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Rep. Christopher H. Smith. (Photo: Chris Smith).

Smith bill to combat anti-Semitism now law

By David Wildstein, January 14 2021 7:04 pm

Legislation authored by Rep. Christopher Smith (R-Hamilton) that would provide the rank of Ambassador for the State Department’s Anti-Semitism Special Envoy was signed into law today.

Smith’s bill passed the House on December 31 has already been approved by the Senate.

“My new law will raise the Special Envoy to the rank of Ambassador-at-large, a high-level position that will allow the Special Envoy to report directly to the Secretary of State,” said Smith. “The official rank of Ambassador comes with greater seniority and diplomatic access not only here in Washington, but equally important, overseas in dealing with foreign governments. In short, it gives the Special Envoy the clout required do the job more effectively.

Part of Smith’s proposal is a requirement that the president quickly nominate a now-strengthened Special Envoy.

“We’ve seen a rapid rise in anti-Semitic acts and rhetoric in many countries over the past decade: Jews harassed, assaulted and even murdered; synagogues attacked; graves and cemeteries desecrated; anti-Semitic slurs; and targeting the State of Israel with what my friend, the great Soviet refusenik and religious prisoner Natan Sharansky, calls the ‘three Ds’– demonization, double-standard, and de-legitimization,” Smith said in a statement released on Thursday.

The Senate version of Smith’s bill was sponsored by Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Jackie Rosen (D-Nevada) and Kristen Gillibrand (D-New York).

“Congressman Smith has been a world leader in the effort to combat anti-Semitism, keeping the spotlight on the scourge of global hate. In our troubled times, we need his leadership more than ever. Smith led the 2004 Congressional effort to create a U.S. Special Envoy to Combat Anti-Semitism,” said Rabbi Aaron Kotler, president and CEO of Bet Medrash Govoha in Lakewood.  “Good people of all faiths owe him a debt of thanks for helping keep racism at bay and for protecting civilized society.”

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