Reinforcing Our Fight Against Global Anti-Semitism
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) on Thursday reintroduced critical bipartisan legislation to provide the U.S. State Department with more diplomatic tools and support to combat the global rise in anti-Semitism.
“We are seeing a precipitous rise in anti-Semitism around the world, manifested through acts of violence against Jews and synagogues, insults, slurs, threats, and criticism of Israel that meets the criteria of what Soviet refusenik and religious prisoner Natan Sharansky called the ‘three Ds’: demonization, double-standard, and de-legitimization,” said Smith, a co-chair of the Bipartisan Congressional Task Force for Combating Anti-Semitism. “The U.S. must be a world leader in standing against this menace, and my legislation would help us redouble our efforts to fight global anti-Semitism.”
Smith’s legislation—the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act (HR 221)—upgrades the position of Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism at the State Department, a leadership position created and required by Smith’s original provisions of the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004. The provisions also created the Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism at the State Department.
Smith’s bill would also mandate the timely nomination of a Special Envoy, as the position has been vacant for over 700 days and was empty for long periods in previous administrations.
“Now is the time to fill this position and provide all the support necessary to carry out this all-important mission,” Smith said. “The eyes of the world are looking to us to be the leader in the fight against anti-Semitism.”
At a glance, under Smith’s bill, the Special Envoy position:
· Would be elevated to the rank of Ambassador at the State Department and report directly to the Secretary of State;
· Would be the primary advisor to the U.S. government in monitoring and combating anti-Semitism;
· Would not be saddled with duties irrelevant to combating anti-Semitism, or “double-hatted”;
· Must be filled (if vacant) by requiring the President to nominate a Special Envoy within 90 days of the bill becoming law and not later than 120 days after the position becomes vacant.
Smith was joined by original cosponsors of the legislation Reps. Brad Schneider (D-IL), House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY), Peter King (R-NY), Marc Veasey (D-TX), Lee Zeldin (D-NY), Nita Lowey (D-NY), and Kay Granger (R-TX).