Jewish Lawmakers Praise Trump's Appointment of Special Envoy to Fight anti-Semitism

Trump appoints Elan Carr to the position of special envoy, a position that has remained empty since Trump took office in 2017 despite intense criticism from the Jewish community

U.S. President Donald Trump gives the State of the Union Address, February 5, 2019.
\ POOL/ REUTERS

WASHINGTON – Leading Jewish lawmakers and organizations in the United States reacted positively Tuesday to the Trump administration’s appointment of a special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism.

The appointment came two years into the administration, after intense criticism from the Jewish community and lawmakers over the fact that this State Department position was left unfilled.

The Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism was created during the George W. Bush administration, with first incumbent Gregg Rickman being sworn in on May 22, 2006.

It was continuously staffed during that administration and the two terms of President Barack Obama. The Trump administration, however, did not fill the position after it came to power in 2017, and there were a number of reports implying that Trump wanted to cancel it altogether.

On Monday, however, the administration finally appointed attorney Elan Carr to the position. The step was welcomed by Jewish lawmakers and groups.

>> Who's an anti-Semite? In 2019, it's not so easy to tell | Analysis

Rep. Nita Lowey (Democrat of New York) wrote: “I am hopeful that Mr. Carr is the right person to spearhead our diplomatic efforts against threats to the world’s Jewish communities and that he will work with Congress to ensure that the U.S. remains a leader in the fight against anti-Semitism.” She described the appointment as “long overdue.”

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said his organization “consistently urged the admin to fill this long-vacant position” and was happy to see Carr’s appointment, describing him as “a leader in the fight against anti-Semitism.”

“We welcome the appointment of Elan Carr,” said the American Jewish Committee. “We look forward to working closely with him to maintain American leadership in fighting this age-old hatred around the world.”

The Orthodox Union stated that “Mr. Carr’s appointment comes as anti-Semitic incidents and attacks have been sharply increasing not only in the United States but also internationally: In a 2018 European report, about one-third of Jews in Europe said they’d been directly targeted by anti-Semitic harassment.”

The Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism at the State Department deals, as its name implies, with both monitoring and tracking anti-Semitism around the world, and encouraging governments, companies and individual people of influence to take action against it. The last person to hold the position was Ira Forman, who was the special envoy during the second term of the Obama administration.