House passes bill upgrading anti-Semitism envoy to ambassador

US House of Representatives passes bill upgrading envoy monitoring, combating anti-Semitism to ambassador-level.


Capitol Hill Washington DC Congress America
Capitol Hill Washington DC Congress America

The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that upgrades to ambassador level the position of special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism at the State Department.

The Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act was authored by Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., who helped write the 2004 law that created the monitor post.

Lawmakers and Jewish communal organizations have chafed at the Trump administration’s failure to name someone to the anti-Semitism monitor post since Donald Trump became president, citing a perceived spike in anti-Semitism worldwide.

Under the legislation, the anti-Semitism monitor would be the primary adviser to the U.S. government in monitoring and combating anti-Semitism and would not have extraneous duties. The president must nominate a candidate for the position within 90 days of the legislation becoming law.

“Tragically, anti-Semitism is on the rise across the globe,” Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., co-chair of the Bipartisan Taskforce for Combating anti-Semitism, said in a statement following the legislation’s passage in the House. “The bipartisan Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act reinforces our nation’s leadership in fighting this scourge by elevating the position of Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism to the rank of Ambassador and ensuring that the Special Envoy is solely focused on this important task.

“History teaches us that anti-Semitism is defeated only when it is confronted directly. The Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act is a strong step forward as Congress seeks to defeat global anti-Semitism.”

The other co-chairs of the Bipartisan Congressional Task Force for Combating Anti-Semitism who cosponsored the bill are Reps. Chris Smith, R-N.J.; Nita Lowey, D-N.Y.; Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla.; Eliot Engel, D-N.Y.; Kay Granger, R-Texas; Ted Deutch. D-Fla; and Marc Veasey, D-Texas.

The legislation still must pass the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the full Senate.