Smith Introduces Bill to Help Combat Anti-Semitism
After recently chairing his ninth hearing on anti-Semitism, Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) today introduced the bipartisan “Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act” (H.R. 1911) to strengthen U.S. international leadership in the fight against threats to Jewish communities.
Smith authored the provisions of law that created the State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism and the Special Envoy to lead it in 2004.
“Jewish communities here and abroad continue to be targeted for hatred and deadly violence. America has a proud bipartisan history of leading the fight against anti-Semitism—a history we must build upon and expand,” said Smith, who has been a champion against anti-Semitism for decades. “The Special Envoy is critical to focusing and redoubling our leadership and this bill enhances the position.”
The legislation follows a bipartisan letter, signed by Smith and 166 other House Members, sent to President Trump last month. The letter urged the President to maintain and prioritize the appointment of the Special Envoy, noting its critical importance in documenting human rights abuses against Jewish communities abroad as well as developing and implementing policies designed to combat anti-Semitism. Click Here to read the Letter.
Among other key provisions, the bill:
• Elevates the position of Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism to the rank of Ambassador
• Directs the Special Envoy to report directly to the Secretary of State
• Prohibits the Special Envoy from being double-hatted with another portfolio of issues
• Emphasizes that the Special Envoy should be a person of recognized distinction in the field of combating anti-Semitism or religious freedom
• Clarifies that Special Envoy shall be the primary advisor and coordinator for U.S. government efforts to monitor and combat anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic incitement in foreign countries
“In 2004, Congress passed my legislation to create the Special Envoy position to match the threats we saw then,” said Smith. “This bill enhances the position to match the threats we see now. The State Department also must ensure that the Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, which the Special Envoy leads, is adequately staffed and resourced.”
The 8 original cosponsors were led by Reps. Brad S. Schneider (IL-10), Peter J. Roskam (IL-06), and Eliot L. Engel (NY-10), and also included Reps. Randy K. Weber (TX-14), Nita M. Lowey (NY-17), Gus M. Bilirakis (FL-12), Theodore E. Deutch (FL-22) and Marc A. Veasey (TX-33). The legislation is supported by leading Jewish groups, including the Agudath Israel of America, American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League, B'nai B'rith International, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, The Jewish Federations of North America, National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry, Orthodox Union, Secure Community Network, Simon Wiesenthal Center, and World Jewish Congress, North America.