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JCPA Insider
Volume 13, Number 46
November 29, 2010

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In This Issue
Iran Initiative
Israel Advocacy Initiative
Civility Campaign
Fighting Poverty with Faith
This Week in Washington
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!

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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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The JCPA will be introducing a new newsletter called JCPActs to replace Insider next year.  If you would like to sign up to begin receiving JCPActs now and share your feedback with us, please click here.   
Iran Initiative
World Worried about Iran.  The recent Wikileaks release shows that many countries around the world are worried about a nuclear Iran, specifically, Iran’s Arab neighbors.  Referring to Iran, “…the powerful King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia…repeatedly implored Washington to ‘cut off the head of the snake’ while there was still time.”  Additionally, the king of Bahrain stated “that the Iranian nuclear program ‘must be stopped.’”  To read the complete article from the New York Times click here.

Iran: Computer Malware Sabotaged Uranium Centrifuges.  In a press conference on Monday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad confessed that the Stuxnet virus had sabotaged centrifuges in its nuclear facilities.  “The surprise announcement at a press conference coincided with news that two of Iran’s top nuclear scientists had been ambushed Monday by assassins who killed one scientist and seriously injured the other.”  To read the complete article from Wired click here
JCPA/Jewish Federations
Israel Advocacy Initiative
Report on Western Wall to be Discussed with P.A. During JCPA Mission to Israel.  This Sunday, December 5, the JCPA will lead its annual mission to the Middle East where 21 JCPA leaders will meet with senior Israeli officials, including senior advisors from Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, Palestinian Authority (PA) leaders Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad, Member of Knesset Tzipi Livni, U.S. Ambassador to Israel James Cunningham, Israeli Chief Justice Dorit Beinisch, and many others.  The JCPA delegation also is scheduled to meet with Jordanian King Abdullah II in Amman.  During the meetings with Palestinian leadership, the JCPA will discuss the recent PA report denying a Jewish connection the Western Wall.  In a statement released today, JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow and Chairman Conrad Giles said “We intend to share with Palestinian leaders our worry that this study could resurrect a false narrative that Jews have no connection to the land and could reignite ugly religious battles over free worship and access.  We fear that by not rejecting this study as historically inaccurate, the Palestinian Authority is opening a door that jeopardizes recognition of sites holy not only to Jews, but also sacred to Christians and Muslims as well.  This kind of historical revisionism jeopardizes the effort to achieve a lasting peace based on two-states.”  To read the entire statement, click here.

No Agnosticism on Israel’ s Right to Exist.  Yitzhak Santis, Director of the Middle East Project of the San Francisco JCRC, argues that being agnostic about Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state within secure borders is anti-Israel, and that time has come to “remove the cloak of respectability that [Jewish Voice for Peace] has tried to place over its positions.”  Santis also explains that “the sum of the [Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)] movement's central demands…especially the demand for a ‘right of return’ - make it clear that BDS seeks to disassemble the State of Israel.”  To read the complete op-ed in Haaretz click here.

Israel, Palestinian Authority, and European Union Export Gaza Strawberries.  Starting this week, Israel will allow 10 trucks of strawberries from Gaza to pass through the Kerem Shalom crossing each day. “This is not the first time Israel has permitted exports of Palestinian strawberries and flowers from Gaza. But it coincides with the enlargement of a logistics hub at the Kerem Shalom crossing point in the south, for what Gaza business hopes will be a revival of wider trade next year.”  To read the complete article in Ynet click here.

Ishmael Khalidi Publishes New Book.
  Ishmael Khalidi recently published A Shepherd’s Journey: The Story of Israel’s First Bedouin Diplomat. “Born into a poor, traditional Bedouin village in northern Israel, Ishmael Khalidi grew to become Israel’s first Bedouin diplomat. In this short book, he tells a remarkable story of transformation, from his modest village roots to his triumph as a diplomat and voice of reason in the Middle East.”  To learn more about Khalidi and his book click here.
Fighting poverty with faith
The Fighting Poverty with Faith mobilization ended last Monday with a Capitol Hill briefing for faith community leaders, Congressional staff and Administration officials.  With over 50 people in attendance, this highly successful briefing highlighted the importance of the 2010 Fighting Poverty with Faith mobilization, urged elected officials and faith communities to remain highly engaged in anti-poverty advocacy, and, this week, to fight to pass the Child Nutrition Act.

This event was highlighted in many news outlets, including the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and the New York Jewish Week.
Civility campaign
Over 1,230 Jewish Leaders Sign JCPA’s Civility Statement. . . and counting. Over 1,230 Jewish leaders from over 600 Jewish institutions have pledged to treat others with honor and dignity as models for civil discourse by signing the JCPA's Statement on Civility. Join them at www.civilitystatement.org and encourage your family, friends, colleagues, and others in your community to do the same. Embracing the message of Eilu v’elu divrei Elokim chayim, “both these and those are the words of the living God,” the Statement calls on everyone to engage in civil discourse and to treat individuals respectfully, even when disagreement occurs.

New Additions to Civility Resources Website. The JCPA’s website for the Civility Campaign contains articles, resources, study materials, and best practices on civility. The site also has video footage of a November 1 panel discussion “Toward Civility: A Community Conversation” promoting the JCPA’s Civility Campaign. The JCPA has recently updated its website to include articles and best practices from past Insiders. Highlights include an article by Rabbi Steve Gutow in JTA on the need for civil discourse following the November election; an article in J about San Francisco’s Year of Civil Discourse program; and the Washington Jewish Week’s article on the JCPA’s Statement on Civility.  

You can view the site at www.jewishpublicaffairs.org/Civility
This Week in Washington
This Week in Washington.  Congress returns from Thanksgiving recess this week to continue the final weeks of the “lame duck” session before the new Congress is installed in January. The President is in Washington this week.  The Supreme Court is in session and is hearing oral arguments.  

DREAM Act.  The DREAM Act, an immigration reform bill, is expected to be brought up for a vote in the coming week.  The bill would allow undocumented immigrant children who were brought into the United States before the age of 16, graduate high school, and then either go to college or join the military, to gain permanent status and open the way for citizenship.   Immigration reform advocates, including the JCPA, have been calling for a vote on this important legislation throughout this Congress, saying it would reward the hard work of immigrants and help the economy in the long run.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has promised a vote on this bill before the end of session.  

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  The ban on gays and lesbians openly serving in the military, known as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT), is another vote expected by the lame duck Congress in the coming weeks.  Already passed by the House, the repeal has been included in the Senate Defense Reauthorization, but not yet voted on on the floor.  The JCPA has called the DADT policy anachronistic and out of sync with other modern, Western militaries.  While the DADT repeal is currently being considered as a part of the Defense Reauthorization bill, it could also be considered as a stand alone piece of legislation.  

Child Nutrition.  The House of Representatives is likely to vote on the Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill later this week as part of the “lame duck” session of Congress. The JCPA is encouraging constituents to reach out to their Representatives over the next few days through phone calls and letters. You can send a letter to your Representative here or call them using Feeding America’s hotline at 1-877-698-8228.

Jobs. The federal unemployment benefits are set to expire today. Without quick Congressional action, benefits for 2 million workers will end. This afternoon the JCPA, along with other members of the faith community, sent this letter to all Members of Congress urging the extension of these benefits.

Violence Against Women. Last February a bi-partisan group of Senators and Representatives introduced the International Violence Against Women Act of 2010 (H.R. 4594 / S. 2982 ). This legislation would direct Administration officials to develop a comprehensive five-year plan to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls around the world. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled to “mark-up” their version of the bill on December 1st.  In honor of the Anniversary of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Vice President Biden said “Violence against women impedes economic development, threatens peace and prosperity, and inhibits full participation in civic life.”

Israeli Arab Issues Community Education Day.  The JCPA is cosponsoring an event entitled “Arab Citizens of Israel — Challenges and Opportunities: A Community Education Day” with the Greater Washington Forum on Israeli Arab Issues.  The event, being held on January, 9 2011 at the DC JCC, will feature Ruth Carmi, director of the Arab Civic Engagement Project, Israel Religious Action Center and New Israel Fun Law Fellow, Mohammad Darawshe, co-director of The Abraham Fund Initiatives, Noam Katz, Minister for Public Diplomacy at the Embassy of Israel, and others.  The event is free for those who sign up in advance.  Complete information, including registration, can be found here.
Secretary of Energy Gives Speech on Clean Tech. In a speech at a National Press Club luncheon today, Secretary of Energy Dr. Steven Chu said the clean energy successes of China and other countries require the U.S. to focus its attention on clean-tech innovation.  He called for the U.S. to increase its efforts in developing the next generation of energy alternatives so that the country is able to compete for the jobs of the future. Chu also spoke of ongoing research efforts in his department, including last week's announcement of an important scientific partnership between the U.S. and China on green technologies and a stimulus-funded project to develop a cost-competitive long-range plug-in car battery. COEJL advocates energy alternatives and green jobs and will continue working to build support on these and other important energy matters within the broader Jewish community. To learn more about these issues, join us after the JCPA Plenum in Washington D.C. on March 9th. For more information, contact dmarks@coejl.org.

Cancun Kicks Off.  Today Mexican President Felipe Calderon opened the two-week long United Nations conference on climate change in Cancun, Mexico. In absence of a legally binding agreement from last year’s more high-level conference in Copenhagen, expectations this year are lower. Without comprehensive climate legislation to highlight, the U.S. will focus on presenting Environmental Protection Agency climate regulations and stimulus spending on renewable energy as a means of curbing domestic emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. It’s hoped that this year will see international progress on reducing emissions by protecting forests that absorb CO2 and on starting a “green fund” that would help poor nations adapt to climate change. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Nancy Sutley, an adviser to the White House, will attend the talks next weekKeren Kayemeth L’Israel/Jewish National Fund and the Green Zionist Alliance have delegates at the meeting.
Check back later this week on COEJL’s blog for details as they develop.

Steven Schwarz, z”l. The JCPA extends its condolences to the Scharwz family on the passing of Steven Schwarz.  Steve was the former chair of the NJCRAC, the predecessor to the JCPA.  His funeral will be held in Hillside, NJ on Tuesday.

Richard Goldman, z”l.  The JCPA extends its condolences to Jewish Federation of Greater Washington President Susie Gelman and her husband, The Israel Project’s first chairman Michael Gelman on the passing of Susie’s father, Richard Goldman.  Mr. Goldman was active in philanthropy for Jewish issues, Israel, and San Francisco.  His funeral will be Friday in San Francisco. 

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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