A bipartisan group of US lawmakers requested 2 million dollars on Thursday for the budget of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism, an increase of 500,000 dollars compared to the previous year.
The request was submitted in a letter to the chair and ranking member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs - Reps. Mario Díaz-Balart (R-FL) and Barbara Lee (D-CA), respectively - by Reps. Grace Meng (D-NY), Kathy Manning (D-NC), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Susan Wild (D-PA), Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL), David Kustoff (R-TN), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Don Bacon (R-NE).
The additional funds would “help the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism better fulfill its mission of fighting antisemitism across the globe,” a statement by Rep. Meng's office read.
The current Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism is Deborah Lipstadt.
Responsibilities of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism
The envoy's responsibilities include advising foreign governments to take steps to ensure the safety and security of their Jewish communities, including developing national action plans and appointing national coordinators.
Although there are many countries that could benefit from an official visit, the special envoy has had to decline some invitations because of a lack of resources. The additional funding requested in the letter, which was signed by 83 members of Congress, would go toward ensuring the envoy has adequate resources.
The letter also calls for a provision to ensure that the envoy's staff will remain the same regardless of changes in government administrations.
“Antisemitism is a tangible and growing threat faced by both the American Jewish community and Jews around the world,” the letter read.
“In 2019, then United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, published a report on antisemitism that shared ‘serious concern that the frequency of antisemitic incidents appears to be increasing in magnitude’ and that ‘antisemitism is toxic to democracy and mutual respect of citizens and threatens societies in which it goes unchallenged’ in several countries around the world.
"The fact that stereotypes about Jewish control of business and the financial markets, and questions of Jewish loyalty – to their country or their community – remain widespread only heightens the need for the work of the Special Envoy. We urge you to include $2 million for the Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism,” the letter added.
“This will make clear to the world the United States’ steadfast commitment to combating antisemitism and will help the Special Envoy continue to address the alarming rise in antisemitism while advancing partnerships and opportunities to engage with like-minded international partners."