AMERICAN JEWISH ACTIVISTS and donors have written to President Biden to ask that his administration nominate a Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism who “will commit to treating the fight against antisemitism as part of the fight for a just, multiracial democracy”.

Signatories say the letter, organised by the IfNotNow Movement and signed by a diverse array of Jewish activists and donors close to the Biden administration, is a sign of the growing trend of fighting antisemitism as part of a broader progressive agenda.

“Many of us are not the type of people who normally speak out as ‘Jewish leaders’,  though we are leaders and we are Jews”, part of the letter reads. “At this pivotal moment, our society is reckoning with centuries of white supremacy and with new, globally networked right-wing extremists movements – problems we will only be able to face if we understand antisemitism’s role in white supremacists and ethnonationalist ideologies. We feel compelled to raise our voices because we see our fights at stake, too, in the question of how the US government will define and pursue the fight against antisemitism in America and around the world.”

The Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism is the highest-ranking public official in the country tasked with fighting antisemitism. The eventual nominee will have to be approved by the Senate before leading the Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, which is part of the Office of Religion and Global Affairs inside the State Department. One of the final acts of President Trump’s envoy, Elan Carr, was to label Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Oxfam, organisations that criticised the Israeli government, as antisemitic.

“The Biden Administration has received public and private pressure from the progressive movement on a number of issues, like raising the minimum wage, and appointments, like Deb Haaland for Secretary of Interior. It’s time for him to feel progressive pressure on the issue of antisemitism”, said Morriah Kaplan, IfNotNow Movement’s National Spokesperson, “We’re proud of how this letter amplifies the voices of leaders who are Jewish but rarely seen as ‘Jewish leaders’ and makes sure that the Biden administration hears from a variety of voices that reflect the political perspectives of the broader Jewish community, not just those urging him to fight antisemitism by protecting the Israeli government.”

The letter sent to Biden and Blinken on 17 March 2021 lays out how antisemitism is a racial justice issue, an economic justice issue, a climate and migration issue, and a feminist issue. The letter includes signatories whose primary work revolves around those issues, such as Ginna Green of Uprise, Dania Rajendra and Rafael Shimunov of Athena, Evan Weber of Sunrise, Jacinta of Mijente, Rabbi Alana Alpert of Detroit Jews for Justice, Rabbi Salem Pearce of Carolina Jews for Justice, and Susannah Dyen of Caring Across Generations.

* Full letter and signatories here.

* More information on IfNotNow here

* Source: IfNotNow