Weekly News Update 
WASHINGTON, D.C. January 23, 2015


TO: NCSEJ Leadership and Interested Parties

FROM: Stephen M. Greenberg, Chairman;
Alexander Smukler, NCSEJ President;
Mark B. Levin, NCSEJ Executive Director
Dear Friend,

This week marks an important anniversary. Forty years ago the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, which linked countries' preferential trade status to their emigration record, was signed into law. As a young professional, I had a unique opportunity to work with both Sen. Henry "Scoop" Jackson and Rep. Charles Vanik, legislative giants who changed history.

As our community determines its course of action in dealing with Iran and its pursuit of a nuclear weapon, many lessons can be learned from the debate that took place 40 years ago. The Jackson-Vanik Amendment would not have passed without overwhelming support in both houses of Congress, at a time when the Nixon administration maintained that such legislation wasn't needed. To ensure that Iran does not build a nuclear weapon, the American Jewish community must be able to speak with one voice. While history does not necessarily repeat itself, we should remember the words carved on the National Archives Building, "What's past is prologue."

In our update yesterday on Eastern Ukraine's deteriorating security, we stressed the ongoing challenge to meet the Ukrainian Jewish community's growing needs during this time of the crisis. I want to reiterate that now is not the time for "Ukraine fatigue" to set in, when our fellow Jews must have our moral and financial support. This week's update includes several stories about the humanitarian situation in Ukraine.

In a historic step, the UN held a conference yesterday in response to the rise of anti-Semitism around the world. Thirty-seven nations agreed that the UN must "step forward and play a pivotal role in combating anti-Semitism as well as intolerance, discrimination and violence based on religion of belief."

I want to highlight a Boston Globe article about Russia's decision to end a nuclear security alliance with the United States. Unfortunately, this decision ended one of the most successful areas of U.S.-Russian cooperation.


Mark B. Levin

Executive Director

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Founded in 1971, NCSEJ represents the organized American Jewish community in monitoring and advocating on behalf of the estimated 1.5 million Jews in Eastern Europe and Eurasia, including the 15 successor states of the former Soviet Union. 
Website: www.ncsej.org   
Phone: 202-898-2500 
NCSEJ is a beneficiary of The Jewish Federations of North America and the National Federation/Agency Alliance through its network of Federations.