Washington Walkthrough 9-13-11

The latest Jewish-related news coming out of Washington, DC.

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In the event of a U.S. veto of their upcoming Sept. 20 statehood bid, Palestinians have an alternative plan to petition the U.N. General Assembly to upgrade their standing from an “entity” to a “non-member state.” The

U.S. is unable to veto such a move.

Anticipating this scenario, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (D-FL), head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced legislation that would cut off U.S. funding for any U.N. organization that supports an upgrade in the Palestinians’ status. According to Reuters, the U.S. currently funds about 22 percent of theU.N. budget, making it the organization’s biggest contributor.

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Following President Barack Obama’s speech last Thursday on a new economic recovery plan, the American Jobs Act, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) said that Obama “was right to identify continued unemployment insurance as an essential part of any recovery.”

JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow noted how almost 43 percent of America’s unemployed have been looking for work for more than 27 weeks.

“Even with immediate investments in jobs and job training, many of these individuals will still require assistance in order to stay in their homes and provide for their families,” Gutow said in a statement.

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Among $19 million recently disbursed to nonprofits through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NPSG), more than 80 percent of the awards went to Jewish groups, according to the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA).

The $15,392,220 in total Jewish funding included 156 grants to places of worship, 41 to schools and other educational facilities, nine to hospitals and social service agencies, six to Jewish Community Centers and four to Jewish federations, JFNA said.

Jewish institutions in the Manhattan and Brooklyn district of U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) are receiving $966,148.

“The threat against these organizations is still very real, and it is the obligation of government to protect potential targets from attacks by those who espouse hatred and violence,” Nadler said in a statement.

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Eighty-one members of Congress visited Israel throughout August on a trip funded by the educational arm of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) led the Democratic delegation. Hoyer vowed that U.S. economic woes would not affect its annual $3 billion financial aid package to Israel. Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told Israel Hayom that, “Ties between the U.S. and Israel are stronger than ever before.”

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A joint memoir by U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and her husband Mark Kelly on their marriage, Giffords’ political career and ongoing recovery from a gunshot to the head, and Kelly’s work as an astronaut now has an official release date of Nov. 15, the book’s publisher, Scribner, announced in a press release last week.

The Jewish congresswoman’s book will be titled, Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope, according to Scribner. In January, six were killed in Tucson, Ariz., when Giffords was shot outside a supermarket in an assassination attempt.

—With reporting from Israel Hayom / Exclusive to JNS

Posted on November 21, 2011 and filed under Politics.