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 Egypt's Future

Jews and Labor COEJL Bus Tour
Egypt's Future and Israel
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announcing plans not to run for reelection

The future of Egypt is surrounded by more and more uncertainty as protests against President Hosni Mubarak and his government continue and spread throughout the country.  The JCPA has been paying close attention to the developments there with an eye towards the crucial relationship with Israel and her security.  Both the future of Egypt and its relationship with Israel were discussed today on a JCPA/Jewish Federations of North American conference call with former Ambassador to Egypt and Israel, Daniel Kurtzer.  Kurtzer, now a professor at Princeton, shared with the JCPA his insights on turmoil in the Middle East and how this may affect U.S. foreign policy. Despite his unpopularity, said Kurtzer, Mubarak has been a strong supporter of the status quo, especially with Israel.  Less, however, is known about the opposition.  The protests so far have been leaderless, coming about more organically.  Kurtzer did discuss the Muslim Brotherhood and its singular focus on establishing an Islamic state, but he stressed that their tactics are flexible and they have eschewed violence for decades.  

While the makeup of Egypt’s next government cannot be predicted, Kurtzer told those on the JCPA call that Israel’s concerns were legitimate and significant.  When asked if the US would compromise its relationship with Israel for the sake of Egypt, Kurtzer replied that it would be the “height of absurdity” to think that the US would abandon Israel.  The JCPA will continue to speak with policy makers and experts like Kurtzer as this situation develops.

Jews and Labor
The Triangle Waist Factory in New York City
In March 1911, a fire broke out at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City.  Locked doors kept the immigrant workers in while a shoddy fire escape and elevators left the 8th floor windows the only escape from the blaze.  Almost 150 young immigrants died that day and the Triangle Shirtwaist factory became a rallying cry for the international labor movement.  This March, almost exactly one century later, a leading voice in the American labor movement, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, will join the JCPA Plenum to reflect on that pivotal event and the deep engagement of American Jews in the labor movement that spawned from it.  Over the last 100 years, the collaboration between the Jewish Community and the Labor Movement has been integral to important reforms in this country’s working conditions, promoting civic and economic equality. With this unique opportunity to speak with such a prominent American labor figure, attendees at the JCPA Plenum will be given the chance to examine where that relationship should head next.   
COEJL Bus Tour
COEJL's Topsy Turvy Bus
JCPA’s  Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL) is co-sponsoring the Teva Topsy Turvy Jewish Environmental Educational Tour across the Southeast from Purim to Passover this year. The Topsy Turvy bus flips our perceptions of how energy is generated and what we can do as individuals. Powered by vegetable oil collected from restaurants along the way, it is mobile environmental art with worm-composting, human powered bicycle generators, and other tools and messages to help connect your community members to ancient ecological wisdom while discovering creative ways to re-think energy and conservation issues. All this plus information from COEJL and several other Jewish environmental organizations about how to get more involved!

If your JCRC would like to be hooked in, please contact Sybil Sanchez, COEJL Director at ssanchez@coejl.org or 212-684-2513.

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