Last tidbits of 2009


* At Haaretz (for sans apostrophe is how we now spell it), Bradley Burston runs down Israel’s ten biggest mistakes of the decade and, as a friend noted, it’s a Gaza war version of "location location location" — in this case, siege, siege, siege.

* At the Jerusalem Post, Larry Derfner asks the Hillel question (or the Golden Rule question, depending on where and how you first heard it phrased) about the Gaza war.

* Nathan Guttman at the Forward explains why the Jewish establishment still favors the Iran sanctions bill that passed the House and is still under consideration in the Senate, however tensions in Iran play out;

* Lara Friedman at Americans for Peace Now explains why the Obama administration is less than sanguine about the congressional sanctions packages;

* At the Jewish Chronicle, a British doctor tells a harrowing tale of how pro-divestment from Israel activists, in Israel and in Britain, launched a campaign to have him delisted as a physician, after he defended Israeli doctors against charges that they were complicit in torture;

* The health care package is nearly wrapped up, and Democrats have a year to check off other major initiatives, including climate change and immigration. HIAS is the first out of the Jewish box to back  one version of an immigration reform bill, initiated by U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.)

“We applaud Representative Gutierrez for his immigration bill, which helps move the immigration debate to center stage,” says Gideon Aronoff, president and CEO of HIAS. “This legislation reflects the principles that have been promoted by HIAS, including a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S., family reunification, worker protections, effective enforcement, and protection of due process.”

“Solving the problems of undocumented migration is an important national priority,” says Melanie Nezer, HIAS Senior Director for U.S. Programs and Advocacy. “Something needs to be done about the twelve million undocumented individuals living in the shadows; the flow of immigrants across America’s borders that have resulted in thousands of deaths; and the massive backlogs in family immigration visa categories. We believe that final comprehensive immigration reform legislation should address all of these issues.” 

With immigration reform a main priority of the White House, the Administration has signaled to Congress that the President expects action on a bill in early 2010. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) are preparing to introduce their own immigration reform bills early next year. Representative Gutierrez’s leadership will help push the debate forward by providing a solid framework for humane reform and by mobilizing immigration advocates across the country to step up their efforts to urge Congress to enact a reform bill in 2010. HIAS will continue to work to ensure that the key principles embodied by Representative Gutierrez’s bill are included in the law Congress ultimately enacts.

The pro-enforcement Center for Immigration Studies says a Zogby poll it commissioned shows rank and file Jews are much less sanguine (that phrase again) than their clergy when it comes to backing measures to creat legal pathways for the undocumented:

Leaders of the Catholic Church, Mainline Protestant churches, and some born-again churches, and major Jewish denominations all have argued that we need more legal immigration, particularly more immigrant workers. The findings of a new Zogby poll show that most self-identified Catholics, Mainline Protestants, born-again Protestants, and Jews do not support these views. This divide between church leaders and members is very likely to make any debate over immigration next year all the more contentious.

We’ll be writing a story on the immigration debate next week.

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