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April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘JCPA’

US Jewish Groups Work to Sign People Up for Health Care

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

American Jewish organizations are going to bat for ObamaCare and are using social media to reach as many people as possible in an effort to convince them to sign up for health care under the Affordable Care Act.

During Tuesday’s Jewish Community Day led by the left-leaning National Council of Jewish Women, or NCJW, Jewish activists reached out to as many people as possible to educate them about the health insurance marketplace.

“Access to affordable and comprehensive healthcare is fundamental for living a long and healthy life, which is why NCJW worked for the passage of the Affordable Care Act and has been focused on its full implementation ever since,” said Nancy Kaufman, CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women

“Our goal for community education is non-partisan and apolitical. Our aim is to make sure that as many people as possible have the opportunity to enroll in affordable healthcare that best suits their individual needs and budget ahead of March 31,” said Kaufman. “I am encouraged by the array of participants in this Day of Action, spanning local and national groups across the country.”

Those participating in the action day were encouraged to host a special Shabbat centered on health care, hold a text study, write about the issue in their newsletters and speak to individuals in an effort to encourage more people to enroll.

Other participating groups included the Religion Action Center for Reform Judaism, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the Rabbinical Assembly, Keshet, the Jewish Labor Committee and Uri L’Tzedek.

Iran’s New Defense Minister Linked to 1983 Marine Barracks Bombing

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

Iran’s newly appointed defense minister, Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan, has links to the 1983 U.S. Marine barracks terrorist attack in Beirut that killed 199 American and French servicemen, says an Israeli think tank.

According to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), Dehghan, who has spent his entire military career in Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, was sent to Lebanon in the early 1980s to help organize and train Shi’a militia units that would become known as Hezbollah. Part of his mission was to establish Iranian control over Hezbollah through the creation of a central command center.

According to JCPA’s Dr. Shimon Shapira, “It was from this headquarters that Iran controlled Hizbullah’s military force and planned, along with Hizbullah, the terror attacks on the Beirut-based Multinational Force and against IDF forces in Lebanon.”

“The order to carry out the attacks was transmitted, and the funding and operational training provided, with the help of the Revolutionary Guard in Lebanon under the command of Hossein Dehghan,” Shapira wrote for JCPA.

Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, has called for direct talks with the United States regarding the Iran nuclear program. But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called such talks a ploy for Iran to continue to enrich uranium.

JCPA: ‘We’re The Voice of American Jews,’ But Many Beg to Differ

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

As we conclude the somber observance of Tish B’Av, the time when so many tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people are recalled, it is perhaps not irrelevant that U.S. secretary of state John Kerry has returned to the Middle East.

Official reports claim Kerry has no plans to visit Israel, but, as Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu reported in The Jewish Press, Kerry met with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas while in Jordan.  It turns out he is also meeting with various Arab leaders who, according to al Jazeera, Kerry believes “are essential to his push to get Israelis and Palestinians to resume peace talks.”  That’s right.  Arab leaders to push – who? Who else, but Israel, to restart the “peace talks.”

Yes, although the entire Middle East is in turmoil, Egypt has just gone through a second revolution, nearly a100,000 have died in Syria’s ongoing civil war, one into which Lebanon is increasingly being drawn, Turkey is nearing the boiling point, Iraq continues to unravel and Iran is approaching nuclear weapons capability, leave it to a group of professional Jewish professionals to sashay into D.C. and tell the relevant congressional committees that now is the time for Kerry to kickstart the Arab-Israeli “peace talks.”  And that’s what happened, just before Kerry left for the Middle East.

The Jewish group making the possibly worst-timed suggestion ever is the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA).

According to its website, the JCPA has a tripartite mission: first, “to safeguard the rights of Jews here and around the world”; second, “to dedicate ourselves to the safety and security of the state of Israel”; and third, “to protect, preserve and promote a just American society, one that is democratic and pluralistic, one that furthers harmonious interreligious, inter ethnic [sic] interracial and other intergroup relations.”

From their mission, you might think that the safety and security of Jews and the Jewish state would be the primary focus of JCPA’s activities.  But you might be wrong, as a quick look at their website makes clear.  The JCPA’s focus is on liberal domestic issues. Israel and Judaism play a minor role.

JCPA CLAIMS TO REPRESENT THE ORGANIZED JEWISH COMMUNITY

Nonetheless, the JCPA can prioritize as it wishes and make whatever suggestions it wants to members of congress.  But when the JCPA leaps over its goal to be something and starts proclaiming it is something, that is when people begin to bristle.

You see, on the JCPA Facebook page, and on its Twitter homepage, it states, with no qualifiers, that “the JCPA is the representative voice of the organized Jewish community.”

That’s news to a whole lot of American Jews who shared their response with The Jewish Press.

Because when the JCPA decided to meet with the House and the Senate foreign relations committees, asserting that the American Jewish community wants Kerry to focus on restarting the peace talks, that claim may have been heard as if it had far more weight than warranted.

Let’s put aside for the moment that when the JCPA went to congress to make its claims, it was double-dating with the American Task Force on Palestine.  That’s something they do a lot.  Again, whatever JCPA does is its own business.

But The Jewish Press asked a broad geographical cross-section of American Jews who are knowledgeable about the Middle East in general and Israel in particular, whether, as the JCPA asserts, it is the “representative voice of the organized Jewish community,” and if it spoke representing them when it went to congress urging the restart of the “peace talks” at this time.

In a word, no.

People in California, Chicago, Florida, Washington, D.C., and New York were asked to comment.  Rabbis, architects, businesspeople, financial wizards, intelligence analysts, and Jewish communal leaders were asked to comment.  They all said no, the JCPA does not represent them.

“They don’t represent me,” said Jeff Ballabon, the president of a New York consulting firm and the founder of the Coordinating Council on Jerusalem, a consortium of two dozen national pro-Israel groups.

“Israel has stated very clearly: there are to be no preconditions for starting the peace talks, so I have to wonder, why are these groups putting pressure on Israel?  I don’t see how any American Jew who cares about Israel’s safety and security would be pushing this now,” Ballabon said.

Contrary to J Street and Media Claims, Former IDF Chief Halutz Is Hawkish on Iran

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Former Israel Defense Force Chief of Staff Dan Halutz is being shepherded around the United States to talk about the international crisis with Iran.  The anti-Netanyahu group J Street is promoting Halutz as critical of Israeli policy and supportive of their position of opposing military action.

But at the first two talks given by Halutz, one of which was attended by a Jewish Press reporter and the other of which can be can be viewed online, it appears that Halutz’s positions are far more complex and nuanced than J Street and their fellow promoters understand.

What is Halutz saying?

On negotiations: “negotiations have failed”;  on diplomacy: “enough Viennese coffee without results”; on sanctions: without the participation of China, Russia and India – all of which have been given exemptions by the US government – the sanctions will take too long to work; and on the issue of “red lines,” the problem isn’t that they are too bellicose, it is that they give the enemy an advantage you don’t want it to have.

On Tuesday, September 11th, Halutz spoke at the Saban Center For Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. On Wednesday evening he spoke at a large suburban Philadelphia Conservative synagogue.  Thursday night the former IDF Chief of Staff spoke at a synagogue in West Chester County, New York, and he is scheduled to speak sometime soon to the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the coordinating body for local Jewish community relations organizations.

Lt. Gen. Halutz is actually making the argument, in an admittedly very circumspect manner, that it is the international community – that is, everyone besides Israel – which is to blame for the current cataclysm precisely because the actions taken thus far are inadequate and it is that failure which may result in Israel, alone, having to take military action against Iran.  And that is a situation no one wants.

Sanctions

According to Halutz, the international response to Iran’s nuclear activity has been inadequate on just about all fronts.  With respect to sanctions, there aren’t enough countries participating and there aren’t enough products on the banned list.  In particular, without China, Russia and India’s full participation in sanctions – all of which received exemptions from the United States — the impact on the Iranian economy has been too small to encourage the regime to cease its path to nuclear weapons.

Halutz told the Brookings audience that despite some reports to the contrary, the sanctions are not really having an impact on the Iranian economy.  “It was just reported,” he said, “that the Iranian currency dropped by 8 percent compared to the dollar.”  The Iranians are “not yet convinced that there is a real cost imposed upon them because their leadership has chosen to move forward on a project which is unacceptable to the world.” Unless they are forced to do that, to choose between “bread or nuclear weapons,” the sanctions will not work.

An additional reason sanctions are not working is because not enough products are involved.  Halutz explained that there need to be many more products, “thousands of them” placed on the sanctions list.  He offered two examples. The Iranian airlines and the Iranian shipping lines are still operating in the world and, if they weren’t, the Iranians would be seriously impacted.   Right now they aren’t.

In other words, sanctions only work if they cause sharp pain.  Right now there’s barely a mild caress.

Diplomacy

Halutz believes that diplomatic efforts must continue, but he is contemptuous of the public versions taking place.  “Enough Viennese coffees,” he said, referring to the rounds of talks that have already taken place, after each one of which the Iranians have refused to cease their nuclear activities.

However, he was quite supportive of one diplomatic effort that he believes, if only more countries would join in, could be fruitful.  The bold shuttering of the Iranian Embassy in Canada by President Stephen Harper is exactly the kind of diplomatic effort that needs to be undertaken, but “others must follow.”  Again, as with sanctions, unless many countries – diplomatically important countries – join in, weak diplomatic energy will bear no fruit.

Red Lines

Publicly, J Street repeatedly states that Halutz is against the drawing of “red lines,” that is, the line in the sand beyond which military action against Iran must be taken.  This is significant because President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu have engaged in a public spat over the US refusal to set red lines.  The Israeli government is claiming that without them, it cannot rely on the United States and Israel will have to take action on its own.  There are commentators who crow that Halutz’s opposition to red lines reveals a reluctance to use force against Iran, and that it is an explicit criticism of the Israeli prime minister.

Mainstream U.S. Jewish Coalition Endorses Palestinian Statehood: Orthodox Union’s Abstention Draws Angry Criticism

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

JERUSALEM – The Jewish Council for Public Affairs, an umbrella group of major mainstream U.S. Jewish organizations, has for the first time endorsed the idea of a Palestinian state.

The decision is generating an angry backlash, most of it directed against the Orthodox Union, which abstained from voting against the resolution that calls for a “two state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The OU is one of the largest and most influential Orthodox Jewish organizations in America. Surveys have consistently shown that American Orthodox Jews overwhelmingly oppose a Palestinian state.

“It is an outrage that Jewish organizations would support a Palestinian state and it’s a shock the OU would abstain,” Mort Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, told The Jewish Press.

“When the Palestinian Authority refuses to arrest terrorists, engages in and glorifies murder against Jews, and puts out maps showing all of Israel is Palestine surrounded by rifles, it becomes clear any Palestinian state will be a terrorist state which will greatly harm Israel,” Klein said.

At a vote last week during its annual meeting in Atlanta, the JCPA resolved that “the organized American Jewish community should affirm its support for two independent, democratic and economically viable states – the Jewish state of Israel and a state of Palestine – living side-by-side in peace and security.”

The resolution recognized American Jewry’s “diverse views about current and future policies of the Israeli government towards settlements,” and blamed the standstill in the peace process on Palestinian intransigence.

The JCPA is a coalition of 14 major national Jewish groups and 125 local Jewish community relations councils. Among the groups represented are such giants

as the American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress, Anti-Defamation League, National Council of B’nai B’rith, Hadassah, the National Conference on Soviet Jewry and Hillel, the largest Jewish university outreach group.

While the other groups all voted in favor of the resolution, the OU has drawn the brunt of public criticism for its abstention. According to a source at the organization, e-mails have been pouring in from outraged Orthodox Jews.

In a widely circulated e-mail, Pesach Aceman, a Canadian immigrant to Israel and a diarist for the BBC website, lambasted the Orthodox group as a “terror supporting organization through your silence.”

Ted Belman, who runs the Israpundit blog, wrote, “To my mind this resolution is very detrimental as it makes it harder for alternates to be forwarded. By endorsing this resolution are the OU and the others saying they support a two state solution regardless if it necessitates the division of Jerusalem?”

In an official clarification, the OU released a statement saying that while it abstained from the final vote endorsing a Palestinian state, the group still managed to insert into the resolution’s text a statement explaining that Israel’s repeated offers to establish a Palestinian state “have been met, time after time, by violence, incitement and terror.”

The organization also successfully vetoed a clause which would have stated that the American Jewish community views the establishment or expansion of Israeli communities in the West Bank as an “impediment to peace.”

Nadia Matar, director of Woman in Green, a nationalist activist group in Israel, wrote in a widely circulated e-mail that the OU’s clarifications are not enough.

“So now,” wrote Matar, “after the OU’s clarification, we ask the one million dollar question: Why is the OU still part of the JCPA? Where is the OU’s outrage?”

Asked by The Jewish Press whether the OU supports a Palestinian state, the organization’s executive vice president, Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, answered “no.” Rabbi Weinreb said his group abstained from the vote rather than vote against the resolution “for procedural reasons.”

David Luchins, an OU officer who represented the organization during the vote, said abstaining “gives the OU more of a platform afterwards to explain to everyone why we abstained from the vote. If we would have just voted ‘no,’ that would have been the end of it.”

Rabbi Pesach Lerner, executive vice president of the National Council of Young Israel, another major Orthodox group representing hundreds of synagogues, said his organization, which is not part of the JCPA, opposes a Palestinian state, as do most Orthodox Jews.

“What two state solution? We just need just to look out the window and see the Kassams and Grad rockets and bullets flying. We need to read the papers and listen to the radio. There is a war going on. Now is the time to discuss defense, to guarantee security to the citizens of Israel,” said Lerner.

“The only solution that we should be thinking of is securityand the ability to live like normal human beings – without the concern of being shot at,” Lerner said.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/mainstream-u-s-jewish-coalition-endorses-palestinian-statehood-orthodox-unions-abstention-draws-angry-criticism/2008/03/05/

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