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Lawmakers Urge Tillerson To Appoint Anti-Semitism Envoy

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Dozens of Congress members have called on Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to say whether the State Department will hire a special envoy for the Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism.

In a bipartisan letter sent last Friday, Reps. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., and Chris Smith, R-N.J., were among 116 House lawmakers who also urged President Trump to keep the office staffed following reports that it would be left empty after July 1.

The special envoy post, which was mandated in the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004, has been unfilled since Trump’s inauguration in late January. The special envoy monitors acts of anti-Semitism abroad, document the cases in State Department reports, and consults with domestic and international nongovernmental organizations.

Smith, the primary author of the 2004 amendment, said in a news release that the position is especially important now “in the fight against this terrible hate that is on the rise in the world.”

“Seventy-two years after the Holocaust ended,” he said, “anti-Semites continue to target the Jewish people for discrimination, destruction of property and even death.”

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