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Tillerson retreats on commitment to appoint anti-Semitism envoy

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned the stand-off between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors was undermining the anti-terror fight
PAUL J. RICHARDS (AFP)
The Anti-Defamation League says it is 'critical' that the position is filled

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday appeared to backtrack on plans to appoint an envoy to combat anti-Semitism, saying that the position may be unnecessary and could in fact hinder efforts on the issue. He told the hearing that maybe the State Department needed to "be effective on those issues in a different way," the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports.

“One of the questions I’ve asked is, if we’re really going to affect these areas, these special areas, don’t we have to affect it through the delivery on mission at every level at every country?” Tillerson said in testimony Wednesday to the foreign operations subcommittee of the US House of Representatives Appropriations Committee, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “And by having a special envoy, one of my experiences is, mission then says, ‘oh, we’ve got somebody else that does,’ and then they stop doing it.”

The position was created in 2004 by congressional legislation, but hasn't been filled since President Trump came to office in January. The envoy trains State Department officials to identify and fight anti-Semitism while posted abroad, a position previously described by the Anti-Defamation League's CEO Jonathan Greenblatt as the "strongest possible signal to our allies and to the world that fighting anti-Semitism is a fixture of American foreign policy."

Ranking Democrat on the foreign operations subcommittee, Rep. Nina Lowey seemed shocked that Tillerson could even suggest that the position was unnecessary.

“It is outrageous and offensive that Secretary Tillerson would even suggest appointing a Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism is unnecessary, particularly given that his State Department committed to filling the post back in April,” she told JTA. “As reports of hate crimes against Jews continue to rise in the United States and around the world, it is essential that Secretary Tillerson fill the Special Envoy position immediately.”

In response to Tillerson's testimony, Greenblatt told the Jewish Insider that he wanted Tillerson and President Trump to reconsider their position “and make clear that the State Department will not wane in its efforts to stem anti-Jewish hatred overseas.”

“In order to continue fighting the rise in global anti-Semitism, it is critical that our government allocate the appropriate resources and that begins with the key appointment to fill the Special Envoy role at the State Department,” Greenblatt said in a statement. “We know first-hand from working intimately with every prior envoy who had served in this very important role the tremendously positive and impactful outcomes that have been accomplished through diplomacy by these envoys.”

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But the SD is fundamentally full of antisemites.

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