Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism

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Created by the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004,[1] the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism (SEAS) is an official in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor of the U.S. Department of State. That Bureau produces the State Department's annual reports on Human Rights Practices and International Religious Freedom, and SEAS provides input on anti-Semitism for these reports.[2] Under the Obama Administration, the office was symbolically upgraded when it was physically moved to the same floor as the U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

The creation of the office has been politically sensitive, [3] and President George W. Bush signed it over the objections of the State Department, which was described as saying it was a "a "bureaucratic nuisance", since "separate reports on different religions or ethnicities were not warranted, given that we already prepare human rights reports and religious freedom reports on 190 countries."" [4]

The incumbent Envoy is Hannah Rosenthal, who has been criticized by some American Zionist groups that lean toward the position that criticism of the State of Israel is anti-Semitic. She was supported by her predecessors. Her predecessor in the George W. Bush Administration, Gregg Rickman, as well as Rafael Medoff, director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, wished her well in the challenges facing the office. They said she would be under pressure from a variety of interests: U.S. officials who believed "friendly relations with a particular regime is more important than speaking out against anti-Semitism in that country" and fanatics who "try to mask their anti-Semitism as opposition to Israel or Zionism." [5]

References

  1. Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004, U.S. Government Printing Office
  2. Report on Global Anti-Semitism, July 1, 2003-December 15, 2004, Department of State to the Committee on Foreign Relations and the Committee on International Relations in accordance with Section 4 of PL 108-332, December 30, 2004, 5 January 2005
  3. D. Wes Rist (16 October 2004), "Bush signs anti-Semitism review act", Jurist, University of Pittsburgh School of Law
  4. Brandon Smith (14 October 2004), "Bush to sign anti-Semitism monitoring act over State Department objections", Jurist, University of Pittsburgh School of Law
  5. Gregg Rickman and Rafael Medoff (8 December 2009), "Op-Ed: New U.S. anti-Semitism envoy facing formidable task", Jewish Telegraph Agency