AJC Welcomes Appointment of U.S. Anti-Semitism Envoy to Confront "Global Increase in Anti-Semitism"

May 20, 2013, 20:44 ET from American Jewish Committee

WASHINGTON, May 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC welcomes Secretary of State John Kerry's appointment of Ira Forman as Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, based in the State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.

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"This appointment could not be more timely," said AJC Executive Director David Harris. "Anti-Semitism and related violence have been on the upswing worldwide, and continued U.S. leadership to combat it is urgently needed."

"Ira Forman has the knowledge, commitment and experience to focus government-wide attention on documenting and devising new ways to fight this ages-old scourge," Harris continued. "We welcome his appointment as a successor to former Envoy Hannah Rosenthal and Interim Envoy Michael Kozak."

The appointment of Forman was made today as the State Department issued an annual report on international religious freedom, ominously concluding that 2012 brought "a continued global increase in anti-Semitism." 

The Department's International Religious Freedom Report specifically points to violence and desecration that has resulted from an increase in anti-Semitism "by government officials, religious leaders, and the media, particularly in Venezuela, Egypt and Iran." 

The Special Envoy provides input on anti-Semitism for these reports, which provides details on every country in the world, including a focus on anti-Semitic incidents, including personal and property attacks; government policies, court cases, and educational programs.

Forman previously served as Director of Congressional Relations for the Office of Personnel Management during the Clinton administration. He led the National Jewish Democratic Council for 15 years.

The post of Special Envoy was established by the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004, and is a part of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL).

A wide range of AJC programs in the United States and its overseas offices work to combat global anti-Semitism.

SOURCE American Jewish Committee