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January 14, 2019 11:51 am

House Passes Bipartisan Bill to Elevate Status of US Special Envoy on Antisemitism

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US State Department Truman Building. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. – A bipartisan bill to elevate the status of the US special envoy on antisemitism overwhelmingly passed in the US House of Representatives on Friday.

Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), a libertarian, was the sole vote against the legislation.

The Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act was reintroduced last week by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.). If enacted, it would upgrade the status of the special envoy to combat antisemitism—a position the State Department has left vacant for 20 months—to an ambassadorship requiring Senate confirmation.

The president would be required to fill the position within 90 days. The special-envoy position is currently vacant and has been so since the start of the Trump administration.

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“Over the past decade, there has been a rapid rise in antisemitic acts and rhetoric in many countries: Jews harassed, assaulted and even murdered; synagogues attacked; graves and cemeteries desecrated; antisemitic slurs; targeting the State of Israel with the ‘three Ds’–demonization, double-standard and delegitimization–as my friend the great Soviet refusenik and religious prisoner Natan Sharansky named them,” said Smith.

“Antisemitic hatred is hardwired into the ideology of violent Islamist and white supremacist groups. But this evil goes beyond those perpetrators,” he added. “Politicians, entertainers and public intellectuals across the philosophical spectrum have exhibited antisemitism. Strong American leadership is essential to battle this bigotry.”

The bill now heads to the US Senate.

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