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US Senate passes bill elevating anti-Semitism monitor to ambassador

Move would give envoy extra funding and status while pressing other governments to combat anti-Semitism

Elan Carr, the United States Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating anti-Semitism, speaks Monday, April 29, 2019, next to a photo of Lori Kaye, who was killed when a gunman opened fire inside the Chabad of Poway synagogue, during a memorial service for Kaye in Poway, Calif. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Elan Carr, the United States Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating anti-Semitism, speaks Monday, April 29, 2019, next to a photo of Lori Kaye, who was killed when a gunman opened fire inside the Chabad of Poway synagogue, during a memorial service for Kaye in Poway, Calif. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The US Senate passed a bill that would elevate the position of the anti-Semitism monitor to ambassador, adding punch to the envoy’s mission of pressing other governments to confront anti-Jewish bigotry.

“Anti-Semitism continues to rise at an alarming rate across the globe,” Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., who led sponsorship of the bipartisan bill, said in a statement Wednesday after the vote, which passed unanimously. “To equip the State Department to better address rising anti-Semitism, it is critical that we elevate the role of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism to Ambassador-at-Large.”

The US House of Representatives passed a similar bill last year, meaning it is almost certain to become law before the year ends and the current Congress lapses.

A broad array of Jewish groups backed the measure. With the status of ambassador, the envoy will have easier access to the secretary of state, increased funding and the office’s recommendations are likelier to be seen overseas as having the backing of the administration of the day.

“This legislation provides the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism with the tools, resources and gravitas necessary to apply much-needed pressure on foreign governments to create more tolerant societies as part of their relationships with the United States,” Hadassah said in a statement.

The Orthodox Union said, “the Senate is providing powerful new tools to the State Department to lead impactful international efforts to combat what has been aptly called ‘the world’s oldest form of hatred’.”

The position of anti-Semitism monitor was created by Congress in 2004.

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