May 24, 2018 — New York
AJC applauds the 120 members of Congress from both sides of the aisle who signed a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging his swift appointment of a new State Department Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. At a time when anti-Semitism shows no sign of abating, the critical Special Envoy position has been unfilled since January 2017.
The letter, which AJC strongly supported, was initiated by leaders of the Bipartisan Taskforce for Combating Anti-Semitism – Representatives Eliot Engel, Chris Smith, Nita Lowey, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Ted Deutch, Marc Veasey, and Kay Granger. In 2014, AJC encouraged the formation of the Taskforce and has backed its efforts since its creation.
Congress has been critically engaged with the Office of the Special Envoy since the State Department unit was created in 2004, when the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act passed Congress with broad bipartisan support.
“Congress plays a vital role in U.S. efforts to combat global anti-Semitism, and one of its most effective instruments has been the creation, maintenance and ongoing interaction with the Office of the Special Envoy. Its very existence sends a powerful signal to world leaders and to vulnerable Jewish communities of America’s commitment to confronting this menace,” said Jason Isaacson, AJC Associate Executive Director for Policy.
AJC has led advocacy efforts to combat anti-Semitism around the world, with a particular focus on Europe, where AJC maintains offices in Berlin, Brussels, Paris, Rome, Sofia and Warsaw. “Mobilizing governments and civil society and assuring there are adequate tools to combat European anti-Semitism are priority objectives, for which the U.S. Special Envoy is an essential partner,” Isaacson added.
The congressional letter—signed by more than one quarter of the House of Representatives—comes on the heels of an AJC coordinated letter, signed by more than 1,100 religious leaders across the United States, urging Secretary Pompeo to appoint a Special Envoy. Among the signatories are rabbis, several hundred Christian leaders, and faith representatives of the Baha’i, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, and Sikh communities. The letter and list of signatories is available at www.ajc.org/envoypetition.