Home News After delay, Trump names envoy to fight anti-Semitism

After delay, Trump names envoy to fight anti-Semitism

Published on February 24, 2019

President Donald Trump’s administration on Tuesday named a seasoned prosecutor as the US envoy to fight anti-Semitism abroad, waiting two years to fill the post despite rising violence against Jews.

Elan Carr, the grandson of Holocaust survivors who has served on the national council of the pro-Israel pressure group AIPAC, is a former deputy district attorney in Los Angeles known for prosecuting gangs and ran unsuccessfully for Congress as a Republican.

“Promoting human rights and religious freedom, including by combating anti-Semitism everywhere it exists, is a US foreign policy priority that furthers our national interests of stability and democracy,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement announcing Carr’s appointment.

Carr immediately headed on his first foreign trip to attend conferences in Slovakia and Belgium on anti-Semitism in Europe, according to the State Department.

The appointment came more than two years after Trump took office and as many key diplomatic positions remain vacant.

Trump’s first secretary of state Rex Tillerson, a former oil executive tasked with decreasing the size of the State Department, had suggested eliminating the envoy, arguing that other officials already handle anti-Semitism.

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Lawmakers disagreed, with Congress last month passing a law that will require the administration to fill any vacancy in the anti-Semitism envoy position within 120 days.

“For too long, the Trump administration failed the global Jewish community, dragging its feet to fill this critical position during a time of increased anti-Semitism around the world,” Representative Eliot Engel, a Democrat who heads the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement as he welcomed Carr’s appointment.

A total of 13 Jews were killed around the world last year in anti-Semitic attacks, the highest level in decades, according to an Israeli government report issued for Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Eleven of the dead were shot dead in October at a Pittsburgh synagogue in the deadliest-ever anti-Semitic attack in the United States.

Trump, while a close ally of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, caused an uproar in 2017 when he said that “some very fine people” were among white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia who chanted anti-Semitic slogans in a rally that ended in the killing of a counter-protester.