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Volume 13, Number 35
September 13, 2010

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In This Issue
Israel Advocacy Initiative
Iran Initiative
Civility Campaign
This Week in Washington
JCPA Programs

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About JCPA

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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.

Our Supporters

Israel Advocacy Initiative

Tell Time Magazine That Peace is a Priority.  Recently, Time magazine published a cover story claiming that Israel doesn't care about peace.  JCPA member agencies the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League have called it an "insidious myth" and demanded an apology. Time Magazine has stopped accepting comments on the article on its website.  Click here to let tell us what you think about the article.  Peace and security continue to be priorities in our prayers and our actions.  You can also send an e-mail directly to the editors at Time here.

10 Rockets Hit Israel since Start of High Holidays.  Since Rosh Hashana began last Wednesday, the southern region of Israel has been hit with 10 rockets.  Hamas operatives are known to use violence in the hope of derailing peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians.  "Although no injuries have been reported in the latest slew of attacks, a mortar shell landed near several children's school buildings on Wednesday in a Sha'ar Hanegev regional council kibbutz, some 30 minutes prior to the students' scheduled arrival." To read the complete article from the Jerusalem Post click here.

Israel to Push for Upgrade in European Union Status.  In light of the renewal of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the Israeli Foreign Ministry has asked for an upgrade in Israel's status at the European Union.  "Many European foreign ministers have said in the past year that progress in the negotiations would offer an opportunity to restart talks on upgrading Israel's EU status…The EU decided unanimously in December 2008 to upgrade relations with Israel following a long and difficult campaign by Israel. The decision came despite vigorous efforts by the PA and by Egypt to thwart the move." To read the complete article from Haaretz click here

Iran Initiative
U.N. Nuclear Watchdog Skeptical of Iran's Nuclear Program.  The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has raised concern over Iran's selective cooperation with its nuclear inspectors.  Iran's latest refusal of full cooperation led him to doubt that their nuclear program is for purely peaceful purposes.   Recently, Iran decided to "strip two inspectors of their monitoring rights after they reported what they said were undeclared nuclear experiments."  To read the complete article from the Associated Press click here.

1,000 Rally in France to Support Iranian Woman.  One thousand people gathered in Paris to show support for an Iranian mother of two who was sentenced to stoning after allegations of adultery and murder.  At the rally, Bernard Henri-Levy stated, "if we save this innocent person, we will help to save all the other women who are waiting in the corridors of death, and we will avenge those who have been stoned to death or burned alive."  To read the complete article from AFP click here

San Francisco JCRC President Makes the Case for Iran Sanctions.  In the San Francisco Chronicle, Ruvim Braude, President of the San Francisco JCRC, discusses Iran's illicit nuclear program, support of terrorist organizations, and continued Holocaust denial.  "The Obama administration, in concert with U.S. allies, must intensify its efforts at the United Nations to bring further sanctions against the theocratic rulers of Tehran to maximize the prospect of a peaceful resolution and to prevent the regional and global destabilization that would come with an Iranian nuclear arsenal."  To read the complete op-ed from Braude click here.
Civility campaign
San Francisco JCRC Releases Pastoral Letter on Civility. This month, as part of their Year of Civil Discourse Initiative, the San Francisco JCRC released a pastoral letter on behalf of a diverse spectrum of California rabbis. In light of intra-Jewish disagreements concerning Israel turning hateful, angry, and even violent, the letter, entitled "Listening and Speaking Respectfully about Israel," calls for "a sincere effort by all parties in the debate to listen and to learn from one another even in the midst of passionate argument." Embodying the phrase Eilu v'elu divrei Elokim chayim - "both these and those are the words of the living God"- the undersigned rabbis not only model civil discourse in their synagogues and institutions, but also invite their congregants and constituents to do the same.
You can read the statement here.
Rabbi Steve Gutow Participates in D.C. Summit on Islamophobia. Last Tuesday, JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow attended an emergency meeting of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim leaders on Islamophobia hosted by the Islamic Society of North America. Other notable attendees included Rabbi David Saperstein of the Religious Action Center, Michael Kinnaman of the National Council of Churches, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, and Rev. Rich Cizik of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good.

They released a statement denouncing the anti-Muslim bigotry and calling for a new era of interfaith cooperation. You can read it here.

You can also watch the comments from the religious leaders after their summit here.
This Week in Washington
This Week in Washington.  Congress returns from the August recess this week where they will commemorate the September 11th attacks and resume debate on issues such as the budget and Department of Defense Reauthorization, including a repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell".   The President is in Washington this week.

Court Decisions Prod Congress for Action. 
As Congress returns this week, two recent court rulings are expected to receive some legislative attention.  In the first case, a California court ruled that the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy barring gays and lesbians from openly serving was unconstitutional.  The judge determined that the government failed to prove that the threat to unit cohesion merited the discriminatory policy.  A repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is already included in the House and Senate Defense Authorization bills. The Senate is scheduled to consider the their version of this legislation shortly.  In the second case, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals  stayed an earlier ruling prohibiting the use of public funds for stem cell research.  The stay is only temporary as the court considers the details of the case.  Congressional proponents of stem cell research are interested in pursuing legislation to ensure the federally funded stem cell research can continue.  

Commemorations at Sites of 9/11 Attacks. 
Nine years after the terrorist attacks on September 11th, commemorations were held by government officials across the country.  President Obama spoke at the Pentagon and Vice President Joe Biden was at the site of the World Trade Center in Manhattan.  Additionally, First Lady Michelle Obama was joined by former First Lady Laura Bush in Shanksville, PA at the new national park where Flight 93 crashed.  
Democrats in the Senate seek action on energy measures. Though their time may be limited due to other priorities before the November elections, the Senate may consider measures on U.S. EPA climate rules, power plant pollution curbs and energy tax incentives. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) last week acknowledged that the Senate's chances of passing sweeping or even scaled-back climate legislation this year are slim to none, but he held out hopes for moving forward on a slimmed-down energy package soon or perhaps in a post-election lame-duck session. Reid suggested last week that a narrow energy bill could see floor action before the election. "I think we should take a run at it," he said during a clean energy meeting in Las Vegas. "Even Washington is ready for that, so I'm going to try." (NY Times)

The EPA is authorized to regulate greenhouse gasses, but some in Congress wish to slow it down. In the absence of comprehensive energy and climate policy, it falls on the EPA and President Obama's administration to curb carbon emissions by implementing the Clean Air Act. Now that the Senate has returned from recess, those opposed to greenhouse gas regulation, are seeking to strip or delay the EPA's ability. But EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson sent a warning shot to Congress that any efforts to remove authority from the EPA would be vetoed by the President. "The President and the White House have been clear that they would veto any attempt to take away authority here," Jackson said. COEJL has been outspoken in its position against the "Dirty Air Resolution" and other attempts at banning EPA regulation of the Clean Air Act. (NRDC Switchboard) (Bloomberg Businessweek)

White House says "No" to Carter's Solar Panels. Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org, led a group of environmental activists to Washington in a bio-diesel van hoping to persuade President Obama to re-install a set of solar panels originally put up by then President Jimmy Carter in the late 1970s. But the recent initiative ended in disappointment when the White House declined to accept the panels last Friday. (The Guardian UK)  The panels had been stored at Unity College in Maine where COEJL board member Mitch Thomashow presides as president. Read more at Unity College's website on this story: (Unity College
JCPA Programs
The 2010 Fighting Poverty with Faith Mobilization is Quickly Approaching.  Set for the month of October, this interfaith effort will shine a spotlight on issues of poverty in communities across America.  If you are engaged in anti-poverty programming this Fall, we want to hear from you!  Please contact Elana Fox at efox@thejcpa.org so JCPA can publicize and support these efforts as a part of Fighting Poverty with Faith.  If you would like to learn more about the campaign and nationwide anti-poverty work, please visit www.fightingpovertywithfaith.com.

Additionally, there are two upcoming FPWF conference calls taking place over the next few weeks.  This week, on Tuesday, September 14th, there will be a webinar on attracting media to your events.  To learn more and register, please visit here.  On Tuesday, October 5th, please join JCPA and guests for a call to kick off our month of action.  More information can be found 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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