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WASHINGTON—A bipartisan group of 167 Members of Congress today urged 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. Leading the effort were Representative Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs; 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).

Recent reports suggest the Trump Administration has considered eliminating the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism at the U.S. State Department for Fiscal Year 2018, along with other critical diplomatic staff devoted to climate change and outreach to Muslim communities.

“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 Members wrote.

The Members continued: “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 had support from many organizations, including: the 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, World Jewish Congress North America, and the Zionist Organization of America.

The full letter with a list of signers can be found here.

Background:

The Office of the Special Envoy was created by the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act, which passed Congress with bipartisan supporting in 2004. This office has been crucial in documenting anti-Semitic incidents and human rights abuses against Jewish people abroad and developing and implementing policies designed to combat anti-Semitism. During previous Administrations—both Democratic and Republican—this  office was critical in documenting human rights abuses against Jewish communities abroad as well as developing and implementing policies designed to combat anti-Semitism.

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