Monday, August 3, 2009

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Jerusalem Thinktank Attacks Obama for Failing to Name Anti-Semitism Envoy

by David Bedein

Jerusalem, Israel - A monograph published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, run by Dr. Dore Gold, a close advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, entitled "The Politics of the American Response to Global Anti-Semitism." has leveled stinging criticism of the Obama administration for failing to to name an envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism around the world. This position is mandated by US law. Since President Obama assumed his position on Jan. 20, the position has not been filled.

Dr. Rafael Medoff, director of the Washington DC-based David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, who wrote the monograph for the Jerusalem think tank, said that

"Foot-dragging on the selection sends a message that anti-Semitism is not of great importance to the United States," said Medoff.

According to Medoff, "At a time when anti-Semitism remains a staple of government propaganda in the Middle East, when violent anti-Semitic incidents are reported almost daily throughout Europe, and when even the streets of Washington are not untouched by anti-Semitism's violent potential, that is the wrong message to send."

The State Department's Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, which was established by a Congressional initiative in 2004, advocates American policy on anti-Semitism both in the US and internationally.

The proposal to establish such an office was initially opposed by the Bush administration, which took 18 months to appoint an envoy to head the office, Medoff said.

"On the one hand, it is understandable that at a time of multiple domestic and foreign crises, the Obama administration does not see this position as a top-tier concern," Medoff wrote. "Yet it is nevertheless surprising how far down anti-Semitism appears to have slid on the new administration's list of priorities, particularly when it was the Democrats themselves who fought so hard to create the position over the vehement opposition of the Bush administration.”

View this story at Israel Behind the News

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