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Senators call for 50% funding increase for antisemitism envoy

Sen. Jacky Rosen led a letter calling for funding for the office to be increased to $1.5 million

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris swears in Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt as special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on May 24, 2022, in Washington, D.C.

Citing rising levels of global antisemitism, 28 joined a new letter calling for a 50% increase in the budget for the State Department’s special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism as part of the 2023 appropriations process.

The lawmakers — 27 Democrats and one Republican, Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) —  signed a letter, led by Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), to leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on state, foreign operations and related programs — last month, calling for $1.5 million in funding for the office, up from the $1 million it currently receives.

The letter, obtained by Jewish Insider, highlights spiking rates of antisemitism globally and argues that the additional funding would “support the Special Envoy’s efforts to improve the safety and security of at-risk Jewish communities, combat online radicalization, ensure public officials and faith leaders condemn antisemitic discourse and strengthen judicial systems in their prosecution of antisemitic incidents.”

The $1 million budget for the special envoy is a small fraction of the State Department’s total $81.2 billion budget for 2022

“The State Department’s Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism is critical for our fight against antisemitism worldwide, which is why I helped elevate the special envoy position to the rank of ambassador,” Rosen told JI. “By increasing funding for this critical position, newly confirmed Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt can have all of the resources her office needs to succeed in the mission to protect Jewish communities around the world.”

Rosen and Rounds were joined as signatories by Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Bob Casey (D-PA), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jack Reed (D-RI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ed Markey (D-MA) and Mark Kelly (D-AZ).

Rosen and Rounds led a similar letter calling for a funding increase to $1.25 million last year, which likewise garnered 28 signatories, including Republican Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-VA).

On May 17, Rosen led a separate bipartisan letter to the leaders of the Appropriations subcommittee on homeland security, urging them to provide $2 million for a joint U.S.-Israel homeland security program and $6 million for a joint cybersecurity program, matching current funding levels.

That letter was signed by Sens. Todd Young (R-IN), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Rick Scott (R-FL) and Chris Coons (D-CT), as well as Brown, Cortez Masto, Booker, Blumenthal, Sinema, Padilla, Cantwell, Rounds and Gillibrand.

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