This week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., teamed up with U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, to offer a proposal ensuring the State Department does more to battle anti-Semitism.
Rubio and Gillibrand brought out the “Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act” on Tuesday. U.S. Reps. Chris Smith, R-NJ, and Eliot Engel, D-NY, are championing similar legislation in the House.
The proposal would promote create an ambassador level position reporting directly to the secretary of who “should be a person of recognized distinction in the field of combating anti-Semitism or religious freedom” to serve as the “primary advisor and coordinator for U.S. government efforts to monitor and combat anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic incitement in foreign countries.”
Rubio laid out his case for why this new position was needed.
“We have seen an alarming rise in anti-Semitism with Jewish communities targeted around the world and even here at home,” Rubio said. “The United States must remain committed to combating anti-Semitism in all its forms, wherever it appears. This bill enhances the position of the Special Envoy and builds upon American leadership on this important issue.”
“At a time of growing anti-Semitism across the globe and here at home, it is vital that we prioritize the fight against this scourge,” Gillibrand said. “This bill would empower the State Department’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, and it would ensure that we have someone in that role who can raise the profile of this issue within the Department and in all of our diplomatic efforts.”
This is not a new issue for Rubio, who has been working with U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., who came up short as Hillary Clinton’s running mate on the Democratic presidential ticket, in pushing the “Combating European Anti-Semitism Act.” The proposal mirrors a bill from the Bipartisan Taskforce for Combating Anti-Semitism in the U.S. House, including two congressional representatives from South Florida in Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Democrat Ted Deutch, to examine growing anti-Semitism in Europe that was brought out in October. Rubio and Kaine brought out the proposal in the middle of November, near the end of the 114th Congress. With a new Congress convening in January, Rubio and Kaine reintroduced the bill at the start of the year.