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April 28, 2020 9:35 am

Bipartisan Group of Senators Call for Increased Funding for State Department Antisemitism Envoy

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US State Department Truman Building. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. – A bipartisan group of 28 senators have called on the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs to increase funding for the US State Department’s office that develops and implements policies and projects to combat global antisemitism.

The letter to the subcommittee, dated April 24, was signed by Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), co-chair of the Senate Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Anti-Semitism, along with Sens. Mike Rounds (R-SD), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Jack Reed (D-RI), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).

“Tragically, 75 years after the end of the Holocaust, antisemitism is on the rise around the world,” wrote the senators, who cited a 2019 Anti-Defamation League survey that found that about one in four Europeans polled hold adverse sentiments towards Jews.

The senators also cited a study by Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry that found that violent antisemitic attacks globally increased 18 percent in 2019. The study also indicated that the coronavirus pandemic has led to an increase in antisemitic incitement scapegoating Jews for spreading the disease, in addition to the economic downturn caused by it.

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“Providing additional funds in FY 2021 will ensure the State Department has the resources needed to track and respond to this growing scourge and that the United States remains a leader in combating anti-Semitism internationally,” wrote the senators. “Specifically, these funds would support the Special Envoy’s efforts to improve the safety and security of at-risk Jewish communities, combat online radicalization, ensure public officials and faith leaders condemn antisemitic discourse, and strengthen judicial systems in their prosecution of antisemitic incidents.”

The letter did not specifically state how much more funding should be allocated for the Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. The 2020 spending bill Congress passed in December 2019, which was signed by US President Donald Trump, included $500,000 for that office.

The letter was endorsed by the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Federations of North America, American Jewish Committee, Hadassah, National Council Supporting Eurasian Jewry, B’nai B’rith International, Union for Reform Judaism, Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Christians United for Israel Action Fund, Agudath Israel of America and Human Rights First.

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