December 16, 2020

Gillibrand Announces Senate Passage Of Her Bipartisan Legislation To Strengthen State Dept Role In Combating Anti-Semitism

Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced the Senate passage of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act of 2019 (S.238, H.R. 221), a bipartisan and bicameral bill that would enhance the State Department’s role in combating and monitoring anti-Semitism across the globe. Gillibrand was joined by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) as original co-sponsors of the bill.

The bill now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives for consideration.

“As we have seen far too often, anti-Semitism is an urgent threat in New York State, our country, and across the world,” said Senator Gillibrand. “We must do everything in our power to confront, and end, this growing danger. I am proud that we were able to pass this bipartisan bill to elevate the position of special envoy to the rank of ambassador in order to ensure that the State Department can monitor and help combat anti-Semitism across the globe. I will always stand with the Jewish community, and fight against hatred and prejudice in all its forms.” 

Gillibrand recently 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.