U.S. Senate Passes Bill Elevating Antisemitism Monitor to Ambassador

With new status, the envoy will have easier access to the secretary of state and increased funding

JTA
Ron Kampeas
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Nevada Democratic Senator Jacky Rosen speaks during a meeting of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee of which she is a member, Washington, D.C., U.S., September 16, 2020.
Nevada Democratic Senator Jacky Rosen speaks during a meeting of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee of which she is a member, Washington, D.C., U.S., September 16, 2020. Credit: Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP Photo
JTA
Ron Kampeas

The U.S. Senate passed a bill that would elevate the position of the antisemitism monitor to ambassador, adding punch to the envoy’s mission of pressing other governments to confront anti-Jewish bigotry.

“Antisemitism continues to rise at an alarming rate across the globe,” Nevada Democratic Senator Jacky Rosen, who led sponsorship of the bipartisan bill, said in a statement Wednesday after the vote, which passed unanimously. “To equip the State Department to better address rising antisemitism, it is critical that we elevate the role of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism to Ambassador-at-Large.”

How COVID – and Israel’s Trump-brokered lovefest with Arab states – are affecting PalestiniansCredit: Haaretz

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a similar bill last year, meaning it is almost certain to become law before the year ends and the current Congress lapses.

A broad array of Jewish groups backed the measure. With the status of ambassador, the envoy will have easier access to the secretary of state, increased funding and the office’s recommendations are likelier to be seen overseas as having the backing of the administration of the day.

“This legislation provides the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism with the tools, resources and gravitas necessary to apply much-needed pressure on foreign governments to create more tolerant societies as part of their relationships with the United States,” Hadassah said in a statement.

The Orthodox Union said, “the Senate is providing powerful new tools to the State Department to lead impactful international efforts to combat what has been aptly called ‘the world’s oldest form of hatred’.”

The position of antisemitism monitor was created by Congress in 2004.

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