Wiesenthal Center, US lawmaker call for federal funding of anti-Semitism monitors


WASHINGTON (JTA) — A senior Republican congressman and a Jewish defense group called for the funding of federal positions to monitor anti-Semitism a day after reports that the Trump administration was considering nixing the international anti-Semitism monitor role.

“Ever since its creation under President George W. Bush, the Special Envoy on anti-Semitism has made clear America’s unflinching commitment to fight history’s oldest hate,” said a statement Tuesday by the Simon Wiesenthal Center. “Given the reality of the multiplicity of anti-Semitic threats, our nation’s leadership should redouble America’s commitment to combat this scourge.”

The Wiesenthal Center did not mention the report in Bloomberg News on Monday that the Trump administration was considering eliminating the position as part of budget cuts.

Neither did Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., who authored the 2004 law creating the position. However, Smith issued a statement noting his role in establishing the international anti-Semitism monitor and saying a similar position should be created to combat domestic anti-Semitism.

“It is vital that one senior law enforcement official has the mandate to lead efforts across the government to anticipate, prevent and respond to threats and attacks — especially violent ones — against the American Jewish community,” he said in a statement, noting the recent waves of bomb threats that have targeted nearly 100 Jewish community institutions, as well as massive vandalism at several Jewish graveyards.

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