April 2, 2018
The Honorable Donald J. Trump
President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President,
Anti-Semitism is escalating at an alarming pace around the globe, while the key United States Government position on this threat — the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism — remains vacant. We urge you to take immediate action and make this critical appointment without delay.
This week the Jewish communities of France and the United Kingdom took to the streets to protest anti-Jewish hate. In France, the brutal anti-Semitic murder of Mireille Knoll, an 85 year old Holocaust survivor, was the eleventh anti-Semitic murder in twelve years. French Jews fear for their security and question their future in France. In the United Kingdom, the Jewish community felt compelled for the first time in many years to call a public demonstration to protest the constant stream of anti-Semitic incidents in the Labour Party and the failure of its leader, Jeremy Corbin, to address anti-Semitism seriously. The data confirms the anger and concern of these communities. Violent anti-Semitic assaults increased 34 percent in Britain according to the Community Security Trust in 2017, and according to the French Ministry of the Interior, increased 26 percent in France during the same period.
Across Europe and elsewhere around the world, Jewish communities worry about rising anti-Semitism, including violent incidents, vandalism, and hateful rhetoric in public discussions and online.
Anti-Semitic rhetoric in Poland, in both private media and on state television, has intensified following the passage of a law that criminalizes certain speech about Polish collaboration during the Holocaust.
Two Jewish houses of worship were firebombed in Sweden last year, including one in which Jewish youths were gathered inside. Synagogues in Tunisia and Iran were also desecrated in 2017.
In the United States, ADL’s Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents documented a 57 percent rise in anti-Semitic incidents in 2017 – the largest single-year increase on record and the second highest number reported since ADL started tracking such data in 1979. The sharp rise was in part due to a significant increase in incidents in schools and on college campuses, which nearly doubled for the second year in a row.
Mr. President, the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism is America’s voice on anti-Semitism around the world, and that voice has been silent for the past fifteen months, despite the Secretary of State’s commitment seven months ago to fill the position.
The Special Envoy position and the Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism were established under the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act (Public Law 108-332), passed by Congress in 2004 with broad bipartisan support, and signed into law by President George W. Bush. The position and the Office were created to respond to the type of crises that Jews worldwide are now experiencing.
Congressional commitment to the position and staffing the office has since been prioritized through appropriations, and indeed, the explanatory statement on the FY17 Omnibus declared that "the Secretary of State is directed to fill the position of Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism authorized by Public Law 108-332 in a timely manner."
Mr. President, by nominating a respected and effective advocate, you will be reasserting America's moral leadership against anti-Semitism and reassuring Jewish communities that America stands with them and their ability to live securely as Jews wherever they are.
We respectfully urge you prioritize this urgent matter and to appoint a U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism.
Jonathan A. Greenblatt
CEO and National Director