Senators urge Trump to combat anti-Semitism

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) have led a bipartisan group of 41 U.S. Senators urging President Donald Trump to appoint a Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, a position at the U.S. Department of State that has now remained vacant for more than 15 months.

In a letter to President Trump, the senators emphasized the importance of the United States leading with action to combat anti-Semitism at home and abroad.

“There has been an acute global increase in anti-Semitic incidents over the last year, often taking place in the form of violent attacks, bomb threats, vandalism and hateful rhetoric spanning all levels of society,” the senators wrote. “The Special Envoy position and the Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism are critical in the leadership role of the United States in guiding a rules-based international order that promotes peace, security and opportunity for all people. We hold firmly that no one should have to live in fear of bias and hate, and that no one should be persecuted as a result of their faith. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that the United States upholds its commitment to freedom and human rights around the world.”

In the United States, the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents documented a 57 percent rise in anti-Semitic incidents in 2017 – the largest single-year increase on record and the second highest number reported since ADL started tracking such data in 1979.

“Thank you to Senators Heinrich and Portman for leading this important effort, and to the 39 other Senators from both sides of the aisle who raised their voices to speak out. We enthusiastically supported this important effort because anti-Semitic incidents are on the rise in many countries overseas, and our government has been hamstrung in its response without an anti-Semitism envoy since January of last year. U.S. leadership is essential for addressing global anti-Semitism effectively,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, CEO and national director, Anti-Defamation League.

The letter was signed by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chris Coons (D-DE), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Bill Nelson (D-FL), John Barrasso (R-WY), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Susan Collins (R-ME), Tom Udall (D-NM), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Tim Scott (R-SC), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jerry Moran (R-KS), John Thune (R-SD), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), David Perdue (R-GA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Patty Murray (D-WA), Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Tina Smith (D-MN), Jack Reed (D-RI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Gary Peters (D-MI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Robert P. Casey (D-PA), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Chris Murphy (D-CT).