Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism

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Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism
U.S. Department of State official seal.svg
Seal of the United States Department of State
Agency overview
Formed2004; 19 years ago (2004)
JurisdictionExecutive branch of the United States
Annual budget$1.5 million (2022)
Agency executive
Parent departmentU.S. Department of State
WebsiteOfficial website

The Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism (formerly the Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism) is an office of the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights at the United States Department of State. The office "advances U.S. foreign policy on antisemitism" by developing and implementing policies and projects to support efforts to combat antisemitism.[1]

The head of the office is the Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Antisemitism (SEAS), who reports to the U.S. Secretary of State. In 2021, the special envoy was elevated to an ambassador-at-large nominated by the U.S. president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The position was previously appointed by the secretary of state.[2][3]


The office's responsibilities under U.S. federal law (22 U.S.C. § 2731) are:

  • monitoring and combating acts of anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic incitement that occur in foreign countries;
  • providing input on antisemitism for two annual reports issued by the State Department:
  • consult[ing] with domestic and international nongovernmental organizations and multilateral organizations and institutions, as the Special Envoy considers appropriate


Bush administration[edit]

The Office was created by the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004, reporting to the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL).[3] The first Special Envoy was Gregg Rickman, a Congressional staffer who had served as Director of Congressional Affairs for the Republican Jewish Coalition. Rickman was sworn in on May 22, 2006 and served until the end of the George W. Bush administration.[4][5]

Obama administration[edit]

Hannah Rosenthal served in the post under the Obama administration from November 23, 2009 to October 5, 2012.[6][7] Rosenthal was praised for formalizing the office's work and criteria, and for her personal involvement against anti-Semitic acts globally; however, she also received criticism from her predecessor Rickman and from Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, for including Muslim community leaders in joint activities against religious hatred.[7][8]

Rosenthal was succeeded on an interim basis by career diplomat and former U.S. ambassador to Belarus Michael Kozak.[9]

Kozak served in the role until Ira Forman, the former executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council, was sworn in as Special Envoy on May 20, 2013; he served until Obama's term in office ended in January 2017.[10][11][12]

Trump administration[edit]

In June 2017, five months into the Trump administration, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson cast doubt on whether the post of Special Envoy would be filled during Trump's presidency.[13] Members of the House and Senate publicly expressed concern that the position was unfilled and called for Trump to make an appointment, at the same time calling on Trump to fill the vacant position of White House Jewish Liaison.[14][12] Congressional concern over the vacancy continued to grow throughout 2018 and early 2019.[15] On February 5, 2019, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the appointment of Elan Carr, a Los Angeles County deputy district attorney who had served as an active duty officer in the United States Army Judge Advocate General's Corps.[16][15][17][18]

Biden administration[edit]

In 2021, the Special Envoy was elevated to an Ambassador-at-Large nominated by the U.S. President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.[2]

On July 30, 2021, President Joe Biden nominated scholar Deborah Lipstadt for this role.[19] Opposition from Senator Ron Johnson, whom she had tweeted was advocating "white supremacy/nationalism", delayed her nomination for many months.[20] Her initial nomination expired at the end of the year.[21]

After renomination, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held hearings on her nomination on February 8, 2022. On March 29, 2022, the committee favorably reported her nomination out of committee. Her nomination was supported by all committee Democrats, as well as senators Mitt Romney and Marco Rubio.[22] Her nomination was confirmed by voice vote on March 30, 2022, and she was sworn in on May 3, 2022.[23]

List of special envoys[edit]

# Image Name Assumed office Left office President(s) served under
1 Rickman.png Gregg Rickman May 22, 2006 January 20, 2009 George W. Bush
2 HannahRosenthal.jpg Hannah Rosenthal November 23, 2009 October 5, 2012 Barack Obama
- Michael Kozak official portrait.jpg Michael Kozak
October 5, 2012 May 20, 2013
3 Ira Forman at Cabot University panel.jpg Ira Forman
May 20, 2013 January 20, 2017
- - Office Vacant January 20, 2017 February 5, 2019 Donald Trump
4 Elan Carr State Department portrait upon Special Envoy appointment.jpg Elan Carr February 5, 2019 January 20, 2021
- - Office Vacant January 20, 2021 May 3, 2022 Joe Biden
5 Deborah Lipstadt, U.S. Special Envoy.jpg Deborah Lipstadt May 3, 2022 Incumbent

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Office of the Special Envoy To Monitor and Combat Antisemitism". Retrieved 2023-02-02.
  2. ^ a b "H.R.221 (Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act)". Retrieved 2023-02-02.
  3. ^ a b 118 Stat. 1282, 1284
  4. ^ Jordan, Mirmiam (October 31, 2009). "Secret Mission Rescues Yemen's Jews". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  5. ^ "Rickman, Gregg". United States Department of State. October 31, 2006. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  6. ^ Fingerhut, Eric (November 24, 2009). "New anti-Semitism monitor sees role as reactive, proactive". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  7. ^ a b Kampeas, Ron (October 16, 2012). "Leaving State Department's anti-Semitism post, Hannah Rosenthal reflects on accomplishments". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  8. ^ Schuyler, David (May 3, 2018). "Rosenthal to retire as CEO of Milwaukee Jewish Federation". Milwaukee Business Journal. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  9. ^ Powell, Colin (2003) [1995]. My American Journey. Ballantine Books. p. 598. ISBN 0-345-46641-1. LCCN 2003091156.
  10. ^ "Reports of anti-Semitism increase". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Associated Press. May 20, 2013. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  11. ^ "Forman, Ira N." United States Department of State. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  12. ^ a b Cortellessa, Eric (June 26, 2017). "Former anti-Semitism envoys warn of 'terrible loss' of post under Trump". The Times of Israel. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  13. ^ Ziv, Stav (June 15, 2017). "Rex Tillerson: Anti-Semitism Could Get Worse With a State Department Special Envoy". Newsweek. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  14. ^ Park, Sumner (July 11, 2017). "Lawmakers press Trump to appoint liaison to Jewish community". The Hill. Archived from the original on June 18, 2018. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  15. ^ a b Wilner, Michael (February 5, 2019). "Pompeo appoints Elan Carr, prosecutor, as antisemitism envoy". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  16. ^ Pompeo, Michael R. (February 5, 2019). "On the Appointment of Elan S. Carr as Special Envoy To Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism" (Remarks by the Secretary of State). Washington, DC: United States Department of State. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  17. ^ Kampeas, Ron (February 4, 2019). "Trump names prosecutor, former AEPi leader, Iraq war vet to be anti-Semitism monitor". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  18. ^ "Trump to appoint Elan Carr Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism". JewishInsider. February 4, 2019. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  19. ^ "President Biden Announces Intent to Nominate and Appoint Leaders to Serve in Key Religious Affairs Roles". The White House. 30 July 2021. Retrieved 28 March 2022.
  20. ^ "Senate advances nomination of Deborah Lipstadt as antisemitism envoy". 29 March 2022.
  21. ^ "PN1165 — Deborah E. Lipstadt — Department of State 117th Congress (2021–2022)". US Congress. 3 January 2022. Retrieved 28 March 2022.
  22. ^ "Senate advances nomination of Deborah Lipstadt as antisemitism envoy". 29 March 2022.
  23. ^ "PN1572 – Nomination of Deborah E. Lipstadt for Department of State, 117th Congress (2021–2022)". 30 March 2022. Retrieved 1 August 2022.

External links[edit]