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Volume 13, Number 32
August 23, 2010

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In This Issue
Direct Talks to Begin
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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Direct talks to begin
JCPA and American Task Force on Palestine Issue Joint Statement.  With the announcement of direct talks between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas last Friday by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the JCPA and the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) issued a joint statement calling for "courage" and "persistence" from all parties.  Also invited to attend the talks, set to begin September 2nd,  are Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah II.  Prime Minister Netanyahu's office stated that "Reaching an agreement is a difficult challenge, but is possible.''  To read the full report from NPR click here. The statement from the JCPA and ATFP can be read here.  
Iran Initiative

Iran Opens First Nuclear Plant. Over the weekend, Iran opened its first nuclear power plant, near Bushehr.  "Attended by senior officials from Iran and Russia, which helped build the plant, the ceremony marked the beginning of the transfer of low-enriched uranium fuel rods from a storage site into the plant."  The United States does not view this plant as controversial, but had hoped Russia would have delayed the opening of the plant in order to build economic pressure on the current regime.  To read the full story from the New York Times click here.


LAT: Iran Must End Stoning and Injustice to Women.
In an editorial, the Los Angeles Times argues that even if Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, convicted of adultery in Iranian court, is allowed to seek asylum in Brazil, Iran must end its practice of stoning and insist on equal justice for women. "Ashtiani is the victim of a regime that oppresses women, violates international accords regarding the treatment of prisoners and is cavalier in its disregard of human rights."  To read the complete editorial from the Los Angeles Times click here.

JCPA/Jewish Federations
Israel Advocacy Initiative

Letter Campaign for Gilad Shalit's Birthday.  The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations has launched a campaign to send greetings to captured Israeli prisoner Gilad Shalit on his birthday.  The letters will be given to the Red Cross who will be asked to deliver them to him.  Shalit, who has been held by Hamas for over 4 years, has been denied access to the Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations.  More information can be found here

Israeli Doctors to Treat Romanian Infants Injured in Hospital Fire.  After a tragic fire at a Romanian hospital, Israeli doctors rushed to Romania to help treat seven premature infants who suffered severe burns.  Israeli relations with Romania have grown increasingly closer over the past few months, with Romania stating its support of Israel as Iran continues to seek nuclear weapons.  To read the complete article from Haaretz click here.

Save Darfur
Special Envoy Gration Considered for Ambassadorship to Kenya.   President Obama's special envoy to Sudan, retired Maj. Gen. Scott Gration, could be on his way to a new job in Kenya, at the same time as the White House prepares a new approach to Sudan ahead of a January referendum.  The new plan, which was proposed by Gration, makes the January referendum a priority and deemphasizes the ongoing crisis in Darfur.  Gration's plan was endorsed by several other major Administration officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and will now go the president for his approval.  UN Ambassador Susan Rice, who advocates a tougher line with Khartoum, has been critical of this plan.  Gration, is currently considering taking the job of U.S. ambassador in Nairobi.  He has expressed interest in keeping his Sudan role, even as Ambassador, but analysts say that isn't likely to happen.
This Week in Washington
This Week in Washington.  Congress remains recessed until September 14th.  With Senators and Representatives home for the month, this is a good time to try to schedule a meeting with your members of Congress in their district offices.  The President is on vacation this week.   

Shofar to Congress: Wake Up! 
Writing in the Huffington Post last week, JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow sent an Elul themed reminder to Congress that there is still much work to be done.  As Congress spends August in their home states and districts, Rabbi Gutow uses the shofar blasts of Elul to tell Congress not to forget about pressing issues like child nutrition, hunger, Iran, energy and the environment, and the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell that await them on their return.  You can read the blog here

Child Nutrition Campaign Continues. 
Help with an Op-Ed.  Though Congress is in recess this month, the work to ensure passage of a robust child nutrition bill continues.  As school starts in the fall, it is important to ensure that our hungry kids receive healthy food choices.  You can help by placing an op-ed in your local paper highlighting the need to address poverty and hunger in your area through the successful school lunch programs.  If you are interested in placing and op-ed and need help or guidance please contact our Communications Fellow, Ben Suarato at Bsuarato@thejcpa.org.  Sample language can be found here
COEJL

BP Gulf Disaster - Day 126. Debate continues over a controversial government report regarding the long-term effects of the BP Gulf Disaster and how much oil is still in the ocean.  The report claimed that 3/4 of the oil "evaporated or dissolved" but other scientific research teams claim that the numbers were greatly exaggerated.  Just last week, Representative Ed Markey (MA) held a rare August recess hearing about the report.  Bill Lehr, a top NOAA scientist, said the report was not peer-reviewed and that in fact about 3/4 of the oil is still in the environment.  Charles Hopkinson, Director of Georgia Sea Grant, said "One major misconception is that oil (that) has dissolved into water is gone, and therefore, harmless.  The oil is still out there, and it will likely take years to completely degrade."  An oceanographer from Florida State University used satellite imagery to measure oil slicks and found that only 10% of the oil has actually been removed from the ocean.  Meanwhile, new evidence shows that a 22-mile-long (35-kilometer-long), 650-foot-high (200-meter-high) pocket of oil has persisted for months at depths of 3,600 feet (1,100 meters), according to a team from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts.  For the latest on the BP claims process, click here.


Pakistan - Climate Canary in the Coal Mine?
  One fifth of the entire land mass of Pakistan is  under water, which according to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon comprises at least 160,000 square kilometers and is an area larger than more than half the countries of the world. According to government estimates, 15.4 million people are affected, with at least 6 million in need of food, shelter, clean water and health care and 1,600 confirmed dead. Secretary-General Ban has stated, "That is more than the entire population hit by the Indian Ocean tsunami, the Kashmir earthquake, Cyclone Nargis and the earthquake in Haiti, combined." Climatologists are now openly saying that this devastating flooding is likely the worst natural disaster to date attributable to climate change. While hesitant to pinpoint specific greenhouse gas emissions, scientists state that higher Atlantic Ocean temperatures have clearly contributed to the disaster. If ever there was a wakeup call to speak up and act on climate change, this is it. To express your Jewish voice on climate change by joining COEJL's Jewish Energy Covenant Campaign www.coejl.org/covenant and to contribute relief support for Pakistani flood victims go the websites of American Jewish World Service and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.  

Green Israel Summit for Shabbat Noach. COEJL welcomes you to join a program for Shabbat Noach which we are co-sponsoring with the Green Zionist Alliance, Hazon, and the American Zionist Movement. Celebrate Shabbat Noach with stories, lectures and discussions in a welcoming, pluralistic setting at the new ecological summer campground of Eden Village Farm. As we read about the Biblical flood and the renewal of the earth on Shabbat Noach, we will learn how to renew ourselves and the environment. Explore the Jewish back-to-the-land movement and what Zionism means today. Learn about energy conservation, population growth, suburban sprawl, Negev preservation, and environmentalism during a time of war. Meet other young Jewish environmentalists from across North America. For more information and to register, click 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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