House raises antisemitism envoy position to ambassador

(JTA) – The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that upgrades to ambassador level the position of special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism 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 antisemitism monitor post since Donald Trump became president, citing a perceived spike in antisemitism 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. 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.

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