WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Donald Trump is set to name a Los Angeles prosecutor to be the State Department’s envoy for anti-Semitism, after two years of leaving the post empty, leading to protests from lawmakers and Jewish groups.
Elan Carr, 50, is a US Army veteran who served in Iraq and a former president of the Jewish fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi. In Los Angeles, he has worked as an anti-gang prosecutor.
Trump will name him Tuesday. JTA had advance knowledge of the appointment, but held it at the request of sources. Jewish Insider broke the story Monday night.
“We eagerly look forward to working with Carr, as his office combats rising anti-Semitism, generated from the far right, the far left, and Islamist extremists, and abetted by the ubiquitous nature of social media,” David Harris, the American Jewish Committee CEO said in a statement.
The Israeli-American Council, which has worked closely with Carr for several years, commended the appointment.
“Elan Carr brings a depth of experience and insights as a prosecutor, military officer, and devoted leader in the Israeli-American and Jewish communities. We believe there is nobody more qualified to combat anti-Semitism head-on across the globe,” IAC Chairman Adam Milstein said in a statement.
Carr’s mother emigrated as a child from Iraq to Israel and subsequently to the United States. Carr himself grew up in New York speaking Hebrew and Arabic with his family, and he put the latter skill to use when he served in an anti-terrorism unit in Iraq.
In 2014, he ran for Congress as a Republican in California’s 33rd District, which covers much of Los Angeles, but was defeated by Ted Lieu. A 2016 bid for a seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors also fell short.
Carr has described casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who backed his unsuccessful political runs, as a “close personal friend.”
Carr is immediately plunging into his work, heading this week to a conference on anti-Semitism in Bratislava organized by Slovakia, which currently holds the chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and then a European Union conference on anti-Semitism in Brussels.
He has met or has planned meetings with predecessors from both Republican and Democratic administrations.
The announcement comes after Trump left the position open for two years, leading to multiple letters of protest from Jewish groups and a bipartisan array of members of Congress.
Trump’s failure until now to name an envoy has been exacerbated by concerns in the Jewish community that the president has equivocated in condemning white supremacists who have endorsed and praised him, and has cultivated relationships with authoritarians who have flirted with the far right, particularly in Hungary.
The US House of Representatives last month overwhelmingly approved a bill elevating the position to ambassador level. The position was established by law in 2004.
Times of Israel staff and JTA’s Anthony Weiss contributed to this report.