WASHINGTON, D.C. - A bipartisan group of 167 Members of Congress on Friday signed a letter urging President Donald J. Trump to prioritize the appointment of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism at the U.S. Department of State. Recent reports had indicated that the Trump administration was considering eliminating the position in the coming year.
“As Members of Congress who care deeply about anti-Semitism at home and abroad, we urge you to maintain and prioritize the appointment of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism at the U.S. State Department’s Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. During previous administrations, this office was crucial in documenting human rights abuses against Jewish communities abroad as well as developing and implementing policies designed to combat anti-Semitism,” the Congress members wrote.
“We view U.S. leadership on combating anti-Semitism and promoting human rights as pivotal components of American diplomacy and foreign policy. The Office of the Special Envoy enables the U.S. to show the world its commitment to these ideals, particularly at a time when anti-Semitism is dangerously on the rise,” the letter continued.
Leading the effort were Representative Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and chairman of the World Jewish Congress International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians; Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ), Chair of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations; Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Appropriations; Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chair of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa; Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa; and Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX).
The World Jewish Congress North America was among the Jewish organizations that gave its support to the members of Congress over the letter.
Rabbi Joel Meyers, Chair, WJC United States, said, “The Special Envoy has traditionally played a vital role in the battle against anti-Semitism, by monitoring and gathering data and meeting with governments around the world in order to help fight this renewed rising threat in many countries. The United States must remain as a leader and example to other countries in making sure that this age old hatred is fought diligently. We urge the President and Secretary of State to appoint a Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism in the State Department without delay.”
Other Jewish organizations to support the letter included Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee, B’nai B’rith International, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism, World Jewish Restitution Organization, Human Rights First, J Street, and the Zionist Organization of America.
The full letter can be read here