Plenum 09 Speakers

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Plenum 2009 Speakers

Opening Plenary: New Policy Directions in the Middle East




Sallai Meridor

Sallai Meridor, Israeli Ambassdor to the United States, served as the Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel and the World Zionist Organization from 1999-2005. Prior to this, Mr. Meridor served as the Treasurer of the Jewish Agency and WZO and as the Head of the Settlement Division of the WZO.

Prior to his work with the Jewish agency, Mr. Meridor served as an advisor to the Minister of Defense and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel. In his governmental service, he was involved in the designing of Israel's foreign and defense policies, played a role in the peace process leading to the Madrid Peace Conference, participated in the negotiations that followed as the representative of the Ministry of Defense, and led Israel's Inter-Agency Steering Committee on Arms Control.

Ambassador Martin Indyk Ambassador Martin Indyk served two tours in Israel, the first during the Rabin years (1995-97), and the second (2000-June 2001) during efforts to achieve a comprehensive peace and stem the violence of the intifadah. Prior to his first assignment in Israel, Dr. Indyk served as special assistant to President Clinton and as senior director of Near East and South Asian Affairs at the National Security Council (NSC). While at the NSC, he served as principal adviser to the president and the National Security Adviser on Arab-Israeli issues, Iraq, Iran and South Asia. He was a senior member of Secretary Christopher's Middle East peace team and served as the White House representative on the U.S.-Israel Science and Technology Commission. In the second Clinton Administration, he was appointed Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, responsible for Middle East policy under Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Plenary Session: The Economic Crisis at home and Abroad

Rev. David Beckmann Rev. David Beckmann is one of the foremost U.S. advocates for hungry people. He has been president of Bread for the World for 15 years, leading large-scale and successful campaigning to strengthen U.S. political commitment to overcoming hunger and poverty. Before that, he served at the World Bank for 15 years, overseeing large projects and driving innovations to make the Bank more effective in reducing poverty. Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation's decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad. Bread for the World members write personal letters and emails and hold meetings with their members of Congress. Working through churches, campuses, and other organizations, Bread members engage more people in advocacy. It is one of the largest organizations in the world dedicated to building the political will to end hunger.
Robert Greenstein

Robert Greenstein is the founder and Executive Director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. He is considered an expert on the federal budget and a range of domestic policy issues including low-income assistance programs, various aspects of tax policy, and Social Security.

He has written numerous reports, analyses, op-ed pieces, and magazine articles on budget- and poverty-related issues. He appears on national television news and public affairs programs and is frequently asked to testify on Capitol Hill.

In 2008, Greenstein received both the Heinz Award for Public Policy in recognition of his work to “improve the economic outlook of many of America’s poorer citizens,” and the John W. Gardner Award from Independent Sector for playing “a defining role in how people think about critical budget and tax policies.” In 1996, Greenstein was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. The MacArthur Foundation cited Greenstein for making "the Center a model for a non-partisan research and policy organization."

Susie Turnbull to Accept JCPA Chair's Tikkun Olam Award

This year, the 2009 JCPA Plenum will honor Susan Turnbull with the 2009 Chair's award. 

Ms. Turnbull serves as an instrumental adviser on a number of key programs and initiatives. She is also considered by her esteemed peers as an expert in women's outreach, Jewish outreach, and many other areas of political strategy.  She works on behalf of the Jewish and Women's communities and is also a regular commentator on FoxNews and MSNBC. She is also on the Board of Directors for the Jewish Social Service Agency, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Jewish Women International, and Women Impacting Public Policy.

Plenary Session: The Scales of Justice, Protecting Liberty and National Security

Eric Holder

Eric Holder Jr. was named by President Clinton to be the Deputy Attorney General in 1997, the first African-American named to that post. Prior to that, he served as U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. In 1988, Mr. Holder was nominated by President Reagan to become an Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

While in law school, he clerked at the N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense Fund and the Department of Justice's Criminal Division. Upon graduating, he moved to Washington and joined the Department of Justice as part of the Attorney General's Honors Program. He was assigned to the newly formed Public Integrity Section in 1976 and was tasked to investigate and prosecute official corruption on the local, state and federal levels.

Plenary Session: Pursuing Justice: Fixing our Broken Criminal System

Douglas Gansler Douglas Gansler, Maryland Attorney General, has focused on environmental, public safety, and consumer issues. In terms of the environment, Mr. Gansler participated in reaching the largest air pollution settlement in the history of the United States, a $4.6 billion settlement with an Ohio River Valley company, American Electric Power. In public safety, Mr. Gansler established the first Attorney General Gang Prosecution Unit, created a statewide internet safety
initiative focused on school-aged children, and joined other attorneys general in targeting sexual predators on social networking websites. He also co-chairs the statewide Human Trafficking Task Force. Mr. Gansler has protected Marylanders from fraud and deception, helped to ensure the honesty and integrity of the marketplace, and provided millions of dollars in monetary relief to Maryland consumers who were victims of illegal practices.
Wade Henderson
Wade Henderson is the president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR); and counselor to the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund (LCCREF).  The LCCR is the nation’s premier civil and human rights coalition. Mr. Henderson is well known for his expertise on a wide range of civil rights, civil liberties, and human rights issues.  He works principally in the areas of civil rights enforcement; voting rights; public education reform; fair housing policy; immigration policy reform; media and telecommunications policy; economic and political empowerment for people of color, women, persons with disabilities, and the poor.  Under his leadership, the LCCR has become one of the nation’s most effective defenders of federal affirmative action policy and one of the strongest advocates for passage of the Hate Crimes Prevention

Plenuary Session/ Chernin Award: Safeguarding Liberty: Constitutional Rights During Calm and Conflict

Lawrence Tribe Laurence Tribe was born a Jewish refugee living in Shanghai before moving to the United States with his parents as a child. Now, he is an American constitutional scholar and the Carl M. Loeb University Professor at the Harvard Law School. In 2001 Tribe helped found the American Constitution Society and was long considered a possible Supreme Court nominee. Tribe received his A.B. in math from Harvard in 1962, and graduated from Harvard Law School in 1966. He clerked for Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart from 1967-1968 and became an Assistant Professor of Law at Harvard in 1968, where has taught ever since. Tribe has argued over thirty cases before the Court, including the infamous Bush v. Gore in 2000, and is the author of Abortion: The Clash of Absolutes, American Constitutional Law, and co-author of On Reading the Constitution (with Michael Dorf). Click here to view his biography/ career highlights from the Harvard Law School website.

Forum: U.S. Relations with the Muslim World

Tom Dine

Tom Dine is currently senior policy advisor at Israel Policy Forum (IPF), assisting with policy, programming and development decision-making in the Washington office. Mr. Dine served as chief executive officer of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, as president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Prague, and as Assistant Administrator for Europe and the New Independent States of Eurasia at USAID. Most notably, he was the executive director of AIPAC from 1980-1993.

He was a Senior Analyst for the United States Senate Special Committee on National Emergencies and Delegated Powers in 1973-1974. Following this, he worked for the Senate Budget Committee in 1975-1978. In 1979-1980, he was an advisor to Senator Edmund Muskie on nuclear weapons policy and the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks, and a defense and foreign policy advisor to Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

He came to prominence as Executive Director of AIPAC in 1980-1993. In 1993-1997, he worked for U.S. Agency for International Development, as the Assistant Administrator for Europe and the New Independent States (NIS). Subsequently, based in Prague, he was the longest-serving director of Radio Free Europe, a post he left in November 2005 to become Chief Executive Officer of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco.

Michael Ledeen

Dr. Michael Ledeen is the Freedom Scholar at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He is also a contributing editor at National Review Online. Previously, he served as a consultant to the National Security Council, the State Department, and the Defense Department.  He has also served as a special adviser to the Secretary of State. He holds a Ph.D. in modern European history and philosophy from the University of Wisconsin, and has taught at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Rome.

He is author of more than 20 books, the most recent include: The War Against the Terror Masters;  The Iranian Time Bomb; Machiavelli on Modern Leadership: Why Machiavelli's Iron Rules Are As Timely and Important Today As Five Centuries Ago, Tocqueville on American Character: Why Tocqueville's Brilliant Exploration of the American Spirit Is As Vital and Important Today As It Was Nearly Two Hundred Years Ago; and, Freedom Betrayed: How America Led a Global Democratic Revolution, Won the Cold War, and Walked Away.  His forthcoming book (Spring, 2009, St. Martin's Press) is Accomplice to Evil;  Iran and the War Against the West.

Forum: New Administration: New Strategies for Peace Process Advocacy

Jeremy Ben-Ami
Jeremy Ben-Ami is Executive Director of J Street and JStreetPAC, the political voice of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement.

He has nearly twenty-five years of experience in government, politics and communications, in the United States and internationally, including numerous political campaigns. In 2003-4, he was Policy Director for Howard Dean’s presidential campaign in 2001, he was one of the managers of Mark Green’s Mayoral campaign in New York City; and, from 1992 through 1996, he worked for former President Bill Clinton, serving for two years as the President’s Deputy Domestic Policy Advisor.

Ben-Ami has also been actively involved in Israeli politics and communications. In 1998, he started a consulting firm in Israel which worked with Israeli non-profit organizations and politicians. He also has served as Director of Communications and Regional Director in New York for the New Israel Fund, a foundation supporting civil rights, social justice and religious pluralism in Israel and is on the Board of Americans for Peace Now.

Ken Jacobson

Kenneth Jacobson, Deputy National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, is responsible for overseeing and coordinating the formulation of policy and its implementation.

As the Director of the International Affairs he monitored and analyzed events affecting Jews in the Middle East, Europe and Latin America, and oversaw the ADL Jerusalem  Office, which assesses first-hand issues surrounding the Arab-Israeli conflict, as well the League's presence in Vienna and Moscow.

Mr. Jacobson is the author of numerous publications, including The Protocols: Myth and History; The Middle East: Questions and Answers; The Middle East "Post" Lebanon, and  U.S. Aid to the Middle East: A Look Back, A Look Ahead.  His articles have appeared in such prestigious publications as The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, and Newsday.  He is also author of the annual article on U.S.-Israel Relations in The American Jewish Yearbook.  He has spoken before a variety of audiences and media outlets, not only in the United States, but in Russia, Germany, Israel and South Africa.

Sarah Stern

Sarah Stern has had a rather lengthy history of advocacy for the state of Israel and the Jewish people. Sarah was hired by the Zionist Organization of America to be their National Policy Coordinator, (from 1998 through 2004). After that, she became the Director of the Office of Legislative and Governmental Affairs of the American Jewish Congress, (from 2004 through April of 2006). Sarah had played a major role in the drafting and passage of many pieces of legislation, including the Syria Accountability Act, the Koby Mandell Act, and the resolution in support of Israel's right to build a security fence, and the inappropriateness of the referral to the International Court of Justice in the Hague. 

Sarah has subsequently been appointed as a Commissioner for the US Commission on Civil Rights representing the state of Maryland. Sarah's effort in the drafting , lobbying for, and passage of the Koby Mandell Act has resulted in the opening of an Office for the American Victims of Terrorism abroad, in the Department of Justice.

Forum: Genocide: Can We Make "Never Again" More Than a Slogan?

Jerry Fowler Jerry Fowler is a recognized authority on the problem of responding to genocide and related crimes against humanity - was selected to serve as president of the Save Darfur Coalition in January 2008. In this role, Fowler leads the multi-million dollar advocacy organization and its staff of 30 professional organizers, policy advisors and communications specialists. Additionally, he will be charged with increasing coordination of joint Darfur advocacy efforts among the coalition's more than 180 member organizations. Fowler will also direct communications with more than one million Darfur activists, more than one thousand community coalitions, and joint efforts within a strong global movement in 50 different countries.
Prior to his role at the coalition, Fowler served as the founding director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's Committee on Conscience. Under his guidance, the museum's genocide prevention efforts attained worldwide prominence. His publications include "Out of that Darkness: Preventing Genocide in the 21st Century," in Century of Genocide: Eyewitness Accounts and Critical Views (Routledge, 2004). He also directed the short film A Good Man in Hell: General Romeo Dallaire and the Rwanda Genocide.
Roberta Cohen

Roberta Cohen, a specialist in human rights and humanitarian issues and a leading expert on the subject of internally displaced persons, is a Non-Resident Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies program of the Brookings Institution, a Senior Adviser to the Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, a Senior Associate at Georgetown University's Institute for the Study of International Migration, and a Senior Adviser to the Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement, which she co-founded and co-directed for more than a decade (1994-2007).

Cohen has published about 100 articles on human rights and humanitarian issues in leading journals (such as American University International Law Review, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Foreign Affairs, Forced Migration Review, Human Rights Quarterly, Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, Global Governance, Harvard International Review, International Journal of Refugee Law, International Studies Perspectives, Journal of Refugee Studies, Virginia Journal of International Law, UN Chronicle) as well as opeds in major newspapers (including the New York Times, Washington Post and International Herald Tribune). Some of her articles have focused on particular crises such as Afghanistan, Darfur, Iraq, Kosovo and North Korea. In 2002, she won the DACOR (Diplomatic and Consular Officers, Retired -- State Department) Fiftieth Anniversary Award for Exemplary Writing on Foreign Affairs and Diplomacy.

Forum: Muslim/ Jewish Relations

Imam Magid

Imam Mohamed Magid currently serves as the Vice President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and serves as a member of the National Interfaith Planning Committee for Domestic Violence, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Muslim, Sikh and Arab Advisory Board. Very active in both the interfaith and Islamic community, Imam Magid is the Imam and Executive Director of All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center in Sterling, Virginia.  Under his direction, the Center has grown to be one of the largest Muslim community organizations in the Washington Metropolitan Area,  He also occupies the Chairmanship of the Fairfax County Faith Communities in Action, is a Board member of the Fairfax County Partnership for Youth, and a member of the George Mason University Campus Ministry. 

In May 2006, Fairfax County Human Rights Commission awarded Imam Magid with their Human Rights Award.  A Sudanese-born American, Imam Magid is the son of the Grand Mufti of Sudan.  At the hand of his father and other notable scholars, Imam Magid studied and graduated in traditional Islamic disciplines, including 'Shariah' (Islamic Jurisprudence) and Islamic Spirituality.

Jack Moline

Rabbi Jack Moline is past Chair of the Board of The Interfaith Alliance, Vice-president of the Washington-Baltimore Rabbinical Assembly, and a Secretary of the Faith and Politics Institute.  He serves on the advisory boards of Clergy Beyond Borders and Operation Understanding DC.  He has served as President of the Washington Board of Rabbis and is past chair of the Alexandria Interfaith Association.  He was formerly co-chair of the Social Action Committee of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, and the Social Action Committee of the Rabbinical Assembly.  Rabbi Moline is an adjunct faculty member of the Virginia Theological Seminary, and has served on the Program Board of the Cathedral College of the Washington National (Episcopal) Cathedral.

Rabbi Moline has authored two books and has contributed to many publications, both print and web-based.  He is a popular speaker, featured at sessions at the Brandeis Bardin Institute, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, United Jewish Community, the Democratic National Convention, on radio and television broadcasts and in synagogues and Jewish Community Centers across the United States and Canada.  In 2008, Newsweek Magazine named him the third-best pulpit rabbi in the United States

Rabbi Michael Paley is the scholar in residence and director of the Jewish Resource Center of the UJA-Federation of New York. He is an adjunct professor at the Columbia School of Journalism. Prior to his arrival at UJA, he was a professor of Jewish Studies and dean at Bard College and the vice president of the Wexner Heritage Foundation, where he remains a member of the permanent faculty. For many years, Rabbi Paley served as the university chaplain at Columbia University. Rabbi Paley was the founder and first director of the Edgar M. Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel, a program that brings together outstanding students from diverse Jewish backgrounds. He also served as the Jewish chaplain at Dartmouth College. Rabbi Paley earned his bachelor's degree at Brandeis and graduate degrees in Jewish and Islamic Philosophy and Science at Temple University.

Forum: The Economic Crisis and the Jewish Community

William Rapfogel William E. Rapfogel is a lifelong New Yorker and has been Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty since 1992. Mr. Rapfogel’s advocacy has won praise and recognition at national, state and city levels, including personal contributions from the President and First Lady for the past 5 years.

Prior to joining Met Council, Mr. Rapfogel served as Executive Director of the Public Policy and Advocacy Institute for Public Affairs of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America. He also served as Executive Director of the American Jewish Congress, Metropolitan Region. Mr. Rapfogel spent several years as Assistant New York City Comptroller under Harrison J. Goldin, and three years in the administration of Mayor Edward I. Koch. A graduate of Brooklyn College and the Columbia University Graduate Institute for Non-Profit Management, he serves on the board of the New York City Primary Care Development Corporation, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Kingsborough Community College Foundation, and as Vice Chairman of Senior Health Partners. He was recently appointed to the New York State Food Policy Council.

Mark Charendoff Mark Charendoff is the former Vice President of the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies where he helped to establish the Birthright Israel program. He previously served as Director of Jewish Educational Services for the JCC Association of North America. He serves on the Board of The New York Jewish Week, The Jewish Home for the Aged at Rockleigh, the Jewish Communal Service Association of North America and on the Advisory Board of the Washington Institute for Leadership and Values. He is the recipient of the Reisman award for Professional Excellence from Brandies University.

Forum: Immigration

Gideon Aaronoff Gideon Aronoff is president and CEO of HIAS, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. For more than a century, HIAS, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, has had an extraordinary impact on millions of Jews. For generation after generation, HIAS has provided essential lifesaving services to world Jewry, through its mission of rescue, reunion and resettlement. As an expression of Jewish tradition and values, HIAS also responds to the migration needs of other people who are threatened and oppressed. Started in New York City by a group of Jewish immigrants who found sanctuary in the United States after fleeing persecution in Europe, HIAS offered food, shelter and other aid to countless new arrivals. Since its founding in 1881, HIAS has assisted more than four and a half million people in their quest for freedom.

Israel, World Jewry and International Human Rights Task Force Meeting

David Makovsky is a senior fellow and director of The Washington Institute's Project on the Middle East Peace Process. He is also an adjunct lecturer in Middle Eastern studies at Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Mr. Makovsky is most recently the author, with Jeffrey White, of the Washington Institute Policy Focus Lessons and Implications of the Israel-Hizballah War: A Preliminary Assessment (The Washington Institute, 2006). Mr. Makovsky is also the author of the Institute Policy Focus Olmert’s Unilateral Option: An Early Assessment (The Washington Institute, 2006). He also contributed a chapter to the Institute Policy Focus Hamas Triumphant (The Washington Institute, 2006). His other publications include the Institute study Engagement Through Disengagement: Gaza and the Potential for Israeli-Palestinian Peacemaking (The Washington Institute, 2005); A Defensible Fence: Fighting Terror and Enabling a Two State Solution (The Washington Institute, 2004), which focuses on Israel's security barrier and its relationship to demography and geography in the West Bank; Making Peace with the PLO: The Rabin Government's Road to the Oslo Accord (Washington Institute/Westview Press/HarperCollins, 1996); and contributed to a history of U.S. involvement in the first Gulf war, Triumph without Victory (Random House, 1992).

Prof Yoram Peri is the Head of the Rothschild Caesarea School of Communication, and the head of Chaim Herzog Institute for Media, Politics and Society and professor of Political Sociology and Communication in the department of communication at Tel Aviv University. A former political advisor to the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and former Editor-in-chief of the Israeli daily, Davar. Prof. Peri published extensively on Israeli society, media and politics. Among his publications are The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin (Stanford University Press) and Between Battles and Ballots: Israel Military in Politics, published by Cambridge University Press. His book Telepopulism: Media and Politics in Israel was published by Stanford University Press in 2004, and in October 2005 he published his latest book (in Hebrew) Brothers at War: Rabin's Assassination and the Cultural war in Israel. For this book he was granted the 2006 award by the Presidents and Prime Ministers memorial council. His latest book, Generals in the Cabinet Room: How the Military Shapes Israeli Policy, was published in May 2006 by the United States Institute of Peace. The book has been selected as an outstanding book and as one of the best of the best by the Association of American University Press, in 2007.
Eric Shockman
H. Eric Schockman, Ph.D. is the president of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, a position he has held since January 2001. Established in 1985, MAZON is a national nonprofit organization that allocates donations from the Jewish community to prevent and alleviate hunger among people of all faiths and backgrounds.

A public policy expert and an authority on hunger and poverty issues, Dr. Schockman previously served as Associate Dean/Associate Professor of Political Science for the University of Southern California. He was also a top consultant to the California State Assembly and the Los Angeles City Council. Dr. Schockman presently serves as Chair of the National Anti-Hunger Organizations (NAHO), an alliance of all major national anti-hunger organizations in the United States. Additionally, Dr. Schockman is a Member of both the National Interfaith Hunger Director's Committee and the Alliance To End Hunger. He was recently elected to the founding board of directors for the newly launched Global FoodBanking Network. He currently sits on the California Postsecondary Education Commission, an appointment made by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Appointed by California State Assembly Speaker Emeritus Antonio Villaraigosa, Eric has also served on the Little Hoover Commission, a bipartisan, independent body whose function is to promote efficiency, effectiveness and economy in state programs. He served in the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone, West Africa, teaching agricultural and sustainable development.