August 21, 2009
1 Elul 5769
This is a weekly e-mail to enable the leadership of the Dallas Jewish community to stay well informed on current agenda items and issues of the Federation's Jewish Community Relations Council. Please feel free to pass this e-mail on to your constituency and associates.
The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas is the central umbrella organization for public affairs that brings together Jewish organizations and religious institutions in Dallas
Remember to visit the JCRC at www.jcrcdallas.org.
AUGUST 25, 2009
HEALTHY WOMEN, HEALTHY FAMILIES FORUM
6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Center for Community Cooperation
2900 Live Oak Street Dallas, TX
Healthy Women, Healthy Families Project Coordinator Katie Mahoney will give a sneak peak at the most recent results of this statewide survey and story-sharing project, and featured speaker Dr. Lauren McDonald (Chair of the Parkland Hospital Board of Directors) will speak about women’s health issues in North Texas. Local health, social justice, and grassroots organizations will have information tables to help you learn more about how to get involved on the local and statewide level. You will also have the opportunity to learn more about the Healthy Women, Healthy Families Project and share your own story about health challenges you face. Refreshments will be provided.
For more information, please contact Katie Mahoney, Project Coordinator, at (512) 462-1661 or Katie@prochoicetexas.org.
REMARKS BY PRESIDENT OBAMA AND PRESIDENT MUBARAK OF EGYPT
The following is a portion of the remarks given by President Barack Obama and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on August 18, 2009 at a press briefing during President Mubarak’s trip to the United States. While Egyptian President Mubarak was in Washington, D.C. he met with American Jewish leaders including: Martin Raffel, Senior Vice President of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), and three JCPA officers. Among the items discussed were: Gilad Shalit, Iran, Egypt and the Middle East peace process, terrorism in the Middle East and extremism in the Middle East. To read the complete remarks, click on the title above.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, let me, on behalf of the American people and my administration, welcome President Mubarak for his first visit since I've taken office. I want to publicly thank him for the extraordinary hospitality that he showed us when I traveled to Egypt and delivered my speech at Cairo University. It was an extraordinary visit, not only because of the great welcome that I received from the President and the college students who were in attendance, but also having an opportunity to visit the pyramids was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me.
The United States and Egypt have worked together closely for many years, and for many of those years President Mubarak has been a leader and a counselor and a friend to the United States. We obviously have a lot of great challenges that have to be dealt with and we are continuing to work together to find those areas where we can find common ground and to work in concert to bring peace and security to the region.
PRESIDENT MUBARAK: (As translated.) First of all, this is the third time that I meet with President Obama. The first time was in Cairo, when he came to give his address. It was a very strong address and it removed all doubts about the United States and the Muslim world. The importance of the Cairo visit was very appreciated by the Muslim and Islamic world because the Islamic world had thought that the U.S. was against Islam, but his great, fantastic address there has removed all those doubts.
That was the first time. Now, the second time where we met was in Italy during the G15 summit. We didn't have much time to go in depth into discussions, but we did have some quick discussion.
MUBARAK COMES TO WASHINGTON
Below is a portion of a policy analysis written by David Schenker and J. Scott Carpenter for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy on August 12, 2009 about the potential for the recent visit of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and what it could mean to US-Egypt relations. To read the entire policy analysis, click on the title above.
On August 18, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak travels to Washington for a White House meeting with President Barack Obama. The trip -- Mubarak's first visit to the United States in six years -- marks the culmination of a six-month effort by the Obama administration to hit the reset button with Cairo. After years of tension resulting from the last administration's focus on human rights and democratic development, the traditional U.S.-Egyptian bilateral "bargain" has been effectively restored. In exchange for cooperation on key mutual interests -- the peace process and the Iranian threat --Washington appears to have shelved longstanding concerns over internal Egyptian governance. While the new dynamic may help mitigate some regional crises, the political and economic challenges Cairo faces will not age well, particularly as the state enters its first period of leadership transition in twenty-eight years.
After the September 11 attacks, the George W. Bush administration sought to fundamentally alter its strategic partnerships in the region, beginning with Egypt. As then secretary of state Condoleezza Rice said during her 2005 Cairo speech, "For sixty years, the United States pursued stability at the expense of democracy in this region . . . and we achieved neither." While the administration expected -- and received -- continued cooperation on issues of mutual national security interest, a greater emphasis was placed on a broad range of reform efforts. In back-to-back State of the Union addresses in 2005 and 2006, President Bush called on President Mubarak to "show the way toward democracy in the Middle East."
WORLD SUMMIT ON TERRORISM'S GLOBAL IMPACT TO BE HELD IN ISRAEL
The following is a news release that was published on ISRAEL21c.org on August 16, 2009 announcing that the flagship annual gathering of the international counter-terrorism community will be hosted for the ninth time by the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) in Herzliya, Israel.
The flagship annual gathering of the international counter-terrorism community will be hosted for the ninth time by the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) in Herzliya, Israel, on September 7-10, 2009.
More than 1,100 top decision-makers, defense, intelligence and police officials, prominent academic scholars and security industry leaders from 53 countries took part in last year's conference. Hundreds of new participants from around the globe are expected to join them this year for three intensive days of professional lectures, workshops and discussions, scheduled to coincide with, and commemorate, the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.
At the ICT conference counter-terrorism experts, security professionals and leading academic scholars from around the world are able to network, establish essential cooperation mechanisms and exchange views on best practices.
Participants in the conference have the chance to broaden their understanding from an interdisciplinary viewpoint and learn from fellow government agencies, research institutes and industries about real-world challenges posed by modern and post-modern terrorist organizations.
DEMILITARIZATION IS NOT FEASIBLE
Below is a portion of an Op-Ed written by Gabriel Siboni that was published in Haaretz Newspaper on August 12, 2009 about how she thinks calls for international recognition of demilitarization are no longer relevant. To read the entire Op-Ed, click on the title above.
Speaking at the conclusion of a course for senior officers at the National Defense College last month, the prime minister spoke of the importance of demilitarizing a future Palestinian state and stated that no one was interested in having a repeat there of what happened in the Gaza Strip and southern Lebanon.
He also stressed the need for international recognition of demilitarization. And in general, in the political-security discourse with the international community, terms such as demilitarization, defensible borders, security arrangements, international guarantees and defense umbrellas keep coming up.
However, these terms were applicable to the threats of the past. Today they are no longer relevant and it could be dangerous to rely on them. Egypt is a country with reasonable central authority and Israel could rely on security mechanisms of this kind in a peace agreement with it. The security mechanisms that were formulated in the talks between the Barak government and Syria were likewise characterized by a similar approach.
SOCIAL ACTION/PUBLIC POLICY
WHY WE NEED HEALTH CARE REFORM
On August 15, 2009, The New York Times published an Op-Ed by President Barack Obama about why he thinks the United States needs healthcare reform and his plan to achieve it. A portion of the Op-Ed can be found below. To read it in its entirety, click on the title above.
Our nation is now engaged in a great debate about the future of health care in America. And over the past few weeks, much of the media attention has been focused on the loudest voices. What we haven’t heard are the voices of the millions upon millions of Americans who quietly struggle every day with a system that often works better for the health-insurance companies than it does for them.
I hear more and more stories like these every single day, and it is why we are acting so urgently to pass health-insurance reform this year. I don’t have to explain to the nearly 46 million Americans who don’t have health insurance how important this is. But it’s just as important for Americans who do have health insurance.
There are four main ways the reform we’re proposing will provide more stability and security to every American.
First, if you don’t have health insurance, you will have a choice of high-quality, affordable coverage for yourself and your family — coverage that will stay with you whether you move, change your job or lose your job.
LINING UP FOR HELP
The following is a portion of an Editorial that appeared in The New York Times on August 15, 2009 about what proposed health care legislation in Congress can do to fill health care gaps around the country. To read the entire Editorial, click on the title above.
We’ve been so caught up in dissecting the technical arguments over health care reform that it is easy to lose sight of the human dimensions of the crisis.
That was impossible last week when we saw pictures of thousands of people waiting stoically outside an improvised clinic in Inglewood, Calif., near Los Angeles. It looked as if it was happening in an underdeveloped country, where villagers might assemble days in advance for care from a visiting medical mission. But it was happening in a major American metropolitan area. This vast, palpable need for help is a shameful indictment of our health care system — one that politicians opposed to reform insist is the world’s best.
Health care reforms under consideration in Congress could make big strides toward filling the gaps: by offering less costly insurance on new exchanges; by expanding Medicaid to cover more poor people and reaching out more vigorously to enroll them; by subsidizing coverage for low-income people; by helping increase the supply of primary care doctors; by requiring insurers to offer essential benefits and preventing them from denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions.
TEXAS' FUTURE HINGES ON CLOSING EDUCATION GAP
Below is a portion of an Op-Ed that was written by State Senator Eliot Shapleigh that was published in the Austin American-Statesman on August 17, 2009 about how he feels the future of Texas depends on our ability to educate the next generation, in particular, Hispanic children. To read the entire Op-Ed, click on the title above.
When Steve Murdock, Texas' former state demographer, left to head the U.S. Census Bureau, he left behind an honest — and startling — picture of Texas' future:
"If the current relationships between minority status and educational attainment, occupations of employment, and wage and salary income do not change in the future from those existing in 1990, the future workforce of Texas will be less educated, more likely to be employed in lower-level state occupations and earning lower wages and salaries than the present workforce."
Such a dramatic change, Murdock predicts, will result in the average household income dropping over $4,700 from 2010 to 2040. If so, for the first time in Texas history, the generation of tomorrow will be less prosperous than the generation of today.
Gov. Rick Perry, unfortunately, appears to be treating Murdock's prophesy as a blueprint rather than a warning.
CLIMATE CHANGE HAS SOME TEXAS ANIMALS FLEEING THE TEXAS HEAT
The following is a portion of an article written by Anna M. Tinsley that was published in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on August 15, 2009 about how climate change has affected Texas’ native animals. To read the entire article, click on the title above.
As the hot days in Texas get even hotter, it may just be too much for some birds and fish.
From the American goldfinch to the gray snapper, some species have been moving north for years, searching for cooler ground.
And their quest may someday lead them to migrate out of the state — forever — especially if climate change continues to make Texas warmer, as predicted.
"The simple fact is, species may be migrating, shifting, because of climate changes," said Ted Hollingsworth, land conservation director for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. "If we want to preserve those, keep them in Texas, we need to be thinking ahead."
SPECIAL SECTION: THE IRAN REPORT
September 2007, the JCRC began a special section entitled “The Iran Report”. Due to the looming serious nature of Iran and its politics within the global world, JCRCs across the country are providing community leaders with updated materials and articles concerning Iran, which will include political matters, divestment information, etc. Both the United Jewish Communities (UJC) and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) have issued joint statements indicating that the subject of Iran should be on the top of the agenda for local Jewish communities.
The JCRC will continue to bring the community updates on the situation with Iran and its implications throughout the Middle East and the world.
JCPA RESOLUTION ON IRAN’S NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM
Adopted by the Board of Directors of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) on March 27, 2007.
INCURSION INTO IRAN
Below is a portion of an Editorial that was published in The Washington Times on August 19, 2009 about how Tehran is scapegoating Michael Ledeen. Mr. Ledeen is a chair at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and has been quoted saying “support for those Iranians who wish to be free" would most likely work in ending the clerical government. To read the entire Editorial, click on the title above.
The civil unrest in Iran is being directed by a secret cabal of intellectuals in the United States, or so the Islamic regime would like the world to believe.
Defendants in the show trials under way in Tehran are being given the third degree over their links to foreign masterminds. The chief prosecutor is asking defendants questions such as, "Were you sent by Michael Ledeen? What did Michael Ledeen tell you to do?" Another was told flat out, "You are an agent of Michael Ledeen!" The universal response has been, "Michael who?"
"You have to understand - these are crazy people," Mr. Ledeen told The Washington Times yesterday. He is the Freedom Scholar at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a former consultant to the National Security Council, the State Department and the Defense Department. He has published widely on Iranian matters, and his tag line "faster, please" -- referring to the need to accelerate the pace of change in Iran -- is well-known among those who follow the issue closely. Mr. Ledeen is one of three public intellectuals implicated by the Iranians, the others being Ambassador Mark Palmer and political science professor Abbas Milani at Stanford University. Why these three? "I have no idea," Mr. Ledeen said. "We mostly agree on the issues, but we've never worked as a group."
SMART SANCTIONS CAN WORK AGAINST IRAN
The following is a portion of an Op-Ed written by Michael Jacobson and Mark Dubowitz for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy that was published in The Wall Street Journal on August 13, 2009 about why Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and his junta must now be persuaded that their pursuit of nuclear weapons will be unbearably costly. Mr. Jacobson is a senior fellow in The Washington Institute's Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. Mr. Dubowitz is the executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. To read the Op-Ed, click on the title above.
After a fraudulent election and its brutal aftermath, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and his junta must now be persuaded that their pursuit of nuclear weapons will be unbearably costly.
The Obama administration appears poised to implement what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called "crippling sanctions" if Iran fails to come to the negotiating table. Sens. Evan Bayh, Joe Lieberman and Jon Kyl, and Howard Berman in the House, have developed sanctions legislation targeting Iran's economic Achilles' heel -- the regime's dependence on foreign gasoline imports for up to 40% of its domestic needs. The bill would provide the president with the authority to sanction foreign companies involved in selling refined petroleum to Iran, including insurance and reinsurance companies. With the administration's approval, it would be quickly passed and signed into law.
Existing Treasury Department efforts to persuade financial institutions to stop their Iranian business offer the model. Treasury leverages what bankers, insurers and energy traders all understand -- the price of risk.
ENGAGING IRAN ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Below is a portion of an Editorial written by Alexander Benard that was published in The Wall Street Journal on August 16, 2009 about why the Obama Administration should engage Iran in negotiations on human rights. To read the entire Op-Ed, click on the title above.
With Mahmoud Ahmadinejad now inaugurated for another four-year term, President Barack Obama is surely tempted to go back to seeking negotiations with Iran about its nuclear program. But these negotiations will not yield results and will only strengthen Ahmadinejad's hold on power. Instead, the United States should try a radically different policy: It should propose a conversation with Iran about human rights.
Since the rigged presidential election, Tehran has continued its ruthless crackdown on political dissent. The regime initiated mass trials against more than 100 people associated with the post-election protests. Convictions would carry a death sentence.
Other members of the opposition have already been imprisoned, tortured and forced to provide false confessions that they were acting as foreign spies. All of this comes on the heels of the violent suppression of the massive protests that left at least 26 people dead.
In this context, negotiations about Iran's nuclear program would not only be inappropriate, they would also be counterproductive. Events in the last few months have revealed serious fault lines in Iran—both within the regime, as well as between the regime and the opposition. Nuclear talks would allow Ahmadinejad to divert attention away from these fault lines and the grievances that caused them. The Iranian people, proud and patriotic as they are, would in large part rally behind Ahmadinejad as he defends Iran's right to nuclear power and weapons—a right in which even many Iranian moderates believe.
CRISIS IN DARFUR
February 2009 marked the sixth anniversary of the beginning of the violence in Darfur, Sudan. For six years a government-backed militia known as Janjaweed (which in Arabic means, “evil men on horseback”) has continued to engage in a systematic program of expulsion, rape and murderous violence in Darfur, Sudan. Millions of people now live in displacement camps lacking adequate food, water, shelter, healthcare, and sanitation. Attacks on \civilians continue. As Jews, we have a particular moral responsibility to speak out and take action against genocide.
The JCRC remains committed in its fight to end this battle and will continue to bring you facts and articles about this ongoing genocide. (For further information on Darfur, visit the JCRC web site “International” section at www.jcrcdallas.org.)
SUDAN IN CRISIS
Explore the history, people and politics behind one of the world's bloodiest conflicts in this interactive web site by The Washington Post. Click the title above to be connected to this site.
TOUGH WEEK FOR THE SPECIAL ENVOY TO SUDAN
Below is an excerpt of an Op-Ed written by Mohamed E. Suleiman that was published on the blog Stop Genocide on August 15, 2009 about the reactions from the women of Darfur to Major General Scott Gration’s description of the situation in Darfur as "remnants of genocide.” Click the title above to read the entire article.
Tougher weeks are yet to come.
I wonder what did Major General Scott Gration expect from women of Darfur in the camps in reacting to his description of the situation in Darfur as "remnants of genocide?"
Magbula may be to the Special Envoy a "remnants of genocide." There are hundreds of thousands women like Magbola in the IDP camps of Kassab, Hasahisa, KarYari, Habila, and in similar camps across Darfur and in Eastern Chad. They want justice before peace.
I believe that, with all the nice words and the good intentions expressed, General Gration is not ready to handle the Darfur problem. It is either you have it or you don't. Al Bashir has underestimated the Darfuri people in this conflict. Today he is a fugitive. In a different take, the Special Envoy might have underestimated the resolve and resilience of the Darfuri people who are confined to crowded camps.
US SAYS SUDAN POLICY REVIEW TO BE COMPLETED WITHIN TWO WEEKS
The following is an excerpt of an article that appeared in The Sudan Tribune on August 17, 2009 about what to expect when the United States completes its comprehensive policy review of Sudan that will determine its conflict resolution strategy for the largest country in Africa. To read the entire article, click the title above.
The United States announced today that is finishing up its comprehensive policy review of Sudan that will determine its conflict resolution strategy for the largest country in Africa.
“I think we are getting close to the point where we will announce the – a new policy approach on Sudan. I would expect that in the next couple of weeks,” the assistant US Secretary of State Philip Crowley told reporters today.
The release of the long awaited policy review was delayed by behind the scenes divisions within the Obama administration on the balance between the use of sticks and carrots with Khartoum.
The US presidential envoy to Sudan Scott Gration, currently visiting the region complained to US lawmakers last month that the decade-long unilateral sanctions imposed through executive orders and the status of Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism are undermining his diplomatic leverage.
U.S. JEWS BLAST MUBARAK'S 'SHAMEFUL' POLICY ON SUDAN
Below is a portion of an article written by Cnaan Liphshiz that appeared in the Haaretz Newspaper on August 20, 2009 about the 100 Jewish Leaders and Scholars in the United States who have publicly criticized Egyptian President Mubarak’s policy on Sudan. To read the entire article, click on the title above.
One hundred Jewish leaders and Holocaust scholars have harshly criticized Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak for "giving the red carpet" to his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for the mass killings in Darfur in western Sudan.
Mubarak is currently in Washington for talks with U.S. leaders. Egypt's post-World War II policy of welcoming Nazi war criminals was a badge of shame that it has still not shed," said Dr. Rafael Medoff, director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies in Washington. "The new policy of welcoming Bashir is a similar badge of shame that will stain Egypt's name for decades to come."
SUPPORTING THE JCRC
The Andrea Weinstein Jewish Community Relations Endowment Fund supports JCRC initiatives including: the JCRC Civic Leadership Mission to Israel; inter-community projects that encourage dialogue among the various populations of Dallas; education and the fostering of volunteer leadership in the area of Jewish community relations; increasing the awareness and providing assistance to Jews at risk as a result of anti-Semitism or oppression; and assisting with the immigration and resettlement of those endangered populations.
Fully tax deductible donations may be made for any occasion and are a wonderful way to let a loved one know you care. Fully tax deductible donations to the Andrea Weinstein Jewish Community Relations Endowment Fund can be made by mailing a personal check to the: Dallas Jewish Community Foundation, 7800 Northaven Rd., Dallas, TX 75230.
The Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas does not necessarily endorse any political viewpoints expressed in any advertised programs, articles or editorial pieces that appear in this weekly update.
JEWISH COMMUNITY RELATIONS COUNCIL
Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas
7800 Northaven Rd., Dallas, TX 75230