Press Release

ADL Welcomes House Passage of Anti-Semitism Envoy Bill

New York, NY, January 11, 2019 … ADL welcomed today’s overwhelming vote in the U.S. House of Representatives approving the bipartisan Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act, which would upgrade the role of the State Department’s global anti-Semitism envoy to ambassador level and impose a legal limit on the time in which any administration can leave this critical position unfilled. H.R. 221 was passed by the House in a floor vote of 411 to 1.

Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO and National Director, said:

Particularly in light of rising rates of anti-Semitic incidents in countries around the world, we welcome the overwhelming vote today passing the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act.  It is disappointing and, frankly, baffling that this critical position has remained vacant since January 2017.

Lobbying Congress to pass this bill has been a top priority for ADL. Thousands of Americans have signed our petitions to fill this position, and ADL has led more than 70 national and local groups to call on House and Senate leadership to finally pass this long-overdue bill. Now we urge the Senate to take up this bill in a timely manner.

The bill passed by the House today would impose a legal limit on the time in which the administration can continue to leave the post of the U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism without a designated appointee. It would also elevate the position to a presidential nominee and the rank of ambassador, ensure that the envoy has guaranteed access to the Secretary of State and authorize the envoy to coordinate U.S. efforts to combat anti-Semitism abroad across the entire federal government.

ADL organized a letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee signed by 16 national organizations in July 2018 urging timely action on the bill, followed by a November 2018 letter signed by more than 70 national and local Jewish communal groups urging action on the bill.  The House passed the bill in September 2018 by a vote of 393 to 2, but the bill was ultimately held up by narrow opposition in the Senate.

Now that it has passed the House again, ADL urges the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate as a whole to also take timely action on this bill in the new session of Congress.

Last year, ADL collected thousands of signatures on public petitions urging the administration to fill the position immediately. ADL sent several letters to President Trump and senior administration officials about this as well, including one in June 2017 signed by religious leaders from numerous faiths. Another, sent in May 2018, was signed by a broad range of prominent individuals and Jewish groups.