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Congressman Dave Trott

Representing the 11th District of Michigan

Trott Urges President Trump to Combat Domestic and Global Anti-Semitism

March 10, 2017
Press Release
Bipartisan initiative urges President Trump to appoint Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Dave Trott joined a bipartisan group of his colleagues in sending a letter to President Trump urging him to appoint a Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism at the U.S. Department of State.

In addition to the letter, Rep. Trott issued the following statement:

“At a time when anti-Semitism is dangerously on the rise, our nation must take a strong stand to protect the ideals of religious freedom and liberty at home and abroad. The United States has played an indispensable leadership role in promoting global tolerance, pluralism, and human rights, and we must continue to underscore our commitment to protecting everyone’s right to practice their beliefs freely and openly around the world.”

Since coming to Congress, Rep. Trott has been a staunch advocate for religious minorities. On January 18th, the Jewish Community Center in West Bloomfield was one of 16 centers across the country that received a telephoned in bomb threat just that day. In response, Rep. Trott urged the Secretary of Homeland Security, U.S. Attorney General, and Director of the FBI to take swift action to address the significant number of bomb threats telephoned in to Jewish Community Centers.  

A PDF of the signed letter is available here.

Full text of the letter is as follows:

Dear Mr. President:

As Members of Congress who care deeply about anti-Semitism at home and abroad, we urge you maintain and prioritize the appointment of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism at the U.S. State Department’s Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism.  During previous Administrations, this office was crucial in documenting human rights abuses against Jewish communities abroad as well as developing and implementing policies designed to combat anti-Semitism.

The Office of the Special Envoy was created by the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act—through provisions authored by the Bipartisan Taskforce for Combating Anti-Semitism Co-Chair Chris Smith—which passed Congress with broad bipartisan support in 2004.  Since its creation, the Special Envoy has reported on troubling incidents impacting Jews worldwide in its annual State Department Human Rights Report, helping to identify concerning attacks, trends, and events impacting Jews worldwide.  For instance, the 2015 Human Rights Report detailed the horrific kosher supermarket attack in France, the xenophobic and anti-Semitic Jobbik party in Hungary, and the desecration of Jewish sites—such as cemeteries and memorials—in places like Argentina, Greece, Egypt, and Ukraine. The tracking of international incidents of anti-Semitism is crucial in providing Members of Congress a comprehensive understanding of the problem’s scope.

This office has also been responsible for ensuring that American diplomats around the globe are operating under the same definition of anti-Semitism.  In the past, the State Department published and promoted a definition of anti-Semitism adapted from the Working Definition of Anti-Semitism of the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia: “Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities." 

We view U.S. leadership on combating anti-Semitism and promoting human rights as pivotal components of American diplomacy and foreign policy. The Office of the Special Envoy enables the U.S. to show the world its commitment to these ideals, particularly at a time when anti-Semitism is dangerously on the rise. As Members of Congress devoted to the protection of vulnerable minorities, we urge you to support resources for this crucial office and prioritize this presidential appointment. Such actions will help ensure that the U.S. continues to play an indispensable leadership role in promoting global tolerance, pluralism, and human rights.

Thank you for your attention to these critical issues, and we look forward to your response.