ADL, religious leaders call on Rex Tillerson to appoint envoy to combat anti-Semitism


WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Anti-Defamation League, with the support of religious leaders of various faiths, urged Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to appoint a special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism.

The letter sent Wednesday asks Tillerson to refill the position, which has been empty since the end of Ira Forman’s term five months ago. Two dozen faith leaders, representing Catholics, Muslims, Protestants, Hindus, Sikhs and Jews, signed the letter. 

It notes that the post was mandated by an act of Congress in 2004, and takes issue with Tillerson’s assertion earlier this month that in lieu of a dedicated envoy, “all diplomats would be educated enough to work against anti-Semitism.” 

Countering the assertion, the ADL letter says that “concerns about anti-Semitism do not always make it onto the agenda of diplomatic meetings, especially when many other legitimate and pressing issues require attention. By contrast, when the Special Envoy meets with foreign officials, anti-Semitism is the agenda.”

The letter also refers to a letter from March in which 167 members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, emphasized the need for U.S. global leadership in fighting anti-Semitism.

The ADL also recently created an online petition demanding a special envoy be appointed.

The lone staffer in the office monitoring anti-Semitism is currently on a fellowship that was extended recently for 30 days by its sponsor. The fellowship is schedule to conclude at the end of July.

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