J Street Calls on White House not to Eliminate Vital Anti-Semitism Monitor Position

March 1, 2017

J Street calls on the White House not to eliminate the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism position in the US State Department. It was reported earlier this week that the move could come as part of President Trump’s first budget, amidst massive proposed cuts to State Department funding.

The Special Envoy position was created in 2001 to combat anti-Semitism in international forums and around the world. Past envoys have helped ensure that world leaders condemn anti-Semitism wherever it arises, leading to the creation of special monitors for anti-Semitism in a number of countries.

In this disturbing time of rising anti-Semitism in the United States – following the desecration of Jewish cemeteries and another wave of bomb threats targeting Jewish schools and institutions – American Jews need reassurance from the Trump administration that it is seriously committed to fighting bigotry against Jews and other minority groups both in our country and abroad. Eliminating the Special Envoy position, no matter the justification, would send the opposite message.

Hannah Rosenthal, a former Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism and the CEO of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, wrote recently that without the Special Envoy: “The importance of fighting hatred of Jews will not be a priority in the State Department. Now we will turn a blind eye. And at a time when we are seeing such an increase in acts of anti-Semitism in our country, it is unconscionable that such a tool in the US foreign policy arsenal will be gone.”

We know that the scourge of anti-Semitism remains a major threat to Jews in our country and around the world, and know what can happen when it is ignored, dismissed, or allowed to spread unchecked. We join with former Special Envoy Rosenthal and many others the American Jewish community in urging President Trump not to eliminate the position.

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