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83 House members request extra $500,000 to fund State Department special envoy

A bipartisan group seeks $2 million—a 33% increase—for the special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism in the next fiscal budget.

U.S. House of Representatives building in Washington, D.C. Credit: www.house.gov.
U.S. House of Representatives building in Washington, D.C. Credit: www.house.gov.

A bipartisan group of U.S. representatives is asking the House Committee on Appropriations to allocate $2 million in the next fiscal budget to fund the U.S. State Department’s special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism.

The request is a 33% increase of the funding for the role, which historian and longtime Emory University professor Deborah Lipstadt holds, in the 2023 fiscal year. The additional $500,000 would ensure that the special envoy’s office has adequate staff and can operate between administrations, according to 83 House members who signed the bipartisan letter.

“Antisemitism is a tangible and growing threat faced by both the American Jewish community and Jews around the world,” they wrote.

The special envoy “plays a critical role in encouraging and advising foreign governments to take measures to ensure the safety and security of their respective Jewish communities, including developing national action plans and appointing national coordinators,” they added.

It didn’t mention Lipstadt by name, but the letter noted that she has met foreign leaders and others in more than 10 countries. She has also “convened counterparts across Europe to discuss best practices to address the challenges facing their Jewish communities,” per the letter.

“While we applaud these efforts,” the signatories wrote, “we know there are many more countries that deserve attention and that could benefit by an official visit focused on combating antisemitism.”

In an unusual reversal, European antisemitism envoys briefed Washington on how to handle rampant antisemitism earlier this month.

“Europe has stepped forward,” Andrew Baker, American Jewish Committee director of international Jewish affairs and a rabbi, said at the time. “I don’t want to say we became smug in America, but now we find ourselves seeking their help.”

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