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Home / Blog / 120 Members of Bipartisan Taskforce Urge Pompeo to Fill Anti-Semitism Special Envoy Position
May 31, 2018

120 Members of Bipartisan Taskforce Urge Pompeo to Fill Anti-Semitism Special Envoy Position

By Susan Corke and Mazarine Lestienne

Over the past 16 months, members of Congress, civil society, former senior government officials, Jewish and other religious leaders, and business executives have collectively raised their voices to call for the U.S. government to demonstrate that fighting antisemitism is a priority. With the arrival of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, expectations remain high that the position of Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, which has remained empty since President Trump took office, will finally be filled.

Yesterday, 120 members of the House Bipartisan Taskforce for Combating Anti-Semitism sent a letter to Secretary Pompeo, pressing him to fill the post. Without a Special Envoy, the United States lacks the focus of a person solely dedicated to spearheading our important diplomatic efforts in the fight against anti-Semitism,” wrote the Taskforce. “Appointing this important position will make clear to foreign governments that combating anti-Semitism remains an American priority and that the U.S. maintains its traditional leadership in the fight.”

On May 16, over one thousand clergy members across a wide range of faiths signed a petition urging newly appointed Pompeo to immediately fill the Special Envoy position. On May 23, Human Rights First and the Anti-Defamation League—in a letter signed by twenty organizations and twenty-seven individuals—also urged the secretary to appoint an envoy and adequately staff the office.

Antisemitic rhetoric and violence has dangerously increased throughout Europe and in the United States. In France ninety-two violent antisemitic incidents were recorded in 2017, a 28 percent rise over 2016. Germany saw an average of four antisemitic crimes per day in 2017, 95 percent of which, according to the police, had a right-wing motive. Finally, in the United States, the Anti-Defamation League recorded a 57 percent increase in reported antisemitic incidents from 2016 to 2017.

On Yom HaShoah, President Trump affirmed that Americans have "a moral obligation to combat anti-Semitism, confront hate, and prevent genocide." To truly affirm this commitment, the U.S. government must counter the normalization and mainstreaming of antisemitism in our societies and online. Secretary Pompeo should heed the warnings and recommendations of religious leaders, congressional offices, and civil society by immediately filling the Special Envoy post.