposed the faults and prejudices that accompany the anti-Israel boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement.  In it he argues that if critics convey to Israelis that they understand the world they're living in, and then criticize, they'll listen.  Destructive criticism, Friedman argues, instead closes Israeli ears. It says to Israelis: There is no context that could explain your behavior, and your wrongs are so uniquely wrong that they overshadow all others.  To read the full piece, click here.

8 reasons leftists should be pro-Israel. In his op-ed published in the Huffington Post, Alan Krinsky makes the case for why the political left should oppose the BDS movement and more actively advocate for Middle East peace.  Krinsky, breaks down his argument into 8 points, human rights, internationalism, peace, anti-authoritarianism, human dignity and equality, anti-discrimination, self defense, and progress, in each one pointing out why in fact liberals should support Israel and not demonize it.  To read the op-ed, click here.

For biased critics of Israel, even its defensive actions violate human rights.  In an opinion piece in the Christian Science Monitor, columnist Jeffery Robbins criticizes the reflexive bias against Israel that has lead to even basic security efforts to defend innocent civilians being criticized as violations of human rights.  Throughout the article Robbins points to various recent incidents in which Israeli civilians were attacked by Palestinians and not a word was said by the international community in opposition.  Similarly, he mentions the human rights abuses that Palestinians have inflicted upon themselves, such as human shields, and the lack of criticism of those as well.  To read the full opinion piece, click here.
Save Darfur
Sudanese President Bashir Threatens to Expel UN.  Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president, has warned the United Nations mission in Darfur and foreign aid organizations to "support government authorities" or face expulsion.  Unamid, the joint African Union and United Nations mission in Darfur, has more than 15,000 peacekeepers deployed in the region. Bashir's remarks come amid an ongoing dispute between the Sudanese government and Unamid over six people wanted by Khartoum.
This Week in Washington

This Week in Washington.  The Senate finished their business and recessed for the rest of August last week after approving several pieces of important legislation and confirming Elena Kagan to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.  In a rare move, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi  has called the House of Representatives back into session this  week  to consider the state aid legislation passed by the Senate.  The President is in Washington this week and the Supreme Court welcomes the Court's newest Justice Elena Kagan.  

Senate Unanimously Passes Child Nutrition Reauthorization.
On August 5th, the Senate passed its version of the child nutrition reauthorization bill, The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (S.3307), by unanimous consent. The House of Representatives is expected to designate funding and vote on its version of the bill, Improving Nutrition for America's Children Act (H.R. 5502), when it returns from recess in September.


Needed Aid to States Passed by Senate at Expense of SNAP. On August 5th, the Senate passed a bill, 61-39, that will provide a significant amount of state aid in the form of $16.1 billion in FMAP (the federal matching program to states for Medicaid funding) and $10 billion in education funding to save education jobs. The JCPA has been very supportive of the many variations this bill has taken. Unfortunately, late last week, the Senate decided to use $11.9 billion in SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps) funding in order to offset the cost of the bill. The education funding is expected to save thousands of education jobs. Speaker Pelosi made the rare decision to call the House of Representatives back from recess in order to vote on the FMAP/education funding bill this Tuesday.

Elana Kagan Confirmed.  In a 63-37 vote, President Obama's nominee to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens, Elena Kagan, was confirmed by the Senate last week.  Before being confirmed, Kagan was the government's chief litigator before the Supreme Court as the US Solicitor General, Dean of Harvard Law School, and an advisor to President Bill Clinton.  She will be only the 4th woman in the Court's history.
 
Berman Places Hold on US Military Assistance to Lebanon.  Congressman Howard Berman, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who had placed a hold on a $100 million dollar security assistance package to the LAF one day before the incident on the Israel-Lebanon border occurred, released a statement on both the hold and the incident.  To read, please click here.

COEJL
Senate Recess - Time to Regroup on Comprehensive Energy/Climate Policy.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced last week that a vote on oil spill legislation will be delayed until September. Advocates were left concerned about whether any legislation related to comprehensive energy and climate legislation will be passed in the fall. The New York Times quoted some as comparing "the movement's plight to that of Charlie Brown, who kept kicking for the football only to have Lucy pull it out at the last moment." Environmentalists are regrouping their efforts over the summer, reviewing their positive accomplishments but mainly focused on key lessons learned as they seek to make progress in the fall. White House Director on Energy and Climate Change Policy told Meet the Press  yesterday that, "We will continue to see if we can get legislation.  We passed it in the House.  We'll continue to work in the Senate." She also said that bill could "potentially" be approved after the November mid-term election. Click here for what COEJL had to say about the bill when it was introduced at the end of July before it was deferred.  Meanwhile, on the international front, talks to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions through a new international treaty seem to be stalled despite the growing impact of climate change.

Final kill of gulf oil spill set to begin this week. Nearly four months after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, the struggle against the BP oil spill is nearly complete. On Monday administration officials announced that sometime late this week the teams drilling the relief well should be in position to penetrate the original Macondo well shaft and seal it with cement.

Gulf of Mexico Regional Citizens Advisory Council. The JCPA along with a large contingent of 106 other national and international Jewish and non-Jewish organizations co-signed a letter to congress urging the formation of a Gulf of Mexico Regional Citizens' Advisory Council. "Such a Council is necessary to effectively address the ongoing environmental, economic, health, and social impacts of the Deepwater Horizon drilling disaster, ensure the Gulf is protected from future accidents, and make certain that the Gulf can continue to play its vital role in meeting the energy needs of our nation." Read the full letter here.

Hazon Bike Ride. Hazon is hosting the 10th Annual New York Jewish Environmental Bike Ride on Labor Day Weekend, September 3-6, 2010. The NY Ride Jewish Environmental Bike Ride is more than a ride on a bike - it is a four-day event that includes a Shabbat retreat at Workmen's Circle's Camp Kinder Ring, a trip to Camp Eden Village, the new Jewish environmental summer camp is also included. More importantly, the event raises money for cutting-edge Jewish environmental projects in the United States and Israel.  Learn more here.
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.  For more information, contact Max Mulcahy at 212.684.9815 or mmulcahy@thejcpa.org.

We thank you for your generous support!

Contribute Now!

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