January 19, 2021

Gillibrand Announces Bipartisan Legislation To Strengthen State Dept Role In Combating Anti-Semitism Signed Into Law

Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced the signing of S.238, H.R. 221, also known as the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act of 2019, into law. The bipartisan and bicameral bill will enhance the State Department’s role in combating and monitoring anti-Semitism across the globe. 

“During these difficult times, it is important for all of us to double down on our commitment to combating anti-Semitism here at home, and across the globe,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I am proud that this bipartisan bill has been signed into law so that we can elevate the position of special envoy to the rank of ambassador. Every single person deserves the right to live a life free from the threat of danger, and until that reality becomes true, we’ve got a lot of work to do. I will always stand with, and fight for, the Jewish community.” 

Gillibrand previously led a bipartisan push to increase funding to help protect nonprofit institutions against terror attacks, calling for up to $360 million for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program. Gillibrand previously secured $90 million in NSGP funding in 2019 and $60 million in NSGP funding in 2018. The funding allocated by this program will support non-profit organizations most at risk of terror attacks through the acquisition and installation of physical target hardening measures, related preparedness and prevention planning, training, and exercises, and contracted security personnel so that religious and community based organizations have the critical resources and tools they need to protect lives and property. According to a recent FBI report on hate crime statistics in 2019, 60.2% were victims of crimes motivated by offenders’ anti-Jewish bias.

The Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act will:

  • Elevate the position of special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism to the rank of ambassador;
  • Direct the special envoy to report directly to the secretary of state;
  • Prohibit the special envoy from being double-hatted with another portfolio of issues;
  • Emphasize that the special envoy should be a person of recognized distinction in the field of combating anti-Semitism or religious freedom; and
  • Clarify that the special envoy shall be the primary advisor and coordinator for U.S. government efforts to monitor and combat anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic incitement in foreign countries.