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JCPA Insider
Volume 14, Number 02
January 10, 2011

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In This Issue
Insider is Ending
Iran Initiative
Israel Advocacy Initiative
Civility Campaign
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.  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 Andi Milens at 212.684.7044 or amilens@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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Insider Is ending
In the next few weeks, JCPA will be sending out our final "Insiders" as we roll out our new weekly newsletter, JCPActs.  JCPActs will provide a more in depth look at what the JCPA is working on each week, with links to actions, news, and resources.  To read some of our recent pieces, click here. To sign up for JCPActs now and provide your feedback on the new newsletter, click here.
Iran Initiative
Clinton: Sanction Hurt Iranian Nuclear Program.  During a visit to Abu Dhabi, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton stated that sanctions have had an effect on the Iranian nuclear program and caused technological complications.  “Mrs. Clinton did not detail the problems with Iran’s program, how long a delay they might cause, or the precise sources of her information. But she argued that the difference between a one-year development cycle and a three- or four-year cycle does not alter the strategic choices that confront Iran’s neighbors or the rest of the world.”  To read the complete article from the New York Times click here.

Iran Sentences Human Rights Lawyer to Jail.  “Prominent Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has been sentenced to 11 years in jail and banned for 20 years from working as an attorney and leaving the country, her husband told AFP on Monday… He said Sotoudeh, who has been in jail since September, was found guilty of acting against national security, propaganda against the regime and membership of the Human Rights Defenders' Centre, a rights group headed by Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi.”  To read the complete article from AFP click here
JCPA/Jewish Federations
Israel Advocacy Initiative
Israel to Increase Birthright Funding.  Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel will more than double its funding for the Birthright Israel Program, which provides free trips to Israel for Jewish youth.  Netanyahu stated that the Israeli “government will give more than double its investment in Birthright, and over the next few years we will invest more than $100 million in Birthright… Together with private donations we can increase the number of people to 50,000 a year.”  To read the complete article from the Jewish Daily Forward click here.

Israel Brings Treatment and Training to Kenya.  A team of Israeli aid workers with MASHAV, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Agency for International Development Cooperation,  recently completed building a fully equipped emergency room in Kisumu, Kenya. “Beyond building the state-of-the-art facility and donating all necessary supplies, MASHAV sent specialists to train local medical professionals in emergency medicine to raise the level of care available in the city and its periphery.”  To read the complete story from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs click here.
Save Darfur
Voting Begins in Southern Sudan.  Millions took to the polls on Sunday for an unprecedented vote for indepence in Southern Sudan.  The referendum is part of an agreement reached six years ago to halt the decades long civil war between the  majority Arab Muslim north and the largely Christian and animist south. Results from the referendum are not expected for at least a week, but so far, there has been a high turnout and few reports of violence.
Civility campaign
JCPA Calls for Civility following Tucson Tragedy Shooting.  The JCPA issued a statement of concern about violence and civility in the aftermath of the tragic slaying of a federal judge, a campaign worker, a child, and three other people.   The statement noted “while we do not know the motives for today’s attack, we do know that it cannot be viewed apart from the climate of violence and the degradation of civil society that are anathema to democracy.”   The statement was quoted by the Associated Press and others.   You can view the article here.  You can view the entire JCPA statement on the shooting here.

“Tucson, Arizona: When Words Kill.” Jewish Philanthropy published an article addressing last weekend’s shooting of Representative Gabrielle Gifford in Arizona. The article cites the “toxic political environment in Arizona” as an example of the “climate of vitriol” whose risks lie “below the surface in this climate of intentional, hate-filled political rhetoric.” The article calls for the Jewish community to “exhort…leaders to speak out for a new civility in our discourse [and] establish a community-level policy of zero tolerance for those who spew hate-filled words and telegraph symbolic images meant to incite hate…” You can view the article here.

Jewish Journal-Boston North Endorses JCPA Statement on Civility. The Jewish Journal-Boston North published an editorial addressing readers’ responses to the Journal’s endorsement of the JCPA’s Statement on Civility last month. Citing some readers’ angry reactions accusing the Journal of not “willing to publish coded rhetoric, slander as expressed in the eye of the beholder, and general attacks on individuals for not holding a ‘politically correct’ position,” the article mandates that “freedom of speech does not imply a willingness to demonize our opponents.” “Civility is merely the willingness to listen when one disagrees [as] an expression of restraint [and] good manners.” You can view the article here.  You can view the Journal’s endorsement of the JCPA’s Statement on Civility here.
This Week in Washington

This Week in Washington.  The Senate is in recess this week.  The House is in session, but in honor of the tragic shooting in Tucson which left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) in critical condition, all votes on major legislation, including the scheduled repeal of the health care reform bill, have been postponed.  The President is in Washington this week where he held a moment of silence this morning for the victims of the shooting.  The Supreme Court is in session and hearing oral arguments.

Tragic Shooting in Arizona.  A gunman attacked a gathering in Tuscon on Saturday, leaving 6 dead and 14 wounded, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.  Doctors say that Representative Giffords, who was the target of the attack, is responsive but remains in intensive care.  The alleged shooter, Jared Lee Loughner was tackled at the scene and has been charged with 5 counts.  His motives are unclear, though he appears to have had a fixation on Rep. Giffords for some time.  Giffords, an active member of the Tucson Jewish community, is a friend of the JCPA, and members of the Washington office joined her for the first day of the 112th Congress last week. 

In a statement released Saturday night, the JCPA called the attack an “attack on American democracy.  The statement can be read here.  On Monday morning, JCPA President Steve Gutow was interviewed on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” program to discuss the shooting and the reaction of the Jewish community.  That interview can be seen here


Jobs. According to a report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on January 7th, the jobless rate last month fell by the largest amount in the past year, leaving the unemployment rate at 9.4% . The jobless rate in November was 9.8%. While the total jobless number is 14.5 million, 103,000 new jobs were created in December.

Still, in Congressional testimony given on Friday the Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said it could take four to five years before the U.S. job market returns to normal. Growth seems to be picking up but experts still point out that employers are not creating enough jobs to handle the large number of unemployed.

COEJL
This Wednesday at 3pm Eastern - Jews in Cancun: Tu B’Shvat Discussion on Post-Cancun Climate-Change Action. What happened at the U.N. summit on climate change and what were the results? And most importantly, what should we do next?  The summit seems to have restored trust in the international process to achieve a fair, ambitious, and legally binding agreement to address climate change.  Progress was made on programs to address adaptation, forest protection, and technology cooperation. But this is clearly not enough. Political change is needed in individual countries to inspire governments to take a stronger stand next year in Durban, South Africa, where the contentious issue of renewal of the Kyoto Protocol must be resolved.

What are the most important issues for Jews to address? And what can we do to mobilize locally, nationally and internationally? Join the conversation with Jewish activists who were in Cancun themselves: David Turnbull, executive director of the U.S. Climate Action Network; Reed Aronow, Midwest Youth Climate Leader; and Dr. Orr Karassin, a Green Zionist Alliance representative on the board of Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael (Jewish National Fund in Israel).

Cosponsored by: The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL), the Green Zionist Alliance, Hazon and the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism.  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. 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 Andi Milens at 212.684.7044 or amilens@thejcpa.org.

We thank you for your generous support!

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