July 06, 2021

Gillibrand, Bipartisan Group Of Colleagues Call For Increased Funding For Special Envoy To Monitor And Combat Antisemitism

Fiscal Year 2022 Funding Request Marks a $250,000 Increase from Year Prio

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, member of the Senate Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Antisemitism, joined over two dozen Senate colleagues in a bipartisan letter to Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs, respectively, requesting $1.25 million for the U.S. State Department’s Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 – a 25 percent increase over FY2021. 

“To respond to the alarming rise of antisemitism across the globe and here at home, we have to give the Special Envoy the best tools possible to improve the safety and security of at-risk Jewish communities. The safety and well-being of Jewish communities will always be a top priority for me, and I urge Senate appropriators to meet this urgent moment and increase funding for this vital role,” said Senator Gillibrand. 

In January, the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act of 2019, bipartisan and bicameral legislation Gillibrand helped introduce to enhance the State Department’s role in combating and monitoring antisemitism around the world by elevating the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism to the rank of Ambassador, was signed into law.

The senators’ request for increased funding is supported by Agudath Israel of America, the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, B’nai B’rith International, Hadassah: the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, the Jewish Federations of North America, the National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and the Union for Reform Judaism.

The full text of the letter can be found here and below:

Dear Chairman Coons and Ranking Member Graham:

As you consider the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations bill, we respectfully request that you provide $1.25 million for the U.S. State Department’s Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, an increase of $250,000 above the FY 2021 enacted level.

Tragically, 76 years after the end of the Holocaust, antisemitism remains a serious and growing danger for Jews in Europe, the Middle East, the United States, and elsewhere in the world. According to a study by the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry, violent antisemitic attacks worldwide rose 18 percent in 2019, including at least 53 synagogues and 28 community centers and schools that were targeted. 

To combat the rising tide of global antisemitism, the State Department’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism works to promote accurate Holocaust education, improve the safety and security of at-risk Jewish communities, ensure foreign public officials condemn antisemitic discourse, and strengthen foreign judicial systems in their prosecution of antisemitic incidents. The Special Envoy is responsible for developing and implementing policies and projects to combat global antisemitism by working closely with foreign governments, intergovernmental organizations, and civil society. Additionally, the Special Envoy coordinates and assists in developing the reports on antisemitism within the State Department’s annual Human Rights Reports and International Religious Freedom Report. 

The Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act of 2019 (PL 116-326), which passed both the House of Representatives and Senate unanimously and was signed into law on January 13, 2021, elevated the Special Envoy position to the rank of Presidentially- appointed and Senate-confirmed ambassador, reporting directly to the Secretary of State. 

Providing additional funds in FY 2021 will ensure the State Department has the resources to implement PL 116-326 and continue building on United States leadership in combating antisemitism internationally. Specifically, these funds would support the Special Envoy’s efforts to improve the safety and security of at-risk Jewish communities, combat online radicalization, ensure public officials and faith leaders condemn anti-Semitic discourse, and strengthen judicial systems in their prosecution of anti-Semitic incidents.

Thank you for your consideration and prior funding for the Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. The undersigned members strongly urge you to appropriate $1.25 million for the Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti- Semitism in the FY 2022 State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Act.

Sincerely,