Agenda for Public Affairs 1998-1999

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Agenda for Public Affairs 1998-1999 Powered By Docstoc

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                              Table of Contents

ORGANIZATIONS             5

                          8   Preamble
                          8   Middle East Peace Process
                         11   US - Israel Relations
                         12   Israel and the International Community
                         13   Intemational Terrorism and
                                Arms Control
                         15   American Jewish - Israel Relations
                         16   Human Rights
                         18   Jews in the Former Soviet Union

SOCIAL JUSTICE           20
                         21   Preamble
                         22   Poverty and the Urban Agenda
                         2S   Child Wcl6re
                         26   Revitalizing Public Education
                         27   Immigration and Refugee Policy
                         29   Ethnicity and Intergroup Relations
                         31   The Status of Women
                         33   Healthcarc
                      36   Preamble
                      37   Religion in America
                      43   Constitutional Protections
                      45   Anti-Semitism
                      47   Holocaust Restitution and Accountability
                      48   Interreligious Relationships

                      52   Preamble
                      53   Climate Change
                      56   Biological Diversity
                      58   Environmental Health and Justice


APPENDIX              63
                      63   The JCPA Mission Statement
                      65   The Role of the JCPA
                      67   Purpose of the JCPA
                             Public Affairs Agenda
                      68   How the Agenda was Formulated

           ]CPA    CONSTITUENT ORGANIZATIONS                                                  5

                                                  Jewish Federation of Delaware
                                               District c1 Columbia
National Agencies
                                                  Jewish Communiry Council of Greater..
  American Jewish Committee
                                                     Washington (includes Northern Virginia
  American Jewish Congress
                                                     and Montp;omery and Prince George's
  B'llai B'rith/ Anti-Defamation League
                                                     Counties, Maryland)
  Jewish Labor Committee
                                                  Jewish Federation of South Broward
  Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A.
                                                  Jewish Federation of Fort Lauderdale
  National Council ofJewish Women
                                                  Jacksonville Jewish Federation
  Union of American Hebrew Congregations
                                                  Jewish Federation of Lee and
  Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations
                                                     Charlotte Counties
     of America
                                                  Greater Miami Jewish Federation
  United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism/
                                                  Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando
    Womens's League for Conservative Judaism
                                                  Jewish Federation ofPahn beach Counry
  Women's American ORT
                                                  Jewish Federation of Pinellas County
                                                  Sarasota-Manatee Jewish Federation
Community Agencies
                                                  South Palm Beach Counry
                                                    Jewish Federation
    CRC of the Birmingham Jewish Federation
                                                    Atlanta Jewish Federation
    CRC of the Greater Phoenix Jewish
                                                    Savannah Jewish Federation
   JCRC of the Jewish Federation of
                                                    Indianapolis JCRC          .
      Southern Arizona
                                                   Jewish Federation of St. Joseph Valley
   Jewish Federation of Greater Long Beach
                                                   Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines
      and West Orange Counry
                                               Km1sas (see Missouri)
   JCRC of the Jewish Federation Council
                                               KentIJ(ky                            .
      of Greater Los Angeles
                                                    Central Kentucky Jewish Federation
   Jewish Federation of Palm Springs
                                                   Jewish Communiry Federation of Louisville
      and Desert Area
   JCRC of Sacramento
                                                   Jewish Federation of Greater Baton Rouge
   CRC of United Jewish Federation of
                                                   Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans
      San Diego Counry
                                                    Shreveport Jewish Federation
   JCRC of San Francisco, the Peninsula,
      Marin, Sonoma, Alameda and
                                                   Jewish Federation-Communiry Council of
      Contra Costa Counties
                                                    Southern Maine
   JCRC of Greater San Jose
                                                   Baltimore Jewish Council
   Jewish Federation of Greater Bridgeport
   Jewish Federation of Greater Danbury
                                                   JCRC of Greater Boston
   Jewish Federation of Eastern ConnectICut
                                                   Jewish Federation of North Shore
   CRC ofJewish Federation of
                                                   Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford
      Greater Hartford
                                                   Jewish Federation of Greater SpringfIeld
   Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven
                                                   Worcester Jewish Federation
   United Jewish Federation of Stamford
   Jewish Federation of Waterbury
                                                   Jewish Communiry Council of
                                                      Metropolitan Detroit
   The Jewish Federation of Colorado
                                                   Flint Jewish Federation
Ii         JrWISll     COUNCIL       Fon   l'UBLIC   AFFAlns    .   AGENDA     1998-1999

Milll/CSOIa                                        JCRC of Youngstown Area
   JCRC of Minnesota and the Dakotas                  Jewish Federation
Misso",i                                        Oklahoma
    Jewish COIll1l1unity Relations                 Jc:wish Federation of Greater Oklahoma
    Bureau/ American Jewish Committee of           jewish Federation of Tulsa
    Greater Kansas City                         Oregoll
    St. LouisjCRC                                  Jewish Federation of Portland
Nebraska                                        Pellrlsylvallia
    ADLlCRC of the Jewish Federation               CRC of the Jewish Federation of Allentown
       of Omaha                                    Erie Jewish Community Council
Nell'jerse),                                       CRC of the United Jewish Federation
    Federation ofJewish Agencies of                    of Greater Harrisburg
       Atlantic County                             JCRC of Greater Philadelphia
    United Jewish Community                        CRC of the United Jewish Federation
       Bergen County/North Hudson                      of Pitt,burgh
   Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey         Scranton-Lackawanna Jewish Federation
   Jewish Federation of Clifton-Passaic           Jewish Federation of Greater Wilkes-Barre
    MetroWest United Jewish Feder,ltion            York JCRC
   jewish Federation of Greater                 Rhode Island
       Middlesex County                            CRC of thc Jewish Federation of
   JCRC of Greater Monmouth County                     Rhode Island
   JeRC of the Jewish Federation of             SOl/til Carolina
       North Jersey                                Charleston Jewish Federation
   JeRC of Southern New Jersey                     Columbia Jewish Federation
   Jewish Federation of mercer and              ]"wncssce
      Bucks Counties                              J CR C of the Memphis Jewish Federation
New Mexico                                        Jewish Federation of Nashville and
   Jewish Federation of Greater Albuquerque            Middle Tennessce
New},>rk                                        Texas
   Jewish Federation of Broome County             Jewish Federation of Austin
   Jewish Federation of Greater Buffalo           JCRC of the Jewish Fcderation of
    Elmira Jewish Welfare Fund                         Greater Dallas
   Jewish Federation of Greater Kingston          JCRC of the Jewish Federation ofEI Paso
  JCRC of New York                                Jewish Federation of Fort Worth
    United Jewish Federation of                        and Terrant County
       Northeastern New York                       CRC of the Jewish Federation of
   jewish Federation of Greater Orange County          Greater Houston
   Jewish Community Federation                    JCRC of the Jewish Federation of
      of Rochester                                    San Antonio
   Syracuse Jewish Federation                   Vi~~il/ia
   Utica Jewish Fc!deration                          United Jewish Community of the
Ollio                                                  Virginia Peninsula
   Akronjewish Community Federation                 jewish Community Federation of
   Canton Jewish Community Federation                   Richmond
   Cincinnati JCRC                                  United Jewish Federation of Tidewater
   Cleveland Jewish Community Federation        J,f/aslril1gton
   CRC of the Columbus Jewish Federation            Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle
  J CR C of the J cwish Federation of           Wisconsill
      Greater Dayton                                Madison Jewish Community Council
   CRC of the Jewish Federatioll of                 Milwaukee Jewish Council
      Greatcr Toledo

             ISRAEL   AND   OTHER    INTERNATIONAL        CONCERNS                      7

                                               Israel and
                                               Other International

         ((Pray for the peace
                  (ifJerusalem,        )J

                       -PSALMS, 122:6

h e organized Jewish community feels a profound identification with Israel, and a
deep commitment to its survival and security. American Jews, and Americans gener-
ally, understand that the long-term national interests of the United States and Israel
coincide -    a premise underscored by Israel's important role as America's only polit-
ically stable and militarily effective ally in the Middle East, and reinforced by the
unique cultural and political affinity between the two countries. Reflecting this
recognition, all American governments have been committed to Israel's security and
to facilitating Israel's ongoing search for peace with its Arab neighbors. However, the
vigihnt involvement of the organized Jewish community has been a vital factor fos-
tering such policies by past administrations and Congresses.

Moreover, American Jewry's unique and fortunate position, combined with its deep
sense of KIaI Israel, has allowed it to respond quickly to the needs of other Jewish
communities in difficulty or danger. Similarly, American Jews are concerned about the
rights of individuals throughout the world and, therefore, support the vigorous applica-
tion of human rights principles in the pursuit of American foreign policy objectives.
        JEWISH     COUNCIL        FOR   PUBLIC   AI'FAIRS'   AGENDA     1998-1999

        The United States continues to grapple with the complex international
        challenges presented by the post-Cold War era. There are vigorous
        debates, including within the organized American Jewish community,
        about the most effective policies to pursue in order to advance this nation's
        national interests abroad. The Jewish Council for Public Affairs, reflecting
        the traditional Jewish mandate of tikkull o/am (mending the world),
        strongly believes that those interests include promoting democracy and
        peace, protecting human rights and stimulating economic growth
        throughout the world. The field will convey this message to U.S. policy-
        makers and opinion-molders, and will seek to broaden American public
        understanding of the need for sustained U.S. engagement in the interna-
        tional arena.

        According to the Interim             The Jewish community
       Agreement (Oslo II), Israel
                                            relations field has a
        and the Palestinian Author-
        ity (PA) are scheduled to           heightened responsibility
        conclude negotiations over          to interpret developments
        the permanent status issues         in the peace process to
        no later than May 1999.
       These issues include the sta-
                                            decision-makers and
        tus of Jerusalem, borders, the      opinion-molders in the
        nature of the Palestinian           general community and to
        entity, refugees and Jewish
                                            nurture consensus within
       settlements. Israeli Prime
       Minister   Bel~aI1lin   Netanyahu    the Jewish community.
       -   arguing that the step-by-step approach to peacemaking can only be
        effective if the parties reach agreement, at least in general terms, about the
        ultimate objectives of the peace process -   has urged an acceleration of the
        permanent status talks. Based on the principle of reciprocity, the Prime
        Minister also has conditioned further redeployments in the West Bank on
 ISRAEL   AND   OTHER     INTERNATIONAL          CONCERNS                    9

the PA's fulfillment of its obligations contained in the signed agreements
with Israel. Most importantly, Palestinian security personnel arc expected
to coordinate fully with Israeli security forces and to undertake a sustained
effort to combat terrorism, particularly to dismantle the infrastructure that
enables Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other extremist groups to launch their
deadly attacks against Israeli civilians. Despite periods of obvious effort,
their overall performance has been inadequate. In addition, the Palestinians
should implement their commitment, contained in the U.S. "Note for the
Record" attached to the Hebron Protocol, to complete the process of
revising the Palestinian National Charter. PA Chairman Yasser Arafat,
while not ruling out accelerated permanent status talks, has accused Prime
Minister Netanyahu of using this proposal to avoid meeting Israel's obliga-
tions under the Oslo Accords.
   Supported by Egypt and the other Arab states (with the notable excep-
tion of Jordan), the Palestinians have intensified their effort to mobilize
international pressure against Israel. Instead of seeking to resolve their dif-
ferences with Israel directly, the Palestinians are pressing the adoption of
one-sided resolutions at the United Nations which predetermine the out-
come of permanent status negotiations. In addition, they have called on the
Arab world to freeze the process of normalization with Israel. Only Jordan,
Tunisia, Oman, Kuwait and Yemen sent official delegations to the 1997
Middle East and North Africa Economic Summit held in Doha, Qatar.
   The Jewish community relations field has a heightened responsibility to
interpret developments in the peace process to decision-makers and opin-
ion-molders in the general community and to nurture consensus within
the Jewish community. The field is called upon to stress its continuing
support of the Oslo Accords. The field also supports the ongoing, active
U.S. engagement as the primary facilitator of that process. The JCPA
stresses that any solution must take into accollnt Israel's fundamental secu-
.rity requirements. In order to be viable, the permanent status arrangement
must also take into account the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.
   In addition, the field strongly supports Israel's commitment to maintain
Jerusalem as its eternal, undivided capital and again urges the
Administration to implement fully the Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act
of 1995, which calls for the transfer of the   u.s.   embassy from Tel Aviv to
10   JEWISII    COUNCIL      FOR   l'untlC     AFFAIIIS   •   AGENDA   199H-I999

     Jerusalem by May 1')99. Efforts in support of this position are particularly
     crucial since some Arab-American and liberal Protestant groups have
     launched a nationwide campaign calling for the "sharing" of Jerusalem,
     which is widely understood as expressing support for a redivision of
     Jerusalem between Israeli and Palestinian sovereignties.
       The 105th Congress continued       to   lend important support to the peace-
     making effort by appropriating timds to Israel and its peace partners. The
     field supported an increase in funds for Jordan in FY 98 in order to
     demonstrate to the Jordanian people the tangible benefits of making peace
     with Israel. The JCPA calls on Egypt, which continues to receive $2.1 bil-
     lion in U.S. foreign aid, to enhance its bilateral relationship with Israel and
     to address the problem of anti-Semitism in the media and other important
     sectors of Egyptian society. In response to the failure of the PA to meet its
     commitments under the Oslo Accords, Congress prohibited U.S. aid from
     flowing directly to the PA but maintained support for projects carried out
     by non-governmental agencies operating in Palestinian areas. The JCPA
     encourages Congress to continue viewing aid to the PA as a tool to press
     the Authority toward compliance with its Oslo commitments. At the same
     time, this position must be balanced against the danger of crippling the PA
     and the impact of that development on prospects for peace.
       Syrian President Hafez al Assad continues to resist Israeli overtures to
     enter serious bilateral negotiations that could lead to a peace treaty.
     Moreover, the Iranian-backed Hezbollah forces in southern Lebanon have
     escalated their attacks against Israeli soldiers and, at times, against civilian
     targets inside Israel. With Israeli casualties mounting, there is a growing
     debate within Israel regarding the possibi·lity of withdrawing military
     forces from the security zone in southern Lebanon. Syria, which remains
     on the U.S. State Department list of nations that support terrorism, is per-
     mitting weapons and other material support to reach the Hezbollah.
     However, the Administration removed Syria and Lebanon from the list of
     countries that engage in illicit drug trafficking. This step was opposed by
     some Congressional leaders who saw it as an undeserved gesture        to   Syria's
     leadership. Finding effective ways of Syria to desist from its sup-
     port of terrorism and to enter into productive negotiations with Israel
     remains a difficult challenge.
        ISRAEL    AND    OTHER    INTERNATIONAL         CONCERNS                      I I

        The mutually beneficial    ~11i­     The ]CPA believes that
        ance between the U.S. and
                                             continuing foreign aid to
        Israel remains solidly grounded
        on the foundation of shared          Israel is a wise investment
        democratic and moral values          in our most reliable ally in
        as well as geo-political and         the volatile Middle East
        strategic interests. President
        Clinton and senior officials in
                                             where fundamental U.S.
        his Administration have con-         national interests remain
        sistcntly demonstrated a deep        at stake.
        commitment to Israel's secu-
        rity and economic well-being. This is manifested in the Administration's
        advocacy of generous foreign assistance packages to Israel and to Israel's
        peace partners, the personal and ongoing involvement of the President and
        Secretary of State in efforts to advance the peace process, enhanced mili-
        tary cooperation and intelligence sharing, and diplomatic support at the
        U.N. and other international forums.
          The 105th Congress, reflecting the close   bond~   of friendship between Israel
        and the American people, showed its understanding of Israel's security
        rcquirements by maintaining the current level of foreign aid to Israel in FY 98
        and appropriating funds to Israel's peace partners. Reflecting the growing
        strength of its economy, Israel has proposed a gradual phasing out of the
        $1.8 billion in U.S. economic assistance and an increase in military support
        from S 1.8 billion to $2.4 billion. The ]CPA believes that continuing foreign
        aid to Israel is a wise investment in our most reliable ally in the volatile
        Middle East where fundamental U.S. national interests remain at stake. The
        serious erosion in the overall foreign aid budget, which characterized past
        Congressional sessions, was largely stemmed in the first session of the 105th
        Congress. The field should convey to members of Congress in the second ses-
        sion the importance of a robust foreign aid program in other parts of the world
        as a means of promoting democratic institutions and market economies.
          As the administration has attempted to resolve the impasse in the peace
        process and to enable the parties to move toward negotiation of the per-

@ ..   $(,%).1   4..                                                                                            ...

                               ISRAEL    AND   OTHER    INTERNATIONAL         CONCERNS                    13

                              port of the field, the U.S. is seeking to persuade the international commu-
                              nity -   especially the Palestinians and the Arab states -   that this approach
                              will not succeed in advancing the peace process. Only through direct bilat-
                              eral negotiations can the parties hope to resolve their differences. Israel
                              remains the only member state of the U.N. which does not belong to one
                              of the geo-political groups. Membership in such a group, which must be
                              voted on unanimously by the group, is a prerequisite for serving on the
                              Security Council and other important U.N. bodies. The ]CPA encourages
                              the Administration to continue supporting Israel's efforts to gain member-
                              ship in the Western European and Others Group (WEOG). Membership
                              in the Asian Group -      that includes such countries as Iran and Iraq -    is
                              clearly not feasible at the present time. Notwithstanding these concerns,
                              the ]CPA continues to support full U.S. payment of its debt to the United

                              Terrorism, whether by rogue          The ]CPA welcomed
                              states or extremist groups,
                              continues to threaten the
                                                                   the Administration's
                              security and peace of the           firm stand against Saddam
                              entire civilized world. Of           Hussein and continues to
                              particular concern is Iran's
                                                                   strongly support the U.N.
                              growing arsenal of conven-
                              tional and non-conventional
                                                                   m01zitoring €frort in Iraq
                              weapons. foreign invest-             until all the weapons of
                              ment aimed at modernizing            mass destruction are found
                              Iran's aging oil industry
                              enables Iran to spend its
                                                                   and destroyed.
                              money elsewhere -     amassing weapons and providing encouragement and
                              tangible assistance to many terrorist groups. The Iran-Libya Sanctions Act
                              of 1996 (ILSA) imposes sanctions for investment of more than $20 million
                              per year by a foreign entity in Iran's petroleum sector. A major test of
                              ILSA emerged in October 1997, when Total of France, Gasprom of Russia
                              and Petronas of Malaysia were awarded a $2 billion contract to develop a
12      JEWISH    COUNCIL      FOR   PUBLIC    AFfAIRS·      AGENDA     1998-1999

        manent status issues, some policy differences and strains have emerged
        between Washington and Jerusalem. Among other issues, the
        Administration believes Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and
        Gaza Strip has detracted from the peacemaking atmosphere. Against this
        backdrop, the Clinton Administration is weighing how best to balance the
        special U.S. alliance with Israel with the need to be a credible L1cilitator of
        the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Heretofore, the U.S. has played an
        important, but relatively restrained role in the peace process -      offering
        encouragement and constructive ideas as well as tangible incentives. There
        is growing discussion in Israel and within segments of American Jewry as
        well about the pros and cons of the U.S. becoming more assertive in
        bringing the parties together and articulating principles that will guide
        their future negotiations.
           The JCPA, in fulfiIling its interpretive responsibilities within the Jewish
        and general communities, will be called upon to provide context and per-
        spective with regard to the complex issues in the peace process. At the
        same time, the field should maintain the focus of policy-makers and
        American opinion-molders on the broad areas of consensus that undergird
        the US-Israel partnership. As always, the field must inform Israeli leader-
       ship of trends -   particularly shifts in attitude and reactions of the Jewish
        community, the American public and policy-makers -          related to devel-
        opments in the Middle East, including Israeli policies and actions.

       As difficulties have surfaced        Israel remains the only
       in the peace process, the
       Palestinians have escalated
                                            member state of the U.N.
       their campaign to isolate            which does not belong
       Israel diplomatically and            to one of the geo-political
       even economically in order
       to build international pres-
       sure on the Netanyahu Government. The United Nations is once again
       being used as a forum for this purpose as mentioned above. Regrettably,
       Egypt has joined with the Palestinians in leading this effort. With the sup-
                                                                                         --. __ '_ ... r . _ _   ~

        ISRAEL    AND   OTHER    INTERNATIONAL         CONCERNS                    13

       port of the field, the U.S. is seeking to persuade the international commu-
       nity -   especially the Palestinians and the Arab states -   that this approach
       will not succeed in advancing the peace process. Only through direct bilat-
       eral negotiations can the parties hope to resolve their differences. Israel
       remains the only member state of the U.N. which does not belong to one
       of the geo-political groups. Membership in such a group, which must be
       voted on unanimously by the group, is a prerequisite for serving on the
       Sl'curity Council and other important U.N. bodies. The ]ePA encourages
       the Administration to continue supporting Israel's efforts to gain member-
       ship in the Western European and Others Group (WEOG). Membership
       in the Asian Group -      that includes such countries as Iran and Iraq -    is
       clearly not feasible at the present time. Notwithstanding these concerns,
       the ]CPA continues to support full U.S. payment of its debt to the United

       Terrorism, whether by rogue          The ]CPA welcomed
       states or extremist groups,
       continues to threaten the
                                            the Administration's
       security and peace of the           firm stand against Saddam
       entire civilized world. Of           Hussein and continues to
       particular concern is Iran's
                                            strongly support the U.N.
       growing arsenal of conven-
       tional and non-conventional
                                            monitoring if.fort in Iraq
       weapons. Foreign invest-             until all the weapons of
       ment aimed at modernizing            mass destruction are found
       Iran's aging oil industry
       enables Iran to spend its
                                            and destroyed.
       money elsewhere -      amassing weapons and providing encouragement and
       tangible assistance to many terrorist groups. The Iran-Libya Sanctions Act
       of 1996 (ILSA) imposes sanctions for investment of more than $20 million
       per year by a foreign entity in Iran's petroleum sector. A major test of
       ILSA emerged in October 1997, when Total of France, Gasprom of Russia
       and Petronas of Malaysia were awarded a $2 billion contract to develop a
'4   JEWISH    COUNCIL      FOR   PUBLIC    AFfAIUS    .   AGENDA    1998-1999

     major Iranian gas field. The ]CPA urged the Administration to impose
     sanctions available under ILSA against the three companies, and continues
     to support a strong U.S. effort to encourage our European and Asian allies
     not to deal with Iran. Technology transfers from Russia and others have
     helped Iran in its effort to acquire ballistic missiles and weapons of mass
     destruction. The Iran Missile Proliferation Sanctions Act of 1997, which
     would require the imposition of sanctions against companies that violate
     U.S. legal prohibitions against the transfer of missile technology to Iran,
     was introduced in Congress in October 1997.
       This past year, Saddam Hussein challenged the United Nations Special
     Commission (UNSCOM) by expelling its weapons inspectors and barring
     access to so-called presidential sites. A U.S. military strike was averted, at
     least temporarily, when U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan negotiated an
     agreement on February 23, 1998 assuring unfettered and unconditional
     UNSCOM access to all Iraqi sites. However, Saddam Hussein's brazen act
     underscored the fragility of the Gulf War coalition and the willingness of
     some countries -    particularly France and Russia -     to lift the sanctions
     imposed on Iraq after the Gulf War and to set a date for the completion of
     U.N. inspections. The ]CPA welcomed the Administration's finn stand
     against Saddam Hussein and continues to strongly support the U.N. mon-
     itoring effort in Iraq until all the weapons of mass destruction are found
     and destroyed.
       Other states that support terrorism, including North Korea, Libya and
     Syria, continue to develop weapons of mass destruction. The ]CPA urges
     the U.S. to enforce more stringent international controls on the sale and
     transfer of advanced weapons and technology. Toward that end, the field
     welcomed the Senate's ratification of the Chemical Weapons Treaty in
     April 1997. The ]CPA urges the Senate to ratifY the Comprehensive Test
     Ban Trcaty, an important vehicle for discouraging the development of
     atomic devices and other weapons of mass destruction worldwide.
        I S RAE LAN D   () THE II· I N TEll NAT ION ALe () NeE II N S             15

        Relations between Israel and        The ]CPA ... is primarily
        wide    segments     of the
                                           focusing its attention on
        American Jewish commu-
        nity continued to be severely       developing community
        strained over proposed legis-       models for dealing with
        lation codifying the Chief          these sensitive questions in
        Rabbinate's        exclusive
        authority with regard to
                                            an atmosphere of civility
        conversions in Israel. This         and m.utual respect.
        legislation, initially backed
        by the governing coalition
        in Israel, was drafted in response to advances made by the Reform and
        Conservative movements in Israel toward judicial recognition of conver-
       sions conducted under their auspices. Prime Minister Netanyahu estab-
        lished a committee under the chairmanship of Finance Minister Yaacov
        Neeman with the mandate to find a solution that would be acceptable to all
        three parties. The committee, which was comprised of one Reform, one
       Conservative and five Orthodox representatives, reached consensus on a
       two-part plan. While we applaud the efforts of the Neeman Committee,
       its proposal has been met with mixed reaction in both Israel and the
       American Jewish community and the fate of the plan remains uncertain.
          The challenge of maintaining Jewish unity was the focus of the 1997
       General Assembly of the Council of Jewish Federations (CJF) in
        Indianapolis. The CJF reaffirmed the resolution passed at last year's
       General Assembly urging the Israeli Government not to change the cur-
       rent situation with respect to recognition of conversions or any aspect of
       the Law of Return. The United Jewish Appeal has made a commitment to
       try to raise $10 million for each of the religious movements in support of
       their programs in Israel that enhance diversity and tolerance. This amount
       would be added to the substantial funds already flowing to such initiatives,
       especially through the Jewish Agency for Israel. Individual federations also
       have begun to give direct support to religious diversity in Israel, including
       through programs carried out under the aegis of Partnership 2000. The
1(\    JEWISH     COUNCIL     FOR   PUBLIC     AFFAIRS·     AGENDA      199 8 - 1 999

       jCPA, which brings together the principal synagogue movements along
       with an extensive system of national and local member agencies, is primarily
       focusing its attention on developing community models for dealing with
       these sensitive questions in an atmosphere of civility and mutual respect.
          The jCPA is continuing to work in coalition with its member agencies
        and other jewish organizations to address the serious absorption problems
        facing Ethiopian immigrants in Israel, especially in the area of education. The
        ficld's priority has been advocacy directed to the Israeli Government seeking
        support for supplementary and remedial programs for children of all ages.
        The JCPA also welcomes the decision to bring to Israel all of the residents
        of the former Solomon compound in Addis Ababa (the Falash Mura).
           The JCPA also is working with the CJF in planning the 1998 General
        Assembly in Jerusalem that will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the
        Jewish State. The major themes of this event will be the ingathering of
        Jewish immigrants from across the world, nation-building and the devel-
        opment of a synthesis of Jewish and democratic values.

         December 10, 1998 will               The ]CPA is strongly
         mark the 50th anniversary of         committed to the protection
         the Universal Declaration of
                                              of human rights around
         Human Rights, a document
         developed by the interna-            the world and continues to
         tional     community        in       emphasize to President
         response to the horrors per-         Clinton and the 105th
         petrated against the Jewish
         people and others during
                                               Congress that securing
         World War II. The JCPA is             human rights must be
         strongly committed to the             an integral part of u.s.
          protection of human rights
          around the world and con-
                                              foreign policy.
          tin lies to emphasize to President Clinton and the I05th Congress that
          securing human rights must be an integral part of u.S. foreign policy. A
          debate has emerged over the best way to promote this policy -          through
    I   1 S RAE I.   AND   0 THE R   1 N T F. RNA T I () N ALe   (J   NeE R N S          17

    J   constructive engagement with countries that continue to violate basic
        human rights or by imposing economic and other sanctions. The JCPA
        believes that each situation should be examined separately, with a view
1       toward developing an approach that has the greatest chance of achieving

1       the desired result.
i          Genocide and other egregious forms of human rights abuses are taking
        place in many parts of the world. Since 1950, China has engaged in the
I       systematic persecution of the Tibetan people through imprisonment, tor-
I       ture, rape and the execution of supporters of the Dalai Lama. In East
        Timor, the Indonesian occupation fi)rces have murdered a significant por-

1       tion of the civilian population and tortured many others. Thousands of
        innocent civilians have been slaughtered during the recent unrest in

        Algeria. Genocidal conflicts continue to take a terrible toll in central
        Africa. TheJCPA appeals to the Administration and to the United Nations
        to develop effective responses to these and other humanitarian crises.
          The field continues to support U.S. involvement in the international
        effort to implement the Dayton Accords as well as full cooperation with
        the work of the Bosnian War Crimes Tribunal. To date, the effort to cap-
        ture and prosecute Bosnian war criminals has been disappointing. The
        JCPA urges the Administration -            in cooperation with other NATO
        coalition forces -    to intensity its efforts to arrest all individuals indicted by
        the War Crimes Tribunal. In light of the atrocities committed in that
        region, the field supported the Administration's decision to maintain U.S.
        personnel- as part of an international force -            in Bosnia beyond the June
        1998 deadline previously approved by Congress.
          The ad hoc war crimes tribunals established in recent years to address
        violations in Bosnia and Rwanda hi'ghlight the need to establish a perma-
        nent court to prosecute individuals accused of serious violations of interna-
        tionallaw. The proposed International Criminal Court (ICC), scheduled
        to be the subject of a major diplomatic conference in Rome in 1998,
        would be empowered to prosecute individuals accused of genocide, war
        crimes and crimes against humanity. The JCPA supports this initiative as an
        important step toward securing intermtional human rights.
          Consistent with the field's deep and abiding commitment to the protec-
        tion of individual human rights and the fundamental belief that all people
18         JEWISH     COUNCIL      FOil PUBLIC AFFAIRS'         AGENDA      1998-/999

           should be free to worship as they choose, the JCPA viewed the Freedom
           From Religious Persecution Act as an important initiative in raising con-
           sciousness about the plight of religious minorities abroad. As this legislative
           initiative has moved through Congress, the field, in close consultation
           with coalition partners, is examining the particular provisions of the bill.
           The ]CPA also welcomes the effort of the State Department's AdvisOlY
           Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad that was created to explore
           solutions to these issues.

(developed by the National COliference on Soviet Jewry)

           A wide range of both new              Jewish leaders in the FS U
           and ongoing issues faces the
                                                  remain concerned that their
           approximately 1,000,000
          Jews remaining in the for-              respective governments
           mer Soviet Union. These                have not reacted vigorously
           vary by location based on              enough to manifestations
           many factors including the
           local political, economic,
                                                 <if anti-Semitism.
           and social dynamics. While generally remaining steady, the emigration rate
           of Jews has increased in certain areas of economic or political distress.
           Emigration remains open as a matter of policy despite certain systemic
           problems such as bribery or unrealistic documentation requirements. In IIlJny
           instances, Jewish leaders in the FSU remain concerned that their respective
           governments have 1I0t reacted vigorously enough to manifestations of anti-
           Semitism. Serious incidents of anti-Semitism continue in Russia and
           Ukraine. The past year also has seen a rise of anti-Semitism in Belarus and
           Lithuania. Jewish communal life continues to normalize while confronted
           with the harsh economic situation aftecting the elderly and other vulnera-
           ble segments of society.
             During the past year, a newly-amended religion law was passed in
           Russia. The law was intended to strengthen the position of the Russian
           Orthodox Church against other Christian denominations and, it was
          asserted, also to prevent the growth of cults, dangerous sects, and other

ISRAEL   AND    OTHER    INTERNATIONAL          CONCERNS                  19

non-traditional religious groups from abroad. Parts of the Jewish commu-
nity in Russia supported the law or avoided opposing it. Yet the Vaad of
Russia, and some Jewish religious leaders, joined western groups in voic-
ing opposition because the law was viewed as undemocratic, unnecessarily
intrusive in personal affairs, and reminiscent of Soviet control over reli-
gion. The unarticulated fear was that, in the filture, another more repres-
sive government might abuse the law in a way that would restrict the prac-
tice ofJews and other religious minorities.
  A report issued by Israeli intelligence asserts that Russia is helping Iran
to produce nuclear missiles capable of reaching Israel and western Europe
that will be operational within the next two years. Israel and the U.S. have
both begun to vigorously protest to Russia. Both the religion law and the
Iran connection may disrupt U.S. - Russian relations and may have a neg-
ative impact on the Russian Jewish community or Russian relations with
Israel. The negative reaction in Congress has already stalled Russia's
attempts to be graduated from Jackson-Vanik.
  The Jewish community relations field, in full, ongoing consultation
with the Jewish communities living in the FSU, should actively participate
in advocacy efforts on behalf of Jews in the FSU as needed and remain
engaged in renewal of Jewish communal life through Kehilla Projects,
humanitarian assistance, and other exchanges.
20        JEWISH     COUNCIL       rOR   PUBLIC   AFfAIRS·    AGENDA     1998-1999

                                              Equal Opportunity
                                              and Social Justice

               ((Let justice
        well up as waters,
         and righteousness
     as a mighty stream. "
                         -AMOS, 5:24

L e fundamental premise of the field ofJewish community affairs is to foster con-
ditions conducive to Jewish security and creative Jewish living in a free society. Such
conditions require a society committed to equal rights, justice and opportunity. Their
denial breeds social tensions, conflicts and dislocations, leading to threats to the
democratic process in general and to the Jewish community in particular. The stake
of the organized American Jewish community in a strong democratic society is rein-
forced by the moral imperative of the Jewish community to pursue social justice.
This commitment flows from Jewish religious mandates, tradition, and the millennial
experience of the Jewish people.
    F.QUAL    OPPORTUNITY       AND    SOCIAL JUSTICE                          2 I


    After decades in which huge federal deficits dominated political discourse,
    the government is expected to begin running a surplus next year. Debates
    have begun already about how to invest the money. Among those who
    believe the federal government should continue to reduce its role in the
    life of the nation, further devolving power to states and to the private sec-
    tor, pressures have been strong to return the money in the form of more
    tax cuts. However, while tax cuts may stimulate the economy, creating
    more jobs, leading social scientists have noted these measures are not suffi-
    cient to address the needs of the nation's poorest citizens -   welfare recip-
    ients unable to find jobs and the unskilled working poor, whose jobs do
    not pay enough to support their families. The federal government must
    invest, they argue, in skills-training and urban area job-creation, expand
    access to health care, child care, and affordable housing, and reinvest in
    other support services, to facilitate successful transitions from welfare to
    sustainable work. Many of these programs were cut sharply and dispropor-
    tionately in the wake of efforts to eliminate the federal deficit. The orga-
    nized Jewish community, which historically has held that the federal gov-
    ernment has a primary responsibility to provide for the basic needs of its
    most vulnerable citizens, believes that responsible investment in the
    nation's future requires, as a priority, renewed federal attention to funding
    for services which meet those needs.
        At the same time, the organized Jewish community shares the national
    concern regarding the need for long-term financial solutions to the loom-
    ing shortfall in Medicare and Social Security. Strong arguments support the
    view that the nation's long-range interests may be served best if budget
    surpluses are preserved primarily for use either to cover the initial costs of
    reforming the Social Security system or to begin paying down the nation's
    $5.5 trillion debt. Reducing the debt, it is argued, could free resources to
    shore up Social Security and Medicare. Although reliance on budget sur-
    pluses alone will not fully address the problem, arguably these funds may
    provide one part of a larger solution. The President's call for a moratorium
    on spending budget surpluses pending development of a plan to preserve
    Social Security recognizes the salience of these arguments. As the nation
22      JEWISH     COUNCIL      FOR   PUBLIC    AFfAIRS·      AGENDA     199 8 -   1   999

        turns its attention to refimning Medicare and Social Security, the orga-
        nized Jewish community will support initiatives which preserve the enti-
        tlement viability of both programs and which assure full access to all bene-
        fits by lower income beneficiaries.
           Meanwhile, in the shadow of recent funding cuts, the Jewish community
        will continue its efforts to provide services and address concerns of immi-
        grants and refugees denied access to federal food stamps and other public
        benefits, and will advocate vigorously the restoration of food stamp benefits.
        Work with coalition partners to address broad anti-poverty concerns will
        continue as well, especially efforts to protect vulnerable children and to pro-
        vide services which facilitate successful transitions from welfare to work.
          As new immigrant populations are absorbed, invigorating inner city com-
        munities and the economy, but also increasing pressures on some social
       services and on the schools, the nation will continue to struggle with the
        task of improving public education. Moreover, in an increasingly diverse
       society, questions of race, ethnicity, and gender will provoke new attempts
       to eliminate affirmative action programs, despite evidence that problems of
       discrimination based on race and gender have yet to be resolved.

       While the nation enjoys a             .. .gaps between rich and
       strong economy and rising
       income levels, income for
                                            poor have continued to
       the poorest 20 percent of            widen and ... these condi-
       families has continued to            tions, if not addressed could
       decline, according to a
                                            weaken the social fabric if
       Census Bureau report. The
       share of national income
                                            the nation ...
       going to the top five percent of households in 1996 rose to 21.4 percent,
       the highest level the Census Bureau has ever recorded. These develop-
       ments are consistent with a long-term trend in which gaps between rich
       and poor have continued to widen and benefits of income growth have
       accrued disproportionately to the affluent. There are concerns that these
       conditions, if not addressed, could weaken the social fabric of the nation,
EQUAL     OPPOIITUNITY        AND   SOCIAL     JUSTICE                        23

isolating those for whom society has failed to provide economic security,
and increasing intergroup tensions and conflict. The disparity is seen most
sharply in urban communities, where access to new jobs and opportunity
to develop the skills needed for higher paying jobs is limited or non-exis-
tent. In these circumstances, poor families have grown more socially and
economically isolated and more physically concentrated. Moreover, the
lack of quality affordable housing in urban areas has added to the problem
of homelessness, potentially impeding the economic turnaround of urban
communities. While some insist that continued economic growth will
solve these problems, others have suggested there are ways to provide
more direct assistance to those who would otherwise not share in the gen-
eral prosperity. The JCPA supports expansion of two existing programs
proven effective in providing direct assistance: Health care subsidies for
low income workers, and the Earned Income Tax Credit, which raises
incomes for many of the working poor by as much as forty percent.
   Moreover, the ]CPA recognizes that erosion in the wages of low wage
workers has been a major factor underlying persistent poverty and the
widening income gap. The JCPA therefore supports a further increase in
the minimum wage, raised to $5.15 per hour two years ago and still 18
percent below its average value in the late 1970s. Further, the ]CPA sup-
ports the concept of linking the minimum wage to the annual Consumer
Price Index to address the ongoing need to sustain a flexible, realistic min-
imum wage level, reflective of changing economic conditions.
   Although the nation's welfare rolls have declined sharply, the reasons
have less to do with the 1996 welfare law (which ended 60 years of feder-
ally-guaranteed cash assistance to eligible, low-income families) than with
the sustained strength of the economy. The President's Council of
Economic Advisors attributes more than 40 percent of the decline to eco-
nomic growth, about 30 percent to state experiments begun before the
new law was signed, and the rest to other policy initiatives. Many of those
now leaving welfare are the easiest-to-employ. Sustained success will
depend on whether they can remain in the workforce and on what hap-
pens as states turn to the most difficult cases. I n order to sustain the transi-
tion from welfare to work, states will have to ensure adequate funding for
job training and support services, including childcarc, Medicaid, and trans-
24   JEWISH    COUNCIL        FOR   I'UBLIC   AFI'AIRS   .   AGENDA   1998-1999

     portation, and for many of the hardest-to-employ, mental health counsel-
     ing and substance abuse treatment. Although states are providing these ser-
     vices, in no case has a state earmarked funding sufficient to fill the gap cre-
     ated by federal cuts, and questions remain regarding what will happen if
     the economy slows. The JCPA believes that states should emphasize strong
     job placement and training programs -        including successful welfare-to-
     work programs -     and the provision of transportation and child care ser-
     vices to help more low-income families make a successful transition from
     welfare to work.
       The Administration has insisted that workfare jobs welfare recipients are
     required to take in return for benefits be subject to federal workplace pro-
     tections, covering health, safety, and civil rights laws. Opponents argue
     that these requirements will make costs for workfare programs prohibitive.
     That contention, however, does not take into account the strength of the
     economy and additional funds now available to the states. However, pres-
     sures from governors to remove these protections may grow as debate
     continues. Responding to the ethical imperative to respect and protect the
     basic rights of working people to safe, decent, secure, working conditions,
     the JCPA supports the Administration's commitment to provide worker
     protections for workfare workers. Moreover, with the increased competi-
     tion from welfare recipients for low-wage jobs, there are concerns that
     lower employment costs for workfare workers might depress wages and
     increase job displacement pressures, endangering the income security of
     working poor families.
       Finally, noting the Jewish community's own historical experience as immi-
     grants to this country, the JCPA recently reaffirmed its commitment to the
     campaign to eliminate sweatshops and to end exploitative child labor.

              EQUAL       OPPORTUNITY      AND   SOCIAL   JUSTICE                       25

             Some four million children          Studies show that
             under age 12 go hungry, and
                                                 high quality, supportive
             about 9.6 million more are
             at   ri~k   of hunger, according    childcare can help provide
             to the Community Child-             low-income children with
             hood Hunger Identification          the foundation needed to
             Project. With implementa-
             tion of the new welfare law,
                                                 do well in school and
             every family using food             become productive adults.
             stamps to help feed its chil-
             dren has already begun to see benefits reduced or terminated. While food
             stamps have remained a federal entitlement, the welfare bill sharply cut
             funding and denied food stamps entirely to certain jobless adults and most
             legal immigrants. The ]CPA has joined with coalition partners in urging
             Congress and the Administration to raise food stamp benefit levels and
             secure the nutritional well-being of children, the elderly, and the disabled.
             Meanwhile, some states have attempted to fill the gap, and while they are
             unlikely to replace the full amount of federal aid that has been withdrawn,
             they can and should be encouraged to help mitigate the problem of hunger.
                  For low- and moderate-income women, whose financial earnings are
             essential to the support of their families, quality childcare, often unafford-
             able, is a particular concern. Studies show that high quality, supportive
             childcare can help provide low-income children with the foundation
             needed to do well in school and become productive adults. Yet, six out of
             seven child care centers provide care that is mediocre to poor; one in eight
             jeopardize children's safety and development, recent studies show. The
             dilemma for working poor families is likely to become even more acute.
             The welfare bill reduced funding for federal childcare subsidies for low-
             income children and expanded work requirements for welfare recipients,
             thereby increasing the need for childcare. As a result, states will be chal-
             lenged to provide enough care to meet the demands of welfare reform
             while continuing to serve non-welfare families. Following a White House
             Conference on Child Care, President Clinton proposed specifIC initiatives
26      JEWISH       COUNCIL       FOR   PUBLIC      AFl'AIRS'   AGENDA      1998-1999

        to improve the caliber and availability of child care and promised to intro-
        duce broad legislation to address issues of quality, access, and affordability.
        The ]CPA has a longstanding policy supporting access to quality childcare
        for all families and better health and safety protections in child care settings.

        The ]CPA reaffmns its long-             In February 1998, follow-
        standing commitment to the
                                               ing an extensive yearlong
        nation's public schools, and
        to supporting sound, innov-
                                               policy re-examination, the
        ative educational programs             ]CPA reciffirmed its
        that will improve public               opposition to government
        school education. Leaders in
        Congress can be expected to
                                               subsidized vouchers for
        renew attempts made last               non-public education.
        year, and opposed by the
       ]CPA, to send federal funds to local school districts in the form of block
        grants, attempting to end state accountability for use of federal education
        funds, and to propose voucher bills, opportunity scholarships and tuition
        tax   credit~,   allowing families in economically depressed areas   to   use public
        dollars to pay private or religious school expenses. As the nation struggles to
        find better ways to educate its poorest children, vouchers continue to carry
        an easy-answer appeal. Supporters claim vouchers would provide public
        education with much-needed competition and offer poor parents schooling
        choices that affluent parents now have. Opponents argue the stipends
        would, at best, help only a few poor students at the expense of many and
        would drain money from public school classrooms that need it most.
          In February 1998, following an extensive yearlong policy re-examina-
        tion, the jCPA reaffirmed its opposition to government subsidized vouch-
        ers for non-public education. The jCPA opposes voucher programs that
        provide aid to sectarian schools as violating the First Amendment's
        "Establishment Clause." Moreover, the jCPA opposes voucher programs
        that provide public dollars directly    to   non-public schools, whether secular
        or sectarian, believing this diversion of precious resources away from pub-
            EQUAL    OPPORTUNITY        AND   SOCIAL JUSTICE                          27
            lie education will undermine the public school system.
              Several reform initiatives begun or expanded by the New American
            Schools project, launched in the early 1990s, have now developed strong
            track records for success in restructuring at-risk public schools. These pro-
            grams are producing measurable results but financial assistance is needed to
            enable more schools to replicate them. At the same time, President
            Clinton has supported the expansion of charter schools as an example of
            responsible public school innovation and has called for the establishment of
            3,000 charter schools by the year 2000. However, adequate oversight of
            charter schools remains a concern, and clarifications regarding the degree
            to which student learning may be improved await the outcome of studies
            now underway. The ]CPA will monitor the charter school movement to
            assure that schools operate within constitutional boundaries consistent with
            existing]CPA interpretations regarding the separation of church and state,
            to ensure that public funds are used for public education purposes only,
            and that schools do not violate state and federal anti-discrimination laws.
              The ]CPA welcomes the President's call, in his State of the Union
            address, for the hiring of 100,000 new teachers to reduce class size to 18
            students in grades 1-3 nationwide. The ]CPA believes this proposal, aimed
            especially at some of the country's poorest and most troubled urban school

I           districts, would address a crucial factor in improving student achievement.
            Finally, despite opposition from those who challenged the concept of

            national tests, the Presidellt has continued to press for voluntary student
            tests in reading and mathematics to provide a single, reliable standard of
            academic achievement. Over the next year, debate will continue regarding
            whether the government should pay for such tests.

            The 1996 immigration law requires affidavits legally committing sponsors
            to support new immigrants and requires sponsors to have incomes no
            lower than 125 percent of the poverty level for a family of four. That
            requirement disqualifies nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population. Further,
            immigrants now entering the country will be ineligible for the major fed-
           eral anti-poverty programs for at least five years. Taken together, these
21l   JEWISH     COUNCIL      FOR   PUBLIC    AFF.'\IRS   .   AGENDA    1998-1999

      provisions could lower sig-          The ]CPA supports
      nificantly the number of
                                           legislation to reduce
      immigrants able to enter the
      U.S. to join their families,
                                           the naturalization backlog
      even though the principle of         in ways that provide
      family reunification has long        safeguards against fraud
      been a cornerstone of U.S.
      immigration policy. Of fur-
                                           without impeding access for
      ther concern, the new wel-           those legitimately seeking
      fare law will have a serious         to naturalize, or further
      impact on low-income
                                           restricting eligibility for
      immigrant families already
      here. While the Balanced
      Budget Agreement which passed last summer restored Supplemental
      Security Income benefits to elderly immigrants, it did not provide a rem-
      edy for the nearly one million legal immigrants who lost food stamps.
      Over 70 percent of those affected have incomes well below the federal
      poverty line. Among these are elderly and disabled immigrants, including a
      significant number of Jews who came originally as refugees from the for-
      mer Soviet Union. While many states have rightly stepped in to aid their
      immigrant populations, they cannot shoulder this effort alone. The JCPA
      will work with others in the immigrant advocacy community, for the
      restoration of food stamp benefits to needy immigrants.
        In its final report to Congress, the Commission on Immigration Reform
      released a study which emphasized contributions oflegal immigrants to the
      nation's economy and called for a campaign, welcomed by inmligration
      advocates, to integrate newcomers more effectively into American society.
      The Jewish community, long involved in the resettlement of newcomers,
      will continue work to expand access to English language and citizenship
      classes for inmugrants and refugees preparing to become naturalized citizens.
      Naturalization remains the key to full participation in all facets of American
      life, from shaping public policy and electing public officials to gaining eligi-
      bility for public benefits, should the need arise. Currently, more than 1.7
      million immigrants may wait as long as two years for action on their appli-
      cations for citizenship. The backlog, caused in part by increased demand,

             EQUAL     OI'PORTUNITY       AND    SOCIAL JUSTICE                            29

             was exacerbated by efforts to eliminate fraud in the citizenship process that
             have, instead, created new bureaucratic hurdles to naturalization. Although
             the INS has attempted to address the problem, efforts have been insuffi-
             cient, fueling a demand for legislative action to change the process. The

            JCPA supports legislation to reduce the naturalization backlog in ways that
             provide safeguards against fraud without impeding access for those legiti-
             mately seeking to naturalize, or further restricting eligibility for citizenship.

I              With regard to refugees, the jCPA has long supported generous admis-
             sions levels and maximum flexibility in setting annual U.S. admissions.
             The JCPA is therefore concerned that the annual ceiling for refugee

             admissions has been lowered by more than 50,000 in the last six years,
             despite the expanding need worldwide for safe haven by hundreds of

             thousands of refugees. The JCPA continues to recognize the persecution
             ofJews in the former Soviet Union and to support their right to be admit-
             ted as refugees in order to reunite with their families in the United States.
             At the same time, while the African continent is the source of more
             refugees than any other region, admissions numbers allocated to Africa his-
             torically, have been inadequate fix the need. The ]CPA and other jewish
             groups will work with coalition partners to address this issue.

               The influx of immigrants            While recognizing the need
             over the past 30 years has
                                                  for numerical procedures to
             created a dynamic ethnic
             mix, expanding and increas-           measure and help assure the
             ing the complexity of inter-          effectiveness of affirmative
             group relations. By the year          action programs, the ] CPA
             2000, Latinos are expected to
             be the largest ethnic minor-
                                                   has opposed quotas as incon-
             ity, while Asian Americans            sistent with the principle of
             are now the fastest growing           nondiscrimination.
             ethnic group. The rise in
             Latino participation in the political process will influence political dis-
             course, as leaders increasingly respond to this emerging constituency. At
30   JEWISH    r.OUNCIL     FOR   PUBLIC    AffAlllS   .    AGENDA   1998-1999

     the same time, it is important to note that, as with the Jewish community,
     some Latino groups are more lib~ral, others more conservative. The Asian
     American population, as well, is an amalgam of diverse ethnicities that
     affiliate differently. Thus, segments of each community may join with seg-
     ments of other ethnic and religious groups, including the Jewish commu-
     nity, partnering in different configurations on a variety of different issues.
     The Jewish community has a shared agenda with these groups on many
     public policy issues, has developed strong partnerships, most recently on
     immigratioll issues, and has joined forces also to protect minority rights.
       Meanwhile, the need to resolve issues of race that have affected African
     Americans historically remains central to the health of the nation. Debate
     regarding the degree to which circumstances have improved for African
     Americans is ongoing. Arguments recently have suggested that relations
     between the races are getting better as are the conditions of most African
     Americans. However, some insist this belief is dangerously wrong, that the
     specter of racism remains the dominant reality. Perceptions on both sides
     of this issue have influenced attitudes regarding the continued need for
     affirmative action programs. Suprcme Court refusal to review California's
     Proposition 209 affirmative action ban is expected to reinvigorate cam-
     paigns in 26 other states to enact similar measures. Just as the organized
     Jewish community worked closely with Asian, Latino, and African
     American groups to oppose Proposition 209, similar partnerships can be
     expected in battling these measures in other states.
       Meanwhile, an important vote in Houston, supporting affirmative
     action, has revealed the complexity of public views on this issue, suggest-
     ing the future of affirmative actioll may depend largely on the language in
     which it is framcd. While the language used in Proposition 209 was taken
     from the Civil Rights Act of 1964, in Houston, affirmative action oppo-
     nents were prevented from seizing the rhetorical high ground of civil
     rights language. Rather than being asked whether they wanted to ban dis-
     crimination, voters were asked whether they wished specifically to ban
     affirmative action. Some 55 percent said "no." Although opponents con-
     tinue to argue that affirmative action is no longer a defensible or necessary
     mechanism in the fight against discrimination, supporters of these measures
     have said that while a review of some programs may be warranted, a gen-

         EQUAL    OPPORTUNITY        AND     SOCIAL JUSTICE                         3I

         eral assessment will show not only that properly implemented programs
         work well, but that discrimination and barriers to cqual opportunity con-
         tinut' to require these remedies.
           The JCPA's longstanding position supports such affirmative action out-
         reach remedies as: compensatory education, training, and job counseling;
         intensive recruitment of qualified people; and ongoing review of job and
        admissions requirements to assurc that they arc performance-related and
        free of bias. The blurring oflines between affirmative action and quota-based
        preferences has heightened tensions around discussions of race in America.
        While recognizing the need for numerical procedures to measure and help
        assure the effectiveness of affirmative action programs, thc JCPA has opposed
        quotas as inconsistent with the principle of nondiscrimination. To deal with
        challenges to affirmative action and to highlight issues of race still to be
        resolved, the President annllunced a Race Initiative designed to articulate a
        vision of racial reconciliation and to develop solutions to difficult issues in
        critical areas. To move the discussion, he appointed a seven-member advisory
        board, the composition of which reflects the diversity of the nation. In
        February 1998, after completing its revicw of vouchers, the JePA launched
        a second yearlong policy review, entitled Bllilding Olle Nation; Race, Public
        Policy and Affirmatiw Action." The study, schcduled for completion in February
        1999, is expected to provide a structured opportunity to grapple produc-
        tively with diverse perspectives, strengthening the ability of the organized
        Jewish community to respond in constructive ways        to   the ongoing battle
        to end discrimination and eliminate barriers to equal opportunity.

        The Jewish community has             The Jewish community has
        long been concerned about
                                             long been concerned about
        violence perpetrated against
        women and the alarming               violence perpetrated against
        numbers, including Jewish            women and the alarming
        women, who face violence             numbers, including Jewish
        in their own homes. The
        ]ePA welcomed passage of
                                             women, who face violence
                                             in their own homes.
32         JEWISH     COUNCIL      FOR   PUBLIC     AFFAIRS·      AGENDA      1998-1999

           the Violence Against Women Act in t 994 and was dismayed that a Family
           Violence Option (FVO) was removed from the t 997 Labor-HHS-
           Education Appropriations bill, after House leaders refused to support the
           provision's temporary exemption of victims of domestic violence from
           time limits and work requirements in the t 996 wclf.1re law. The ]CPA will
           work with others for enactment of an FVO in 1998.
              In the ongoing debate between the Administration and members of
           Congress over issues affecting reproductive choice, legislators are awaiting
           another presidential veto of the late term abortion bill, passed for the sec-
           ond time this year. In addition to the federal legislation, many states are
           battling similar, if not identical legislative initiatives. Anti-choice activists
           can be expected to continue attempts to enact the legislation, viewed by
           buth sides in the debate as the first step in a renewed assault on the land-
           mark 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, which established a
           woman's right to reproductive choice. The ]CPA has long supported a
           woman's legal right and access to reproductive choice and to adequately
           funded family planning programs in the     u.s. and abroad.

DISSENT:   The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (UO]CA)
           does not, as a matter oflong-standing policy, join the Jewish Public Affairs
           Agenda discussion of "reproductive choice." We cannot endorse a public
           policy that does not reflect the complex response of halacha Oewish law)
           to the abortion issue. In most circumstances the halacha proscribes abor-
           tion but there are cases in which halacha permits and indeed mandates
           abortion. The question is a sensitive one and personal decisions in this area
           should be made in consultation with recognized halachic authorities.
       EQUAL    OPPORTUNITY        AND   SOCIAL     JUSTICE                      33

       In light of the still com-          The ]CPA recif.firms its
       pelling needs of the unin-
                                           belie] that Medicare and
       sured and underinsured and
       the organized Jewish com-           Medicaid must remain
       munity's longstanding posi-         basic entitlement programs
       tion in support of universal        and that Medicaid must
       health care, the JCPA calls
       upon federal and state gov-
                                           remain available universally
       ernments to develop system-         to the poor and disabled.
       wide approaches to assuring
       adequate and affordable health care coverage for all individuals and fami-
       lies, regardless of income. The ] CPA welcomes the establishment of a fed-
       eral Child Health Assistance Program, providing block grant funds to states
       to expand healthcare coverage for uninsured children. The ]CPA will
       encourage states to access and spend this money.
         In 1997, efforts were renewed to reduce the scope of services provided
       under the public health care programs of Medicare and Medicaid and to
       increase the use of managed care within those programs. The ]CPA reaf-
       firms its belief that Medicare and Medicaid must remain basic entitlement
       programs and that Medicaid must remain available universally to the poor
       and disabled. Two-thirds of nursing home residents, including many
       Jewish elderly, rely on Medicaid. Recently, concerns haw arisen regarding
       state proposals to scale back Medicaid reimbursement rates to nursing
       homes, following repeal of the Boren amendment, which guaranteed pay-
       ments sufficient to meet government quality and safety standards. Further,
       those elderly who rely heavily on home health care are also witnessing a
       decrease in the scope of services allowed under government health care
       programs. The Jewish community will monitor and challenge attempts by
       governmental and non-governmental entities to reimburse nursing home
       facilities and home health care agencies at rates below what is needed to
       provide quality care. Meanwhile, the President has endorsed a health care
       "bill of rights" to provide insured patients easier access to treatment, more
       information about health plans, and better grievance procedures. While
34   JEWISII   COUNCIL      FOR   PUBLIC    AFFAIRS'      AGENDA     1998-1999

     legislative action may be blocked by those who fear new regulations will
     raise costs, the organized Jewish community will vigorously support these
     measures as ensuring adequate, affordable, accessible health care coverage
     consistent with JCPA's Health Care Principles, adopted in June, 1993.
       New tests to identify genetic mutations which render individuals sus-
     ceptihle to certain diseases have increased the potential for employment
     and insurance discrimination. The Jewish community has become increas-
     ingly concerned with this issue, as a result of findings that mutations in
     certain genes which may increase the likelihood of developing certain can-
     cers are potentially more prevalent among Ashkenazi Jews. The JCPA,
     which co-sponsored with Hadassah a National Leadership Meeting on
     Genetics in April 1YLJ8, has pledged support for federal and state legislative
     measures to prevent genetic-based employment and insurance discrimina-
     tion and to ensure the confidentiality of medical records.
                                                                                                   "., 44,( $   ..,

            JEWISH     SECUUITY    AND       TilE   IlILL   01'   niGHTS                     35

                                                    Jewish Security
                                                    and The Bill of Rights

           ((Proclaim liberty
        throughout the land
                 unto all the
       inhabitants there£?!' "
                    -LEVITICUS,    25: r 0

h e organized Jewish community has long been profoundly aware that maintain-
ing a firm wall between church and state is essential to religious freedom and to the
creative and distinctive survival of diverse religious groups, such as our own. Given
the historic ebb and flow of attempts to challenge the principle of strict separation
between church and state in America, vigorous dIorts to protect that cherished con-
stitutional right must continue. Similarly, our comll1unity relllaillS actively engaged
in the struggle to protect the right of each American         to   follow the dictates of his or
her own conscience ill matters of religious belief, free hom government intrusion.

A long-held principle of cOIllIllunity relations is that the security of Jews ill America
depends not only on the nature and extent of overt anti-Semitism, but on the
strength of the American democratic process and of those traditions and institutions
that foster and protect individual fi·eedolll. Therefore, in addition to our abiding con-
cern with manifestations of anti-Jewish attitudes, the Jewish comlllunity relations
field is committed to a vigilant defense against any and all threats to an open, demo-
cratic and pluralistic society.
36     JEWISH     COUNCIL     POR   PUBLIC    AFFAIRS·      AGENDA      1998-1999

       In recent years, increasing attention has been paid to the appropriate limits
       of religious influence on American civic life. As the hue and cry over a dearth
       of societal "values" escalates, and the nation continues to confront seemingly
       endemic problems of crime, poverty, and illiteracy, defenders of church-
       state separation have been accused of using the First Amendment to effectively
       remove religion, and hence core values, from American society. Religious
       institutions and religiously affiliated organizations are touted as the answer
       in areas that government is perceived to have failed, whether educating our
       children, serving the destitute or rehabilitating criminals. Even the U.S.
       Supreme Court has retreated from its earlier jurisprudence, which mandated
       strict church/state separation. The Jewish community relations field will
       increasingly be challenged to respond to this yearning for common morals
       and values in a manner that docs not compromise bedrock principles of
       religious freedom and tolerance that have made the United States a safe-
       haven for persecuted minorities for over two centuries.
           Although American Jews continue to enjoy relative security and prosper-
       ity, the specter of anti-Semitism has not completely vanished. According
       to the ADL's annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents, 1,571 anti-Semitic
       incidents were reported in 1997, a welcome decrease of 9% from 1996.
       However, the number of anti-Semitic incidents on college campuses rose by
       14% from the previous year. The JCPA will continue to be vigilant in the
       war against bigotry in the United States, recognizing that those constitu-
       tional protections that have recently been subject to attack are perhaps the
       most potent antidote to intolerance and hatred in America.
           Decades after the end of World War II, the world continues to struggle
       with the practical, emotional, and spiritual ramifications of one of the
       darkest episodes inJewish, and indeed human, history. Hardly a day passes
       without the publication of another revelation about the complicity of neutral
       and Allied countries in the theft of gold and other assets from Jewish victims
       of the Holocaust. The ]CPA will continue to coordinate efforts among its
       member agencies to serve the needs of individual claimants and the Jewish
       community at-large, through advocacy with federal, state and local govern-
       ments, outreach and education, and consultation with direct service providers.
        JEWISH     SECURITY      AND      THE   B[LL   0['   R[GIITS               37

        Religious Freedom Amendment:             The resounding defeat of
        In February 1998 the House
        Judiciary Committee voted
                                                 the RFA, and any alterna-
        to support HJ.Res. 78, the               tive measures that would
        Religious Freedom Amend-                 likewise impinge upon
        ment (RFA), which states in
                                                 religious jreedoms, remains
        part, "the people's right to
        pray and to recognize their
                                                 one if the highest priorities
        religious beliefs, heritage, or         jor the organized Jewish
        traditions on public property            community.
        including schools, shall not
        be infringed." This vote
        marked the first time any pro-school prayer initiative had received a favor-
        able report from a full Congressional committee. A House floor vote is
        expected sometime in spring 1998. Proponents of the amendment assert
        that, in light of the Supreme Court's decision striking down the Religious
        Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), the RFA is the best means of protect-
        ing religious liberty in the United States. (cross-reference to RFRA sec-
        tion below). To the contrary, the RFA poses a grave threat to religious lib-
        erty. The amendment would permit, and may even require, government
        to subsidize services and activities sponsored by pervasively sectarian insti-
        tutions. It would also permit and encourage the institution of state-sanc-
        tioned school prayer in public schools across America. Furthermore, the
        bill casts the First Amendment in an exceptionally narrow fashion, by
        restricting only those government actions that constitute the establishment
        of an qJJicial religion, rather than any action that leads to the endorsement
        of religion. The resounding defeat of the RFA, and any alternative mea-
        sures that would likewise impinge upon religious freedoms, remains one of
        the highest priorities for the organized Jewish community.
)~   .-b
8          JEWISH        COUNCIL    fOil   PUBLIC    AfFAlllS   .   AGENDA   1998-1999

           Charitable Choice: Efforts continue to establish precedents for government
           funding of religious institutions through language tacked on to human ser-
           vice legislation. Such "charitable choice" initiatives would allow public
           funds to be allocated for social services administered by pervasively sectar-
           ian organizations or programs. For example, the Ashcroft Amendment,
           included in the landmark 1996 welfare reform legislation, allows sectarian
           organizations to compete for con traces or participate in voucher programs
           whenever a state uses private sector providers to deliver welfare services.
           Similar provisions are included in the Violent and Repeat Juvenile
           Offender Act pending in Congress, and in other legislative initiatives. The
           JCPA is very concerned about growing support for such programs. The
           provision of public funds to pervasively sectarian institutions, no matter
           how noble the purpose, seriously compromises church/state separation.
           Clients of public benefit programs should not be compelled to receive ser-
           vices in an environment where, as "captive audiences," they may be
           indoctrinated in some way or subjected to religious messages against their
           will. Furthermore, charitable choice initiatives would result in the alloca-
           tion of public funds to institutions that can, and often do, discriminate in
           hiring based upon religious belief These institutions will in turn be subject
           to a higher degree of government scrutiny and regulation, thereby infring-
           ing upon their autonomy. Notwithstanding its concerns about charitable
           choice initiatives, the Jewish community relations field reiterates its com-
           mitment to working with coalition partners to address the many serious
           problems confronted by our nation's disadvantaged populations, partiClI-
           larly in inner-city areas.

ISSENT: The      Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (UOJCA)
           strongly supports carefully crafted charitable choice initiatives. Such initia-
           tives provide religious institutions with government assistance -        on the
           basis of religion-neutral criteria -   for the purpose of supporting social ser-
           vice programs for which the government already supports other non-gov-
           ernment service providers. By utilizing grant criteria that are religion-neu-
           tral, and thus, permitting a religious entity to qualify and receive
           government funds, the state neither advance religion nor discriminates
           against it.
JEWISH    SECURITY      AND   THE   BILL   OF   RIGHTS                      3Y

Religion i1l the Public Schools: Our nation's public schools continue to be a
battleground for religious conflict. The constitutionality of student-led
prayers at commencement ceremonies continues to be debated in feder31
court. In defiance of numerous judicial orders, school districts around the
country continue to permit organized, faculty-led or faculty-sponsored
school prayer. The JCPA continues to oppose all forms of organized public
prayer, whether student-led or otherwise, at or in connection with school-
sponsored events or activities, whether led by students, 6culty, or others,
including "moments of silence" intended as a subterfuge for state-spon-
sored prayer. Government sponsorship of prayer in any form, whether
spoken or silent, violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment
at least in part because of the coercive effect it has on students. Such
prayers often lead to harassment and ostracism. The JCPA reiterates that
students have the right to cngage in private, voluntary, non-coercive
prayer, and to discuss religion in school with willing participants.
  Effi)rts have intensified to infusc public school curricula with religious
mcssages, for example through the teaching of creationism as science and
teaching the Bible as factual history. While the JCPA recognizes that reli-
gion has played an important role in shaping civilization, and that teaching
about religion is therefore an important aspect of school curricula, the
teaching of religious doctrine as fact violates the Establishment Clause.

Religious Symbols ill Public Places: The display of religious symbols on gov-
ernment propcrty continues to cause great controversy. The Ten
Commandments and other Judeo-Christian symbols remain on exhibit in
courthouses and courtrooms throughout the United States. Perhaps the
most notorious case involvcs an Alabama state judge who not only defied a
court order to remove the Ten Commandments from his courtroom wall,
but also began each court session with an organized public prayer that he
described as "Judea-Christian." The Jewish community relations field will
continue to vigorously oppose the use of government propcrty as a forum
for thc promotion of religious views. While Jews respect the important
role that religion plays in shaping private and public morals, religion
should not be on display in the nation's courtrooms, which are meant to
represent thc impartial, objective application of ,ecular rule of law. Nor
~J         JEWISH     COUNCIL     fOR   PUBLIC     AHAlllS    .   AGENDA    1998-1999

           should religious items be placed in other public areas, where the danger of
           implied government sponsorship is present, and where insensitivity to
           those of different faiths is particularly oppressive and threatening.

'ISSENT:   The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations in America (UOJCA) does
           not join the blanket condemnation of religious displays on government
           property. The U.S. Supreme Court has provided broad guidelines permit-
           ting such displays and has stated that if properly constructed, religious dis-
           plays may be erected upon government property without fear that such
           will be understood to constitute government endorsement of religion.

           Public Funding of Religious Education: The Supreme Court's decision in
           Agostini v. Felton, permitting the use of public funds to subsidize remedial
           instruction on private sectarian school premises, has left many questions
           unanswered. Although the Court did preserve the Establishment Clause
           analysis developed in Lemon v. Kurtzman, it partially overturned its 1985
           decision in Grand Rapids v. Ball that had prohibited public school faculty
           from teaching secular subjects at parochial schools after school hours. The
           court's language could be interpreted to mean that it would be permissible
           for public school systems to partially or even fully administer the secular
           education of parochial school students. The Asostifli decision reflects a
           broader legal trend to move towards a standard of equality or rleutrality with
           respect to public funding of religious schools. The Court appears to be
           increasingly less troubled by the notion of government providing funds to
           parochial schools as long as the same opportunities for funding are available
           to non-sectarian private schools and public schools and the government is
           not perceived to be directly involved with the provision of religious ser-
           vices or to be favoring one religion over another.
              It remains unclear what, if any, impact, Agostitli will have on the school
           voucher debate. However, regardless of the eventual fate of voucher pro-
           grams in the courts, the JCPA remains strongly opposed to voucher and
           scholarship plans that would allow public funds to flow to private schools,
           be they sectarian or non-sectarian. This position, most recently reaffirmed
           by the 1998 Plenum after a comprehensive yearlong study, is based on sev-
           eral essential principles of long-standing importance to a majority of
           JEWISII SECURITY          AND   THE   BILL   OF   RIGHTS                    41

           American Jews: the inherent value of public education to all Americans
           and the need to maintain rigorous separation of church and state as dic-
           tated by the First Amendment. Voucher programs will not contribute to
           the enhancement of public education, which has been and remains a train-
           ing ground for democracy among American youth. I Moreover, the provi-
           sion of public funds to private sectarian schools would constitute an
           unconstitutional entanglement of government with the promotion of reli-
           gious practice and belief.
                At the same time, the JCPA believes that the education provided by
           Jewish day schools presents an important means of promoting Jewish con-
           tinuity. Therefore, students enrolled in these schools should continue to
           receive extant, court-approved, non-sectarian educational benefits, includ-
           ing school district provision of transportation, secular textbooks, and
           police and fire department services.
                A new strategy for obtaining public support for sectarian schools is gain-
           ing momentum on both the federal and state levels. Tax credits or deduc-
           tions for educational expenses, which may include religious school tuition,
           have been enacted in several states. The JCPA has long opposed such tax
           credits, largely for the same reasons it opposes vouchers.

DISSENT:   The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (UOJCA)
           continues to favor educational choice programs. We believe that the
           Jewish community has traditionally been committed to principles includ-
           ing a commitment of social justice that seeks to minimize the role of
           wealth in securing one's basic needs, and a desire to stem the tide of assim-
           ilation that should lead it to support school choice initiatives. Moreover,
           we concur with the Supreme Court's well established reasoning that the
           Establishment Clause requires not hostility, but neutrality toward religious
           individuals and institutions. We join in expressing a commitment to a
           vibrant educational system, and we believe that school choici initiatives
           will improve the entire educational system for all of America's fhildren.

           1   Copies of the full report of the ]CPA Ad Hoc Committee on Vouchers
           are available upon request.
11''''   JEWISH     COUNCIL      ~()R   PUBLIC   AFFAIRS'      AGENDA      1998-1999

         The Rel('.IioHs Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA): The U.s. Supreme Court's
         ruling in City of Boerne    1', Flores striking down the Religious Freedom

         Restoration Act (RFRA) as a violation of constitutional limits on
         Congressional power, rather than on substantive grounds, has created new
         challenges for Jewish agencies and their coalition partners in the civilliber-
         ties and religious communities, The Court's action resulted in the resur-
         rection of the 1990 Smith decision as the reigning law of the land, thereby
         once again permitting state and local governments to burden religious
         practice through the enforcement of neutrally designed and applied laws.
         The JCPA concurs with its coalition partners in asserting that the Boerne
         decision did not strike down RFRA in so far as it applies to actions by the
         federal government.
           The JCPA continues to believe that Smith was wrongly decided, and
         that its enforcement represents a serious threat to religious liberty in the
         United States. An unprecedented coalition of national religious, civic, and
         advocacy organizations, including the ]CPA, has continued to work
         together to pursue alternative means of securing the religiolIs protections
         previously provided by the RFRA statute. Proposed strategies include:
         drafting a narrower federal bill that would pass judicial muster; promoting
         the passage of "mini-RFRAs" in each of the 50 states and the District of
         Columbia; and promoting the passage of state or federal constitutional
         amendments. At this time the JCPA opposes the latter route, in favor of
         more modest statutory solutions that will serve RFRA's purpose without
         amending the U,S, or state constitutions. The JCPA strongly supports
         efforts to pass state RFRAs. Jewish community rclations agencies should
         strive to secure passage of state RFRA legislation modeled closely after the
         federal law, free oflanguage that exempts certain populations, such as pris-
         OIlers, from the bill's protection.

         Rcl('.Iion in the Workplace: Securing religious freedom in the workplace COI1-
         tinues to be a high priority for the Jewish community, In the summer of
         1997, PresideIlt Clinton announced the implementation of Guidelines on
         RI'i(\!.io/ls Exer[ise and Religiolls Expression in the Workplace, which address
         issues of religious expression, accommodation, and discrimination in fed-
         eral workplaces. The Workplace Religious Freedom Act (WRFA), cur-
        JEWISH    SECURITY         AND   THE   !lILL   OF   UIGHTS                    43

        rently pending in Congress, would extend similar protections        to   employ-
        ees in the private sector, by imposing upon private employers a meaningflll
        obligation to accommodate their employees' religious practices. The
       Jewish community relations field strongly supports passage of this legislation,
        which would strengthen religious accommodation provisions of the Civil
        Rights Act that have recently been weakencd through unduly narrow
       judicial interpretations.

       Affirmative Action:                      Current ]CPA policy,
       The Supreme Court's refusal
                                                recifJirmed in 1995,
       to review a Ninth Circuit
       decision upholding the con-
                                                supports the principle
       stitutionality of California's           of cifJirmative action as
       Proposition 209 is sure to               the best available means
       encourage other states to
       adopt similar measures, there-
                                               for correctin<.,? inequities
       by resulting in new legal                due to discrimination,
       battles. In addition, the con-           while opposing the use
       stitutionality of Proposition
       209 as applied (rather than as
                                                if quotas and proportional
       enacted) will undoubtedly
       be challenged in federal court. The settlement of the Taxmal1 1'. Piscataway case,
       involving an affirmative action preference policy designed to achieve work-
       force diversity rather than remedy actual discrimination, leaves for another
       day the inevitable Supreme Court battle over the constitutionality of broadly
       designed race-based preference programs. Several cases currently winding
       their way through the federal courts, some dealing with college admissions
       programs, will once again raise the issue. Current JCPA policy, reaffirmed
       in 1995, supports the principle of affinllative action as the best available means
       for correcting inequities due to discrimination, while opposing the use of
       quotas and proportional representation. The JCPA therefore opposes
       wholesale legal attacks against affirmative action programs that would flatly
       prohibit in ,,1/ cases the use of race as one criterion for inclusion.

          JEWISH     COUNCIL     fOR   PUBLIC    AFfAIIIS    .   AGENDA   1998- 1 999
' ....,

          First Amendment Implications of Cyber-Space: In response to the Supreme
          Court decision striking down the Communications Decency Act (CDA)
          as an unlawful infringement of free speech rights, alternative means of reg-
          ulating offensive materials accessible over computer network services are
          being considered. Proposals include utilizing Internet "filters" -   software
          that will screen out particular words or categories of material that are
          deemed oftcnsive -     either at the producer or user ends of the network,
          and creating a single uniform rating system that would be built into search
          engines. The Jewish community remains deeply concerned about the pro-
          liferation of Internet web-sites that preach anti-Semitism, racism, and
          other forms of hatred. However, in addressing this problem, First
          Amendment tree speech principles must be respected. As an increasing
          number of American households gain Internet access, it will be necessary
          to balance the desire to preserve constitutional freedoms with the need to
          ensure that children and others are not easily and consistently exposed to
          messages of hatred and violence on their computer screens. The Anti-
          Defamation League has already begun to play an important role in helping
          the cyber-space industry strike this important balance.

          Campa(~n   Finance Reform: Continued fallout from the 1996 presidential
          campaign led Congress to conduct extensive investigations into political
          party fund-raising while simultaneously quashing legislative initiatives to
          reform the system that fostered the activities in question. The jCPA
          applauds continued efforts by members of Congress to pursue comprehen-
          sive electoral reform, in the face of daunting opposition. Congress' failure
          to enact campaign finance reform in 1998 will shift this battle to state capi-
          tols, which will cOllSider enacting their own reform measures. The jCPA
          has long supported the following campaign finance reforms: voluntary
          spending limits for and/or public financing of congressional elections; the
          prohibition of "soft money" abuses; limits on political action committee
          (PAC) contributions to individual candidates; and limits on the aggregate
          PAC contributions a candidate can receive.
        JEWISH    SECURITY      AND       THE   BILL   01'   RIGHTS              45

        Hate Crimes: In November                 The Hate Crimes
        1997 President Clinton hosted
                                                 Prevention Act (HCPA),
        a landmark White House
        conference on hate crimes,
                                                 currently pendin,g in
        highlighting the need for                Congress, would expand
        intensified efforts to stem the          existing federal hate crimes
        epidemic of bias-related
        crime in the United States.
                                                 laws to apply to violent acts
        In 1996, 11,355 hate crimes              motivated by the victim's
        were reported to the Federal            gender, sexual orientation,
        Bureau of Investigation,
                                                 or disability, and would
        63% of which were based on
        race, 16% on religion, 12%
                                                 otherwise enhance the
        on sexual orientation, and              federal government's ability
        11 % on ethnicity. Of the                to investigate and prosecute
        religion-based crimes, 79%
        were against Jews, compris-
                                                 bias-related crime.
        ing 13% of the total. The
        Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA), currently pending in Congress,
        would expand existing federal hate crimes laws to apply to violent acts
        motivated by the victim's gender, sexual orientation, or disability, and
        would otherwise e,;hance the federal government's ability to investigate
        and prosecute bias-related crime. The goals of this bill are consistent with
        existing JCPA policy, and therefore JCPA supports its passage. The JCPA
        further supports intensified cooperation between law enforcement person-
        nel and community relations agencies to fIght bias-related crimes at the
        grass roots level, through education, outreach, coalition building,
        improved provision of victims' services, and rigorous investigation and
        prosecution. Finally, the JCPA urges the passage of hate crimes legislation
        in the 10 states that have not already done so.
          Jewish communal agencies will continue to provide moral and political
        leadership in fulfIlling this comprehensive agenda.
\.....\'"JEWISH   COUNCIL   FOR   PUBLIC AFfAIRS'         AGENDA     1998-1999

     lHilitias and Common Law Courts: The United States is still confronting the
     danger of violent, anti-democratic militia groups that variously preach
     anti-Semitism, racism, and hatred of many other groups. The JCPA's inau-
     gural public affairs survey indicated that, of 6800 Federation affiliated Jews
     polled, 78% believe anti-Semitism among extremist groups is increasing,
     far more than the number that fear anti-Semitism from religious funda-
     mentalists or the Nation of Islam. Increasingly, hate groups are using the
     Internet to spread their message. (insert cross-reference to cyber-space dis-
     cussion). Many groups have established common-law court systems in
     defiance of federal authority. The organized Jewish community will con-
     tinue to take a leading role in combating extremist forces in the United
    States, by supporting anti-terrorism statutes where appropriate and pro-
     moting diversity education among students to reduce the number of
     young adults recruited into extremist organizations.

     Holocaust Revisionism: There has been a resurgence of Holocaust revisionist
    activities on the nation's college campuses, especially via college newspaper
    advertisements. For the first time, revisionists and deniers have also begun
     to disseminate videotapes and other literature to high schools and elemen-
     tary schools. Jewish community rclations organizations must playa pivotal
    role in exposing these fraudulent "historians," particularly among campus'
     newspaper editors and staff who change from year to year and may be
     unfamihar with Holocaust revisionism. The community must also con-
     tinue to promote the implementation of comprehensive Holocaust educa-
     tion curricula in the nation's elementary and secondaty schools and on col-
    lege campuses. The need for intensified campus outreach and activism is
     highlighted by the 14% increase in anti-Semitic incidents on college cam-
    puses generally in 1997, as reported in the annual ADL Audit of Anti-
    Semitic Incidents.
        JEWISH    SECURITY       AND    THE   BILL   OF   RIGHTS                    47

        The JCPA welcomes efforts             The ]CPA recognizes
        by the Vatican and other
                                              the fundamental right of
        individuals and groups, such
        as the Catholic bishops of            Holocaust survivors and
        France and Germany, to                heirs to ((have their day
        publicly apologize for their          in court" by pursuing
        failure to assist Jews during
        the Holocaust, and their his-
                                              individual claims through
        toric role in fostering anti-         the judicial system, and
        Semitic fervor that often led         believes that worldwide
        to anti-Jewish violence. The
                                              diplomatic ifforts should
       JCPA further welcomes ini-
        tiatives by many nations to           not minimize or
        explore their governments'            undermine that right.
        involvement       with    the
       seizure of and failure to return looted assets to Jewish t'll11ilies and their
        heirs, and to appropriately compensate individual survivors and the Jewish
        community at-large. The United States has joined in this endeavor by
        helping to create an international fund to assist survivors, to which it has
        already allocated $25 million. Beyond the restoration of looted assets,
        every effort must be made to expeditiously address the failure of insurance
        companies to payout claims to heirs of insured Holocaust victims, and to
        determine the rightful ownership of fine art stolen from Jewish households
        during the war.
          Most Jewish community agencies, as well as the United States govern-
        ment, support continued negotiations with the Swiss government and
        other countries and deferral of more punitive approaches. Questions
        regarding that strategy h:lve created some conflict within the jewish com-
        munity and will likely continue to do so, especially if certain entities and
        individuals persist in their reluctance to fully cooperate with ongoing
       investigations and restitution efforts. Several large class action suits against
       banks, insurance companies, and other entities, arc currently pending in
       U.S. federal district courts. The jCPA recognizes the fundamental right of
                                                                                 aiA   ,~

 ~~EWISH      COUNCIL     FOR   PUBLIC   AfFAIRS·     AGENDA     1998-1999

    Holocaust survivors and heirs to "have their day in court" by pursuing
    individual claims through the judicial system, and believes that worldwide
    diplomatic efforts should not minimize or undermine that right.

   Relationships between jews          With the approach cif
   and Catholics and mainstream
                                      the year 2000, repentance
   Protestants remain strong
    nationally and locatly. The
                                      and reconciliation are
   jCPA continues to enhance          among themes being
   its working relationship with      emphasized within the
   the National Conference of
   Catholic Bishops and the
                                      Roman Catholic Church,
   National Council of Churches      generating a re-examination
   on issues of common con-           cif Christian roles and
   cern (including, for example,
                                      responsibilities with regard
   the National Religious Part-
   nership on the Environ-
                                      to anti-Semitism and the
   ment). Work continues as           Holocaust, and strengthening
   well on shared civil liberties     ifforts to enhance mutual
   and social policy concerns.
   In March 1998, the jCPA
                                      understanding among
   and the Bishops' Committee        Jewish and Christian
   for Ecumenical and Inter-          communities.
   religious Affairs, National
   Conference of Catholic Bishops, sponsored a trip to Israel and Rome
   for American rabbis and bishops, which was characterized in a state-
   ment issued at its conclusion as "a remarkable journey of dialogue and
   understanding." An important feature of the trip was that bishops were
   paired with rabbis from the same cities across the nation, enabling the
   dialogue to continue not only on the national level but in local com-
   munities as well.
       With the approach of the year 2000, repentance and reconciliation are
   among themes being emphasized within the Roman Catholic Church,
JEWISH    SECURITY      AND    THE   BILL   Of   RIGHTS                    49

generating a re-examination of Christian roll's and responsibilities with
regard to anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, and strengthening efforts to
enhance mutual understanding among Jewish and Christian communities.
In March, the Vatican released a long-awaited document promised to
Jewish leaders in 1987, analyzing the role of the Church during the
Holocaust. While expressing regret for the "errors and (,ilures" of individ-
ual Roman Catholics during the Holocaust, the report stopped short of
acknowledging responsibility for failures by church leaders or by the
Church as an institution. Moreover, the document did not fully address
many questions regarding the official role of the Church in the evolution
of anti-Semitism and its culmination in the Holocaust. Although initial
response within the Jewish community reflected disappointment in the
document's failures, there was also recognition that the report represented
an important step forward. It called for repentance for evil done, empha-
sized the importance of remembrance, denounced anti-Semitism, and
acknowledged the need for further scholarly study. So that such study may
be pursued, Jewish leaders have renewed calls for the Vatican to open its
archives fully to scholars, historians, and other academics.
  Elsewhere, the Jewish community remains concerned about missionary
work targeted at Jews, to which millennial themes of evangelism may add
new energy. The Jewish community will continue to monitor such groups
as the Southern Baptist Convention (Sne), the nation's largest Protestant
denomination which, in June 1996, called for renewed efforts to convert
Jews to Christianity. Acknowledging that proselytizing activities are pro-
tected behavior under the Free Exercise clause of the First Amendment,
the field has nevertheless long opposed missionary work specifically tar-
geted at Jews as offensive and destructive of good intergroup relations.
  Statements issued by mainline Protestant groups (such as proposals to
make Jerusalem a shared city) continue to emerge, criticizing the approach
of the Israeli government to peace process deliberations. Jewish leaders
should be prepared to deal with the criticism, interpreting Israeli policy to
ensure that facts are dear and charges not exaggerated. At the same time,
the relationship between Israel and the Vatican was strengthened by the
signing of agreements granting special status under Israeli law to Roman
Catholic churches, orders, and institutions.
:~G   JEWISH   COUNCIL     FOR   PUBLIC    AFFAIRS'    AGENDA     1998-1999

        In Washington, Jewish and Christian groups worked together to address
      issues surrounding a proposed legislation dealing with persecution of
      Christians and other religious minorities around the globe. While work is
      underway 011 the particulars, the JCPA has welcomed attention to the seri-
      ous problem of religious persecution and pledged to work with coalition
      partners to find appropriate mechanisms to address the concerns.
           THE   ENVIRONMENT        AND    JEWISH   LIfE                            5I

                                              The Environment
                                              and Jewish Life

    ((Therefore choose life,
          that you and your
  descendants may live.               )J

             -DEUTERONOMY, 30:19

G      rowing Jewish action to protect the integrity of creation complements the
Jewish community's historic commitment to a just society. Our I3iblical tradition
establishes an ethical imperative to address contemporary ecological problems in a
manner that protects the vulnerable, preserves creation, and promotes the common
good. Though .significant progress has been made in recent decades    011   a number of
issues, such as improving the quality of air and water in the United States, many chal-
lenges lie ahead: reducing the emission of greenhouse gasses that are causing global
warming through conservation and technological innovation; halting the rapid
destruction of old growth forests, coral reefs, and other endangered habitats; reducing
the exposure of children, workers, and disenfranchised cOlllmunities to toxic chemi-
cals; slowing human population growth through the promotion of family planning
and the empowerment of women; protecting agriculture lands and water sources to
ensure adequate nourishment and sanitation for the world's growing population. The
Jewish public affairs community embraces these environmental challenges and urges
all societal institutions and citizens to join together to pursue environmental justice
and the safekeeping of the earth for generations to come.
  ::::t-JEWISH   COUNCIL    FOR   PUBLIC    AFFAIRS'     AGENDA     1998-1999


~MBLE                                                                                PREI
      Although public support for environmental protection remains bipartisan
      and strong, and numerous forward-looking corporations have undertaken
      environmental initiatives, highly organized and well-funded special interest
      groups seek to undermine existing environmental protections and to pre-
      vent new protections from being enacted. Analyses which show a correla-
      tion between contributions to members of Congress from industry groups
      and their voting records on environmental legislation raise important ques-
      tions about the impact of the current campaign financing system on efforts
      to protect the environment and public health.
         Environmental degradation continues to have a disproportionate impact
      on low income and minority communities. In the U.S., people of color and
      poor people are still considerably more likely to live in close proximity to
      hazardous facilities. Hundreds of millions of people in developing nations
      lack access to clean air and clean water. And industrialized nations con-
      tinue to export hazardous waste to poor nations seeking foreign exchange.
         In the coming year, the Jewish community relations field will be called
      upon to educate the Jewish public about environmental challenges, partic-
      ularly global climate change, and the need for citizen participation. The
      organized Jewish community continues to make common cause with the
      Catholic, mainline Protestant, and evangelical Christian communities
      through the National Religious Partnership for the Environment. The
      Jewish member of the Partnership, the Coalition on the Environment and
      Jewish Life (COEJL), encompasses 26 national Jewish agencies, a network
      of over 2,000 local Jewish institutions, and thousands of activists around
      the world working to integrate environmental education and action into
      Jewish life.
                                                                                      <ilC : . ,


        THE   ENVIRONMENT       AND JEWISH      LIFE                            53

       The International Panel on           The ]CPA supports the
       Climate Change (IPeq, a
       group of over 2,000 climate
                                            immediate adoption of
       scientists charged to evaluate       policies to reduce greenhouse
       the data on climate change,         gas emissions, particularly
       has found that the burning           programs that use pricing to
       of fossil fuels is likely con-
       tributing to the warming of
                                            lower demand for fossil fuels,
       the earth. The IPCC pro-             encourage the development
       jects that, if no action is          of non-polluting energy
       taken to reduce greenhouse
                                            sources, and raise revenue
       gas emissions, the earth's
       average temperature may             Jor public projects that would
       rise between 2 and 6.5               lower carbon emissions,
       degrees Fahrenheit by the            such as mass transit.
       year 2100. This could result
       in the spread of tropical dis-
       eases; rising sea levels; hunger and malnutrition due to impaired food pro-
       duction in many developing countries; floods, droughts, and forest fires
       increasing due to climatic shifts; and species extinction due to the disrup-
       tion and migration of ecosystems.
         In December 1997, 150 nations gathered in Kyoto, Japan and negoti-
       ated the first binding agreement to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.
       The "Kyoto Protocol" commits the industrialized nations to reduce, their
       emissions of six greenhouse gasses by an average of 5.2 percent.
         The United States agreed to bring its emissions 7 percent below 1990
       levels by the year 2012. The European Union, which pressed for an even
       more aggressive target, agreed to an 8 percent reduction, and Japan agreed
       to a 6 percent reduction. The agreement allows industrialized nations to
       trade emissions reduction credits among themselves, creating a free-market
       mechanism for achieving emissions reductions at the lowest cost.
       Questions have been raised that this provision creates an opportunity for
       wealthy nations to buy their way into compliance. All nations will gather
4   JEWISH     COUNCIL     fOil   PUBLIC    AFFAIIlS   .   AGENDA    1998-1999

    in Argentina in November 1998 to finalize the emissions trading program
    and discuss other outstanding issues.
      While the industrialized nations are most responsible for global warm-
    ing, developing nations will be most severely impacted by climate change.
    Subsistence fanners are most vulnerable to changing rainfall patterns; poor
    residents of coastal areas or floodplains are least able to relocate; undevel-
    oped areas are least able to prevent the spread of infectious disease.
      The inclusion of developing nations in the Kyoto Protocol remains the
    subject of intensive debate. Many developing nations, most notably China
    and rndia, are rapidly expanding their use of fossil fuels. However, devel-
    oping nations are looking to industrialized nations to take action first
    before making commitments to reduce their own emissions. Industrialized
    nations, though only one-fifth of the world's population, emit approxi-
    mately four-fifths of global carbon emissions. And the U.S., with less than
    5 percent of the world's population, emits approximately one quarter of
    global carbon emissions.
      The Senate voted 95 to 0 before the Kyoto negotiations to advise
    President Clinton against agreeing to a climate accord that does not include
    developing nations, and it has indicated that it will not ratity the Kyoto
    Protocol because it does not include those nations. The Administration has
    until March 1999 to sign the accord and submit it for ratification. Admin-
    istration officials indicate that they will seek emissions reduction agreements
    from China, India, and Brazil before submitting the treaty to the Senate.
      The vast majority of scientists, economists, and members of the public
    favor U.S. action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A group of 2,500
    economists issued a statement in 1997 stating that the U.S. could prevent
    extensive environmental damage and improve economic efficiency by sig-
    nificantly reducing carbon emissions. Researchers indicate that the U.S.
    can reduce its emissions by 7 percent by adopting energy conservation and
    efficiency measures and by utilizing cost-competitive clean energy alterna-
    tives-such as solar and wind power, fuel cells, co-generation plants, and
    natural-gas fired power plants. Seeking to erode broad public support for
    action on global warming, industry groups have publicized the views of
    dissenting scientists and claims that reducing carbon emissions would
    severely damage the economy.
THE   ENVIRONMENT         AND JEWISH       LIFE                             55

   The]CPA supports the provisions of the Kyoto Protocol as a fIrSt step in
stabilizing atmospheric carbon concentrations at a level that will not result
in widespread human andlor ecological harm. The jCPA urges the
Congress to appropriate the funds proposed by President Clinton, includ-
ing one billion dollars for aid to developing nations to control carbon
emissions and five billion dollars for the development and deployment of
non-carbon fuel alternatives. The jCPA supports the immediate adoption
of policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, particularly programs that
use pricing to lower demand for fossil fuels, encourage the development of
non-polluting energy sources, and raise revenue for public projects that
would lower carbon emissions, such as mass transit. The ]CPA also sup-
ports standards requiring the use of the most advanced fuel efficiency and
emissions reduction technologies available. Finally, thejCPA supports pro-
grams to help those whose economic security would be jeopardized by
sllch policies, including assistance to poor people to compensate for
increased expenses for electricity, fuel, and transportation and retraining
and economic transition assistance for affected workers.
  Strong action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is consistent with
long-standing JCPA policies concerning environmental protection,
national energy independence, improved air quality, increased mass transit,
development of non-polluting alternative energy sources, and energy effi-
ciency and conservation. In addition to strengthening the economy in the
long run, cutting carbon emissions will also result in lowering emissions of
several pollutants that cause illness and acid rain, including particulates and
ozone, tor which significantly lower standards have recently been set. The
JCPA calls on all levels of government to effectively educate the public
about the risks of climate change and the steps that need to be taken at the
individual, communal, and national levels to prevent further warming.
  The Jewish community relations field will be called upon to educate the
American Jewish community about the dangers of global warming and
engage jewish individuals, including Jewish business leaders, and institu-
tions in efforts both to support the Kyoto Protocol and to minimize
energy use in homes, communal buildings, and businesses.
56      JEWISH     COUNCIL            FOR   PUBLIC   AFFAIRS'    AGENDA    1998-1999

        Around the world, over 20                 The jewish community
        percent of mammals, rep-
        tiles, amphibians, and fish
                                                  relations field will be called
        species are in danger of                  upon to educate the
        extinction. In addition to                American jewish public
        the moral affront of this
                                                  about the importance cd"'
        destruction, the viability of
        ecosystems, which provide
                                                  maintaining the integrity
        "ecosystem goods and ser-                 <if ecological systems and
        vice~. vital to human well-               engage the jewish community
        being is at stake. Ecosystem
        services include the produc-
                                                  in advocating strong
        tion of oxygen, regulation of             environmental protections
        the climate, the detoxifica-             for public lands.
        tion of pollutants, the pro-
        duction of soil, and the provision of pollinating insects vital to agriculture.
        Ecosystem goods include food, fiber, and fuel. The dollar value of ecosys-
        tem services is estimated to be well over one trillion dollars.

        T11C Elldangered   ~peci('s   Act: The reauthorization of the Endangered Species
        Act (ESA) has been the subject of debate since 1992. Conservation advo-
        cates argue the Act needs strengthening as less than one half of one percent
        of endangered species have recovered sufficiently to be removed from the
        list of threatened and endangered species. Private property absolutists argue
        that the Act gives the federal government undue power to regulate the use
        of private property.
          Two proposals are currently circulating, one in the Senate and one in
        the House. In July, 1997, Representative George Miller (CA) introduced
        the Endangered Species Recovery Act of 1997 (HR.23S1), as a proactive
        effort to recover declining species by setting recovery goals and providing
        incelltives for landowners. The JCPA supports thi5 bill.
          In October 1997, Senators Max Baucus (MT), John Chafee (RI), Dirk
        Kempthorne (ID), and Harry Reid (NV) introduced S.1180, also titled the
 THE   ENVIRONMENT       AND JEWISH       LIFE                             57

Endangered Species Recovery Act of 1997. This compromise bill, which
has received mixed reviews by both the private sector and the conserva-
tion community, would require the establishment of recovery teams to set
biologically-based recovery goals using the best scientific and commercial
data available. However, the bill has substantial weaknesses which were
raised by the jCPA in testimony before the Senate: the proposed recovery
teams are too heavily weighted in favor of economic interests; interests
utilizing federal lands are given inappropriate access to governmental deci-
sion-makers; overly-broad discretion is given to the Secretary of Interior;
and the government would lock in conservation agreements with private
property holders for long periods of time regardless of new scientific devel-
opments. S.1180 also places significant additional burdens on the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service, which will not be able to fulfill its recovery planning
mandates without a substantial funding increase. The jCPA will continue
to advocate a strong, proactive Endangered Species Act that sets and
enforces stringent goals for species recovery and habitat protection.

Forest Protectioll: The U.S. retains only four percent of its original old
growth forests, the vast majority of which are on nationally held lands.
Large areas of old growth that remain free of logging roads, and therefore
logging activity, serve as biological reserves for the nation. After a number
of very close votes to end federal subsidies for building logging roads in
national forests, the 1998 Interior Appropriations bill included almost fifty
million dollars for building such roads. When signing the 1998 Interior
Appropriations bill, President Clinton announced that the Forest Service is
developing a new science-based management policy to protect roadless
areas in National Forests. The ]CPA supports efforts both to protect old
growth forest habitats and to reduce government subsidies for activities
which harm the environment. The Jewish community relations field will
be called upon to educate the American Jewish public about the impor-
tance of maintaining the integrity of ecological systems and engage the
Jewish community in advocating strong ellvironmental protections for
public lands.
58      JlWISH    COUNCIL      FOR   PUBLIC     AFFAIRS'     AGENDA      1998-1999

        Clean Air: After months of          ]CPA supports legislation
        debate, the Clinton Admin-
                                             to test all chemicals to
        istration rcleased new air
        quality standards for smog           which either children or
        (ground-level ozone) and             adults are regularly exposed
        soot (tiny particulate matter)
                                             and to provide the public
        in July 1997. The new stan-
        dards, to be phased in over a
                                             with information about the
        ten year period, will reduce         toxicity of both the contents
        respiratory illnesses and pre-       of consumer products and
        mature deaths considerably,
                                             the chemicals emitted by
        particularly among the elderly
        and asthmatics. Opponents            industrial and commercial
        claim that the standards will       facilities.
        damage the economy and
        they arc working to delay implementation through Congressional action.
        This argumcnt has also been made about the 1990 Clcan Air Act amend-
        ments, proposals to rcduce carbon emissions, and numerous other public
        health and environmcntal regulations. In October 1997, the U.S.
        Environmental Protection Agency released a cost-benefit analysis of the
        1990 clean air regulations which demonstrated that, according to the mean
        estimate, the economic bencfits of the regulations wcre more than 42
        times the economic. The JCPA strongly supports the rapid adoption of
        these standards in a manncr that achieves cleaner air for all Americans,
        regardless of where they live.

        Childrel1 's Health: Only a small fraction of the 7(),OOO chemicals used in the
        United States have been tested for their potential to: interfere with fetal
        developmcnt; harm the reproductive, immune, or nervous             sy~tcms;   or
        cause Recent studies indicate that many common chcmicals may mimic
        hormones and cause scrious harm to children at cxtremely low doses both
        beforc and after birth. Children are more vulnerable to toxic exposurc
        because per pound of body wcight they cat more food, drink morc watcr,
 THE   ENVIRONMENT        AND JEWISH       LIfE                                59

 and breath more air than adults. Many toxic chemicals accumulate in
 human body fat and are ingested hy infants through breast milk. A number
 of bills have been introduced to the 105th Congress to increase the protec-
 tion of children from toxic chemicals by strengthening regulatory stan-
. dards, requiring labeling of products, and requiring industry to provide
 additional information about toxic releases to the public. JCPA supports
 legislation to test all chemicals to which either children or adults are regu-
 larly exposed and to provide the public with information about the toxic-
 ity of both the contents of consumer products and the chemicals emitted
 by industrial and commercial facilities. The Jewish community relations
 field will be called upon to advocate action     011   legislation to protect the
 public, particularly children, from toxic exposure. In addition, the field
 can educate Jewish individuals and institutions about how to remove the
 most dangerous chemicals trom homes and communal facilities.
60   JEWISH     COUNCIL       FOR      PUBLIC       AFfAIRS'     AGENDA     1998-1999

                                                 Summary of
                                                 adopted by the
                                                 1998 JCPA Plenum

     "BrOlvI!fields" Legislatiol1 Concerned that "Brownficlds" - contaminated
     former industrial sites - are predominately in underdeveloped low
     income and minority urban areas, the jCPA supports Brownficids legisla-
     tion and programs that will create incentives for their responsible develop-
     ment while assuring environmental and health protections.

     Ethiopiall Educatiollal IIIte.~ratioll ill Israel Noting the extraordinary efforts
     made to fully absorb Ethiopian jews into Israeli society, the jCPA regretted
     that the integration effort is not yet complete, particularly in the field of
     education, and urged the Government of Israel to provide funds for a
     comprehensive tcn-city plan designed to meet the special needs of
     Ethiopian children.

     The Iraq Crisis The jCPA lauded the U.S. administration's efforts to bring
     about Iraqi compliance with U.N. resolutions, and commended U.N.
     Secretary General Kofi Annan for his apparent sllccess in averting the need
     for military action. The resolution noted the jCPA's continued support for
     the American administration's decision to maintain military preparedness
     as may be needed.

     Solidarity with Israel Duril1g   tilC   Iraq Crisis The JCPA expressed its solidarity
     with the people ofIsrad, and welcomed recent statt'ment~ by senior American
     officials affirming Israel's right of self-defense.
SUMMARY OF         1998   PLENUM      RESOLlJTIONS                             ()J

Establishment of all irlternational Criminal Court Expressing its support for the
initiative to establish a permanent and effective International Criminal
Court, the JCPA urged the United States to take a leading role in this effort.

TIle Clinton Administration and the IsraelilPalestil1iml Peace Process Commending
the Clinton Administration and State Department for their tireless efforts
to advance the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians within the
framework of the Oslo Accords, the JCPA called upon the Administration
to continue its efforts, and specifically, "encourage both the government of
Israel and the Palestinian Authority to avoid provocative rhetoric and
actions, to engage vigorously in reciprocal confidence building measures,
to relate to each other as partners in the urgent quest for peace."

50th AnllilJersary iif Israel Saluting the people of Israel and expressing joy on
the 50th anniversary, the JCPA also noted with pride Israel's record as a
modern democracy and the commitment "expressed in its Declaration of
Independence to freedom, justice, and peace and           to   the pursuit of the
social, political, religious and cultural rights of all its citizens." Noting that
one of the best ways to celebrate this important milestone is through travel
to Israel , the JCPA also urged participation in the 1998 CJF General
Assembly in Jerusalem.

Minimum Wage The JCPA supported adoption of federal legislation that
would raise the current federal minimum wage by 50 cents for each of the
next two years. The resolution also stated that the JCPA would support
and advocate the concept of linking the minimum wage to annual
Consumer Price Index.

Civic Ellgagement and Voluntarism Noting that civic engagement is a corner-
stone ofJewish religion and culture, the JCPA called for developing meth-
ods for increasing volunteer involvement in CRC activities and urged
member agencies to work with coalition partners to design vehicles for
civic engagements among our constituents.
62   JEWISH    COUNCIL      FOR   PUBLIC    AFr·AIRS   .   AGENDA   1998-1999

     Campaign Finance Reform Noting its longtime concern with the strength of
     our democratic institutions, and consistent with its 1994 positions support-
     ing additional public financing for campaigns and against "soft money",
     the JCPA applauded the decision by Congressional leadership to debate
     and vote upon the McCain-Feingold Bill. Without endorsing any particu-
     lar provision of the bill, JCPA urged an open debate on this issue.

     Holocaust Asset Restitutioll The JCPA supported worldwide efforts to com-
     pensate appropriately victims of Nazi looting and to provide additional
     fll1ancial support to indigent Holocaust survivors; welcomed initial steps
     taken by Switzerland to publicly acknowledge the improper actions it took
     during after World War II; affirmed the rights of individuals to pursue pri-
     vate claims, notwithstanding ongoing negotiations being conducted on
     behalf of world Jewry collectively; supported federal, state and municipal
     legislation that creates mechanisms for compensating survivors and ensur-
     ing fulfillment of their rightful claims; welcomed efforts by the American
     government and state officials to take an active, positive role; committed
     itself to educate the field about the complexities of the Holocaust assets
     issue; and condemned anti-Semitic responses to worldwide efforts to
     restore Holocaust-era assets to their rightful owners.

Appendix                                 The JCPA
                                         Mission Statement

    AdoptedJt/l1e to, 1996

    The Jewish Cot/neil for Pt/blic Affairs aCPA) serves as the representative
    voice of the organized American Jewish community in addressing the
    mandate of thc Jewish community relations field.
        That mandate is expressed in two, interrelated goals:
        (1) to safeguard the rights ofJcws here, in Israel, and around the world;
    and, in order to accomplish that,
        (2) to protect, preserve, and promote a just American society, one that is
    democratic and pluralistic.
        These goals are pursued in a non-partisan manner informed by Jewish val-
    ues. History teaches us that Jewish security is inexorably linked to the
    strength of dcmocratic institutions. Thus, our community has a direct stake
    -   along with an ethical imperative -    ill assuring that America remains a
    country wedded to the Bill of Rights and committed to the rule of law,
    whose institutions continue to function as a public trust.
        The JCPA reflects a unique and inclusive partncrship of national mem-
    ber agencics, local community relations councils and committees, and the
    fcderations of which they are a component part or an affiliated agency. It
    convenes the "common table" around which member agencies, through
    an open, representative, inclusive and consensus-driven process, meet to
    identify issues, articulate positions, and develop strategies, programs, and
    approaches designed to advance the public affairs goals and objectives of
    the organized Jewish community.
        Thc work of the ]CPA, especially in matters relating to democratic plu-
    ralism and social justice, reflects the profound Jewish commitment to
64   JEWISH    COUNCIL     FOR   PUBLIC    AffAIRS·     AGENDA     1998-1999

     tikkun olam, the repair of the world. It expresses the conviction of the
     organized Jewish community that it must be active in the effort to build a
     just society. The JCPA has the responsibility to enhance the capacity of
     member agencies to effectively pursue the public affairs agenda. This
     responsibility requires the JCPA to provide coordination, support, and
     guidance for public affairs initiatives undertaken by national and local
     member agencies, to advocate on behalf of the public affairs policies of the
     organized Jewish community, and to respond to those member-identified
     needs which strengthen their individual and collaborative capacity to
     advance the communal public affairs agenda.

Appendix                               The Role of the JCPA

    The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (fCPA) was created in 1944 by the
    General Assembly of the Council ofJewish Federations, intended to be the
    multi-issue public affairs arm of the organized Jewish community. Over
    the past half century the JCPA -         formerly the National Jewish
    Community Relations Advisory Council -         has proven itself to be an
    effective coordinating body for the diverse groups that together comprise
    the Jewish community relations field. The JCPA, a voluntary association of
    122 local and 13 national agencies throughout the United States, is the
    instrument through which its members jointly determine positions on
    issues of priority concern, and coordinate ways to most effectively advo-
    cate those positions.
      The JCPA deliberative process -     free and open debate, with careful
    regard for the right to dissent -allows member agencies to maximize their
    effectiveness by planning policies together and coordinating their pro-
    grams. In determining priorities and allocating resources, the JCPA and its
    member agencies use the following criteria: The nature and extent of
    threats to Jews as individuals and/or as a Jewish community at home and
    abroad; the Ilature and extellt of threats to the American democratic
    process; the impact of changing conditions on the goals and policies of the
    Jewish community; the efficacy of remedies in resolving issues; and, the
    priority concerns of allies.
      All member agencies are autonomous, engaging in those aspects of
    community relations work deemed appropriate to an agency's goals and
    commensurate with its resources. In implementing programmatic activi-
    ties, national and local agencies play complementary roles. JCPA policy
    provides that each member agency respect the integrity and philosophy of
66   lEWISII   COUNCIL     FOR   PUBLIC    AFFAIRS'      AGENDA     1998-1999

     other member agencies and encourages a recognition that the proper func-
     tioning of the JCPA depends on proper relations between its various stake-
       The entire range of public affairs issucs that atTcct America's Jews -
     including Middle East peace and Israeli security, civil rights and liberties,
     racism and prejudice, poverty and justice, intergroup relations, environ-
     mental and public health issues, and international human rights -         are
     addressed through the JCPA process. One result of that process is the
     annual JCPA Public Affairs Agenda, which is, in essence, the blueprint for
     action by the organized Jewish community.

Appendix                                Purpose of the
                                        the JCPA
                                        Public Affairs Agenda

    The jCPA Public Affairs Agenda -      formerly known as the joint Program
    Plan -serves as an advisory guide to member agencies in their own pro-
    gram planning. Each agency is free to accept, reject, modify or expand any
    of the Agenda's recommendations.
      The Public Affairs Agenda identifies and appraises changing conditions
    and trends in order to gauge any potential impact on Jewish community
    relations goals and concerns, and to determine priorities and strategic goals
    for the next year. These broad judgemems allow the field to tailor a collec-
    tive national response to changing conditions.
      The Public Affairs Agenda is not a statement of jCPA policies as such,
    nor is it a mere compilation of previously adopted positions, which remain
    in effect until amended or superseded by the actions of the jCPA board of
    directors or the plenum. In setting forth specific goals, the Agenda does
    not spell out specific programs to achieve those goals. In the course of the
    year, guidance is offered in memoranda that flow from deliberations and
    recommendations made by the jCPA task forces.
68   JEWISH    COUNCIL     FOR   PUBLIC    AFf'AIRS   .   AGENDA   1998-1999

Appendix                                How the JCPA
                                        Public Affairs Agenda
                                        was Formulated

     In late 1997, draft propositions were prepared by the JCPA staff, which
     were then circulated to all JCPA member agencies in advance of the
     February 1998 plenum. Member agencies were urged to study and discuss
     the propositions and to submit in writing those items they felt required
     consideration and resolution by the plenum.
       This year's draft document was approved at the plenum. To insure its
     timeliness and accuracy, a final draft was reviewed ill April 1998 by the
     Pubic Policy Formulation Committee, chaired by Michael Bohnen of
     Boston and Judah Labovitz of Philadelphia. The Committee was com-
     prised of the chairpersons ofallJCPA task forces, as well as lay and profes-
     sional representatives from many of the national member agencies and
     local Jewish community relations councils and committees.
       The JCPA Public Aff.1irs Agenda for 1998-99 appears herein as adopted,
     together with such dissents, exceptions and qualifications as expressed by
     individual member agencies.
      Chair                                         American Jewish Committee
           Steven Schwarz, Wilkes-Barre                        Herbert Mines
                                                               Ronald G. Weiner
 Vice Chairs
              Susan Abravanel, Portlalld, Oregoll   American Jewish Congress
              Lee Adlerstein, MetroWest                        Morton Bu nis
              Michael Bohnen, Boston                           Barry N. Wino!,'fad
              Marvin Catler, Har!fOrd
                                                    Anit-Defamation League/B'nai B'rith
              Dr. Leonard Cole, Bergen County/
                                                              Howard Berlowitz
                North Hudson
                                                              Hugh Schwartzberg
              Lois Frank, Atlallla
              David Luchins,                        Hadassah
                Unioll of Orthodox Jewish                      Ruth Cole
                Congregation C?f America                       Judy Palkovitz
              Paul N. Minkoff, Philadelphia
                                                    Jewish Labor Committee
              Elaine Wishner,
                                                               Avrum Lyon
                American Jewish Commil/ee
                                                               Emanuel Muravchik
Treasurer                                           Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A.
              Ronald Abrams, LOllisville                       Herb Roscnbleeth
                                                               Robert M. Zweiman
               Mark Schickman, Satl Francisco       National Council ofJewish Woman
Past Chairs                                                    Nanci Bobrow
              Albert E. Arent, Washington, DC                  Nan Rich
              Jordall C. Band, Clevelalld           Union of American Hebrew Congregations
               Lewis D. Cole, Lollisville                     Leonard Fein
              Aaron Goldman, ~Vash;'lgton, DC                 Judge David Davidson
              Jacquc:line K. Levine, MetroWesl
                                                    Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations
              Lynn Lyss, National COl/lleil cif
                                                    of America
                Jewish WomCll
              Theodore R. Mann, Philadelphia                   David Luchins
                                                               Richard Stone
              Michael N. Newmark, Louisville
              Michael A. Pelavin, Flillt            United Synagogue of Conservative Judaisml
              Arden E. Shenker, Portland, Oregon    Women's League for Conservative Judaism
              Maynard I. Wishner, Chicago                     J.B. Mazar
              Bennett Yanowitz, Clevelalld                     Evelyn Seelig
Executive Vice Chairman                             Women's American ORT
           Lawrence Rubin                                    Rosina Abramson
                                                             Muriel Hcrtan
Associate ExeclItive Vice ChairmJll
            Martin J. Raffel

Assistant Executive Vice Chair
            Karen Senter

Executive Vice Chair Emeritus
           Albert D. Chernin
                                                                                                       ..•. ---

70      JEWISH         COUNCIL          fOR      PUBLIC   AFFAIRS'    AGENDA       199 8 -   1   999

        Marie Abrams, Louispillc                               Paul Berger, W"shill,~'on, DC
        Dr. Frank Boehm, Nashville                             David Bohm, St. Lollis
        Suzanne F. Cohen, Baltimore                            Donna Bojarsky, Los AI!~eles
        Theodore M. Eisenberg, Metl'O West                     Denis C. Braham, NCSj
        David Feiss, Milwaukee                                 Barry Cohen, Atlantic COllnty, Nj
        Sheila Field, Mitlllcapolis                            Naomi Cohen, Hartford
        Fredrick Frank, Pittsburgh                             Suzanne Engman, Des Moines
        Betsy Gaberman,                                        Sibyl Feder Gass, SOllt/,em N]
          Springfield, Massacllllsells                         Lawrence Gold, Atlanta
        Murray Gass, SouI/,enl, New jersey                     Anita Gray, Cleve/alJd
        Bobbie Ghitis, Sail AlI'ollia                          Neil Greenbaum, HAIS
        Warren Heilbronner, Rod"'stcr                          Helen Hollman, Palm &ach COllnty
        Alfred Joseph, LOlliSllille                            Barbra Kaplan, P,Jlm Beadl COlltlly
       Jacob Kil>hncr, j\;fidJle.<ex, Ncll' jcr.<ey           Judah Labovitz, Philadelpllia
        Michelle Kohn, West Pallll Reach                       Rhoda Mains, Mi,lllcsota & Dakotas
        Charles Kriser, Chicago                                Howard Sachs, NCS]
        Ruth Laibsoll, Philadelphia                            M. Melvin Shralow, PililadelplJia
        Donald Lefton, A1iallfi                               Burton Siegel, CRC Directors Assn.
       J. David Levy, SI. Lollis                              Michael Simon, Portland, Oregon
        Geoffrey Lewis, Bostoll                               Rabbi Etry Spectre, Detroit
       Sheri Lublin, Har[ford                                 Norman Tilles, R/JOde Islan.d
       Jerome Milch, Be~~C/I CO/lllly,                        Barry E. Ungar, Philadelpllia
          New jersey                                          Judge Jerry Wagner, Hartford
       Maxine Richman, Rllodc Islmld                          RabbI Joel Zaiman, Baltimore
       Eleanor Rubin, Central Nell' jersc),
       James Samuels, Cletle/alld
       Elaine Senter, Washing,oll, DC
       Steven Silverman, Dctroit
       Arthur Stern, Los Allgcles
       Dr. Stephen Stone, Sprillgfield
       Kenneth Sweder, Bo.<toll
       Andrea Weinstc'in, Dallas

           Dr. Lawrence Rubin
            F..xecutive Vice Chairman
           Martin J. Raffel
            Associate Executive Vice Chairman I
            Director, Task Force on Israel and
            Other International Concerns
           Karen Senter
            Assistam Executive Vice Chairl
            Director, Domestic Cot/urns

          Rhea Attia$
            Director oj Resource Devl'lopment
          Rebecca Boirn
            Assistant Director,
            It/ternatiollal Concerns
          Guila Franklin
           Associate Director, Domestic Concerns
          Benita Gayle-Alrneleh
            Senior Community Cot/sultam
          Mark X. Jacobs
            Director, Coalition on the
            Environment and Jewish Ufe
          Rcva Price
            Washil'lgton Representative
          Marny Schwartz
           Director oj Administration
          Anat Youdkes
           Office Mallager, COEJL

Administrative Staff
            Laura Furmamki
            Daniel Ramirez
            Ricardo Soto

                                                   ... "1!IIr ..•

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