Some members of U.S. Jewish organizations, backed by several congressmen, are raising questions about the Obama administration’s commitment to fighting anti-Semitism. They are raising the concerns in light of a dangerous increase in attacks on Jews and Jewish organizations around the world, according to The Hill.
These include violent attacks on synagogues and individuals in France, spray-painted swastikas and desecration of Jewish graves in Germany, and assertions by Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez’s government that “Semitic banks” have been ruining the economy, The Hill reported.
House Republicans have raised concerns about the speed with which President Barack Obama staffed the Office to Monitor and Combat Global Anti-Semitism, which was created by the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004. They are also concerned that the current head of the office, Hannah Rosenthal, is more concerned with fighting Islamaphobia than anti-Semitism.
The former head of the office, Gregg Rickman, who stepped down at the beginning of the Obama administration wrote in July 2010 that “Rosenthal seems to continue her stray from her main job fighting anti-Semitism. Her consistent attention to Islamaphobia suggests a real sympathy for those very people who lead the way in attacking Jews in Europe.”
Several key lawmakers also are concerned about the staffing levels of the office, which reportedly dropped to one at the beginning of the Obama administration.
“I am very concerned about the trend of-again of maybe double hatting, maybe not your position, but the staff,” Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., asked Rosenthal at an April 2010 hearing. “…I would hate to see the specialness of your office diluted, and that is what I would believe it to be if you didn’t have dedicated staff.”