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Volume 13, Number 33
August 30, 2010

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In This Issue
Iran Initiative
Israel Advocacy Initiative
Save Darfur
This Week in Washington
COEJL
Pakistan Flood Relief
JCPA Programs

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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

Iran's Civil-Rights Violations Should Not be Ignored.  The Iranian government recently sentenced seven leaders of the Bahai community, the country's largest religious minority, to twenty years in prison.  The sentencing is part of longstanding religious persecution and intolerance seen since the 1979 revolution. "For more than three decades, the Bahai have formed the ground zero for repression in Iran. Rights groups say there is no evidence for the charges against the Bahai leaders, though Tehran's accusations should tell you all you need to know about who they are. The followers of this 19th-century religion hold unity among peoples as their main tenet…"  Read the complete editorial from the Wall Street Journal here.


Iran Responsible for a Quarter of US-Iraq Deaths.  The new US ambassador to Iraq has stated his belief that a quarter of US deaths in Iraq were perpetrated by Iranian-backed groups.  According to Ambassador James Jeffery, "Iran has sought to use Iraqi proxies to destabilise its neighbour and make it inhospitable for foreign forces."   Read the complete report from Reuters here.

JCPA/Jewish Federations
Israel Advocacy Initiative
Atmosphere for Middle East Peace is Ripe.  Martin Indyk, Director of Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution and former US Ambassador to Israel, provides four reasons as to why peace is more viable now than ever before.  "The negotiating environment is better suited to peacemaking today than it has been at any point in the last decade. The prospects for peace depend now on the willpower of the leaders."  Read Indyk's complete op-ed in the New York times here.

Union Adopts Balanced Resolution on Israel/Palestine. 
The International Transport Workers Federation adopted a compromised resolution at its 42nd congress.  Unlike those in other other trade unions, the resolution rejected a one-state solution, did not call for a boycott of Israel, and explicitly recognized Israel's right to self defense.  A summary of the resolution and the complete document can be read on the website for Trade Unions Linking Israel and Palestine here.

Thousands Gather to Celebrate Israel in Dallas.   Last week, thousands in Dallas came together to support and celebrate Israel at the first ever "Party on the Plaza: A Celebration of Israel."  Hosted by the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, the event featured Israeli food and performers as well as speakers from the entire Dallas community, including Mayor Tom Leppert and Pastor Terri Pearsons of Christians United for Israel.  You can read more about the event here.
Save Darfur
Al-Bashir Travels to Kenya Despite ICC Arrest Warrant.  Ignoring international demands for his arrest on genocide charges, President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan traveled to Kenya Friday to participate in a ceremony inaugurating the country's newly minted constitution. In theory the warrants could be enforced by any of the court's member countries, which include Kenya.  To read more, click here   President Obama put out a statement congratulating Kenya on their new constitution, but at the same time saying he was disappointed that Kenya hosted Sudanese al-Bashir in defiance of International Criminal Court arrest warrants for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.  To read the full White House statement, click here.
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.  After a stop in New Orleans to commemorate the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, President Obama will return to DC this week from his 10 day vacation in Martha's Vineyard with his family. 

President in New Orleans for Katrina Anniversary.  In an event marking the 5th anniversary of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, President Obama today visited New Orleans to pledge continued work to rebuild the Gulf.  In the speech at Xavier University, President Obama said the government will not repeat the mistakes that turned the Hurricane from "a natural disaster" to "a man-made catastrophe." 

Oval Office Address Planned for End of Combat Mission in Iraq. 
The President will deliver a National Address from the Oval office on Tuesday, August 31st to discuss the end of the combat mission in Iraq.  As of September 1, all combat troops will be out of the country, though about 50,000 troops will remain in a support and training capacity.
COEJL
Poll shows support for EPA regulations of greenhouse gasses. Pollster Joel Benenson is circulating poll data that may be helpful in defending against coming attacks on the EPA regarding its authority to regulate greenhouses gases.  Benenson writes in his memo: "Our recent polling for the NRDC Action Fund shows that a large majority of voters want the government to regulate greenhouse gases and that they are solidly opposed to Congress interfering with this task." Sixty percent polled supported it whereas only thirty-four percent opposed it, and fifty-one percent of voters say they have a favorable view of the EPA. Furthermore, sixty eight percent polled say they want the government to do more to hold corporations accountable. The poll was conducted among 1,401 registered voters from August 10-15 with a margin of error of +/- 2.6%. Read the full memo here. This is important news which reflects the opposite view of what we see in at least one contentious Senatorial race. Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who last year tried to ban the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases (legislation which COEJL opposed) is behind in the primary race with Joe Miller, an Alaska lawyer and a Tea Party favorite who is known for denying the reality of climate change. Both are publicly opposed to the pending EPA regulations.

Oil Spill - Day 133: BP remains in spotlight as deep water drilling continues.  A report delivered to the House Energy and Commerce committee shows that BP is spending large sums of money on advertising. Although the total figure spent during that period is not public, it is known that, in the 18 weeks since the fatal explosion and subsequent spill, the oil giant has spent at least $1 million a week on public relations in the areas most hit by the spill.  As BP continues seeking to conduct damage control, news reports say that BP may have "misinterpreted" data that predicted the impending blowout. In other Gulf drilling news, nearly 200 miles from shore, the 'Perdido' platform  is the world's deepest offshore floating oil platform and can pump oil from dozens of wells nearly two miles under the sea while simultaneously drilling new ones. It is part of a wave of new ultra-deep platforms - all far more sophisticated than the rig that was used to drill the ill-fated BP well that blew up in April. Attention remains focused on the safety of such platforms as, the New York Times reports from a former industry executive, "Our ability to manage risks hasn't caught up with our ability to explore and produce in deep water." Also according to the Times, "Under a $1 billion initiative announced in July, four oil majors - Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon and Shell - said they would design and build equipment that could be used to contain and cap well blowouts at depths of up to 10,000 feet. However, they say the new devices will not be tested and ready for 18 months, and the plan is not likely to work in places outside the gulf, like Alaska, where conditions differ."

COEJL brings rabbinic leaders from Judaism's broad spectrum together to create environmental resources for High Holy Days.
On August 9th, COEJL convened a national conversation involving rabbis from five Jewish religious streams - Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist, Reform, and Renewal - to discuss Jewish environmental resources and sermon materials for the High Holy Days and parshat Noach. Out of this call came a collection of resources for distribution as part of our broader Jewish Energy Covenant Campaign (www.coejl.org/covenant).  The full resource sheet is available here. In the same light, Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb delivered an uplifting Dvar Torah at a recent COEJL Governance Committee meeting on August 11th, where he says, "...the whole Jewish world (kol ha'olam kulo, the whole world, actually) needs what COEJL has to offer.  And we [rabbinic leaders] are uniquely positioned to bring it not only to the decision-makers within the organized Jewish community, but also to the many influential Jews outside of the 'four cubits' of the agency world." Click here for the full text.
Pakistan Flood Relief
The flooding in Pakistan continues to devastate the country and its people.   The worst since 1929, much of Pakistan's major population areas are under water and millions are suffering, in need of food and shelter.  Many have fled from the surging waters, leaving their homes behind, while others unable to leave are stuck in the rising waters of the River Indus.  For a month, this flood has created an urgent need for humanitarian aid in Pakistan.  Acres of crops and over a million homes have already been destroyed and your assistance can be vital in helping these victims survive and recover.  

To help, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) has set up a fund to help the Pakistani flood victims.  Thanks to the JDC's experience providing aid to Pakistan after the recent earthquakes, they have the organization, resources, and infrastructure to reach people in the most remote of villages.  To help them in their efforts to get aid to the Pakistanis suffering from this flood, you can donate to the JDC efforts HERE.

You can also give to the American Jewish World Service (AJWS) whos grantees on the ground in Pakistan are able to immediately receive and benefit from your donation.  You can donate to AJWS HERE.
JCPA Programs
Planning for the 2010 Fighting Poverty with Faith is underway in communities across the country, but there is still time for your community to take part!  For the third year in a row, JCPA has teamed up with Catholic Charities, the National Council of Churches and a host of other national faith organizations to create a nationwide interfaith mobilization.  This year's mobilization will take place throughout the month of October to demonstrate to candidates for public office that the faith community is committed to protecting safety net programs and creating jobs.  

For event ideas as well as many other resources, please visit www.fightingpovertywithfaith.com.

 
For those who have scheduled an event, it's important to upload it onto the national FPWF Events Calendar.  Located in the "Local Efforts" section of the website, this calendar is a wonderful way to market your event.  If you have any questions about the mobilization, please contact Jeff Wojciechowski at jwojciechowski@thejcpa.org.
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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