WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, launched the Senate Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Anti-Semitism, with co-chair Senator James Lankford (R-OK). The collaboration is the first of its kind in the United States Senate, serving as a corollary to the House of Representative’s Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Anti-Semitism, of which Rosen was a member when she served in that chamber. This week’s launch coincided with the one-year anniversary of the 2018 shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue, the deadliest targeted act of anti-Semitic violence in modern American history.
“In the United States, we’ve seen evidence that anti-Semitism and acts of hate are growing at an alarming rate,” said Senator Rosen and Senator Lankford in a joint op-ed announcing the launch of the Task Force. “As Members of Congress, our responsibility to our neighbors, to our friends, to our community, and to our children is to work together in a bipartisan way to prevent anti-Semitism before it starts – to educate, to explain, and to empower. The mission of this Task Force will be to collaborate with law enforcement, federal agencies, state and local government, educators, advocates, clergy, and other stakeholders to combat anti-Semitism by educating and empowering our communities.”
BACKGROUND: Senator Rosen holds the distinction of being the third female Jewish Senator in U.S. history, as well as the first former synagogue president to serve in the United States Senate. As such, Senator Rosen has been an outspoken advocate of combating anti-Semitism in the United States, the Middle East, Europe, and around the world.
Senator Rosen is a cosponsor of the bipartisan Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2018, which adopts a broad definition of anti-Semitism for the purposes of enforcing federal antidiscrimination laws in education. Specifically, the bill requires the Department of Education to consider this new definition of “anti-Semitism” as part of its assessment of whether an action based on an individual’s Jewish ancestry was motivated by anti-Semitic intent, in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in education. Among other things, the definition includes making stereotypical allegations about the power of Jews as a collective, denying the Holocaust, and accusing Jewish citizens of a country of being more loyal to Israel to than to the interests of their own nation.
Earlier this year, Senator Rosen helped introduce bipartisan legislation to upgrade the State Department’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism to the rank of an ambassador and require its Presidential appointment and Senate confirmation. Last Congress, Rosen co-sponsored this bipartisan legislation and helped advance it in the House, where it passed by a vote of 393-2.
Senator Rosen also attended the swearing in of the U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. Rosen was the only sitting Member of Congress to attend the swearing-in ceremony for Special Envoy Elan Carr.