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Struggle against Antisemitism United States

House passes bill raising level of antisemitism envoy position to ambassador

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Source: JTA

The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation (H.R. 1911) that upgrades to ambassador level the position of special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism at the State Department.

The Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Act was authored by Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., who helped write the 2004 law that created the monitor post.

Lawmakers and Jewish communal organizations have chafed at the Trump administration’s failure to name someone to the antisemitism monitor post since Donald Trump became president, citing a perceived spike in antisemitism worldwide.

Under the legislation, the antisemitism monitor would be the primary adviser to the U.S. government in monitoring and combating antisemitism and would not have extraneous duties. The president must nominate a candidate for the position within 90 days of the legislation becoming law.

“Tragically, antisemitism is on the rise across the globe,” Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., co-chair of the Bipartisan Taskforce for Combating antisemitism, said in a statement following the legislation’s passage in the House. “The bipartisan Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Act reinforces our nation’s leadership in fighting this scourge by elevating the position of Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism to the rank of Ambassador and ensuring that the Special Envoy is solely focused on this important task.

“History teaches us that antisemitism is defeated only when it is confronted directly. The Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Act is a strong step forward as Congress seeks to defeat global antisemitism.”

The other co-chairs of the Bipartisan Congressional Task Force for Combating Antisemitism who cosponsored the bill are Reps. Chris Smith, R-N.J.; Nita Lowey, D-N.Y.; Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla.; Eliot Engel, D-N.Y.; Kay Granger, R-Texas; Ted Deutch. D-Fla; and Marc Veasey, D-Texas.

The legislation still must pass the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the full Senate.