(April 20, 2021 / JNS) A bipartisan group of senators on Monday urged U.S. President Joe Biden to quickly nominate a candidate to serve as the U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism and confront rising anti-Semitism worldwide.
The senators, who make up the Senate Bipartisan Task Force on Combating Anti-Semitism, sent Biden a signed letter explaining the urgent need for the nomination. The letter was organized by Sens. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.).
“Tragically, 76 years after the end of the Holocaust, anti-Semitism remains a serious and growing danger for Jews in Europe, the Middle East, the United States and elsewhere in the world,” the letter stated. “According to a study by the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry, violent anti-Semitic attacks worldwide rose 18 percent in 2019, including at least 53 synagogues and 28 community centers and schools that were targeted.”
Congress passed a bill at the end of last year that elevated the special envoy position to the rank of a presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed ambassador who reports directly to the secretary of state. Former President Donald Trump signed the bill into law shortly before leaving office. It also requires the ambassador to be a person of “recognized distinction in the field of combating anti-Semitism,” the letter states.
There have been several candidates rumored to be up for nomination, including former ADL head Abe Foxman, Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt, former National Council of Jewish Women CEO Nancy Kaufman and National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry CEO Mark Levin. Kaufman, who is backed by far-left anti-Israel groups such as IfNotNow, has raised concerns over her stance on the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of anti-Semitism, which is opposes codifying it into law.
It remains unclear what President Biden’s timeline is for filing the position. The position under Trump was left vacant for the first two years of his administration and eventually filled by Elan Carr in February 2019.
“Swiftly nominating a qualified ambassador to monitor and combat anti-Semitism will help ensure that the United States remains a leader in combating anti-Semitism internationally and will equip the State Department with a designated senior diplomat to engage foreign governments to track and respond to this growing scourge,” the letter stated.
“We encourage you to move quickly on the nomination, and look forward to working with you.”
The letter was signed by 22 members of the task force.
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