on the hill

House passes measure to double budget of office on antisemitism

The amendment was pushed by Reps. Ted Deutch and Max Rose

U.S. Embassy in Ukraine

Former U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Elan Carr

The House of Representatives passed an amendment Thursday evening that would double the funding for the State Department’s Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. 

The measure, added to the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations bill as part of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2021, was pushed by Reps. Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Max Rose (D-NY). The current budget for the office is $500,000. The full bill is expected to pass the House on Friday. 

In a statement to Jewish Insider, Rose said that the increased funding was especially critical given the rising tide of global antisemitism. “We need to be doing everything we can to fight this threat, and we can’t do it with one hand tied behind our back,” he said. 

Elan Carr, a former prosecutor in the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, has served as the administration’s special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism since February 2019. 

Last year, the House passed the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act, legislation that would elevate the position of the special envoy to the rank of an ambassador — which would require Senate confirmation — by a 411-1 vote. 

“I’ve been proud to support Elan Carr,” Rose said, “and by doubling the resources he has to do his work I’m confident he’ll be able to continue affecting real change.” 

Earlier this week, the House passed an amendment, also sponsored by Rose and Deutch, requiring the State Department to develop a strategy to combat global white supremacist terrorism. “Tragically, we know what can happen when a white supremacist attack abroad inspires deadly violence here at home,” said Deutch, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs’s subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa, and international terrorism. “That’s why targeting transnational white supremacist groups is a national security priority. We must do more to go after these extremist groups and prevent future attacks.” 

Hannah Rosenthal, who served in the position from 2009 to 2012, wrote an op-ed for the Jewish Telegraph Agency earlier this week alleging that Carr has used his office to “score political points” and engage in partisan “divisiveness” against President Donald Trump’s Jewish critics.

Rosenthal told JI that given recent cuts in the State Department budget, there’s no reason for the SEAS budget to be singled out for increases. “Such actions could feed the horrid hateful sentiments that Jews get more when it comes to money than other groups and/or bureaus,” she explained. Rosenthal added that if she felt the current envoy “was able to accomplish the things I was doing to great acclaim and he had other initiatives he wanted to add, then it might be worth discussing.” 

“I would want to ensure that the work at State remains one of foreign policy and not a partisan office to help with outreach to Jewish voters for the administration,” Rosenthal added. 

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