NEW YORK – The Anti-Defamation League delivered a petition with thousands of signatures to the US State Department on Wednesday, calling on President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to fill the vacant office of special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, as quickly as possible.
The post, established by the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act signed into law by president George W.
Bush in 2004, has remained vacant since the Trump administration took office.
Since July 1, the office has been completely unstaffed, as its remaining two employees, each working part-time or less, were reassigned.
Tillerson indicated in testimony before Congress last month that the administration had yet to decide whether the envoy position would be filled.
“The Trump administration must commit to filling this position,” the petition reads. “The special envoy plays a key role in diminishing anti-Jewish hatred overseas – and it is mandated by law since the George W. Bush administration.
“ADL knows firsthand from working with prior envoys that this role is critical to fighting antisemitism and past envoys have made key accomplishments in fighting hate,” it continues.
Last month the organization held a briefing with former antisemitism envoys, Ira Forman and Hannah Rosenthal, who held the post during the first and second terms of the Obama presidency, respectively.
During the briefing they stressed that “the threat of antisemitism certainly is not abated” and that leaving the position vacant would be “a huge step backward.”
The petition, which included as of Tuesday close to 5,000 signatories, also stated that “this administration must fight antisemitism at home and abroad and ADL supporters call on the president and State Department to allocate the resources for this as soon as possible.”
ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt said, “We know firsthand that this role is critical to fighting antisemitism and it is vital that the United States continue to manifest its leadership in fighting hate around the world. There’s simply no reason to postpone this decision for even one more day.”