Secretary of State John Kerry announced yesterday that Ira Forman will serve as the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. Forman, a graduate of both Harvard and Stanford Universities, 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 fifteen years. Secretary Kerry made the announcement as he released the 2012 International Religious Freedom Report.
Response after the jump from the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.
The Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004 created the position of Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. Special Envoy Forman’s first act will be to join a group of imams for visiting the site of the former Nazi death camp at Auschwitz. He will then proceed to the International Conference of the Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism in Jerusalem.
The Jewish Council for Public Affairs enthusiastically welcomed the selection of Forman. JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutov said:
For decades, I have admired my friend and colleague, Ira Forman, as a devoted father and husband, model in his community, and voice for positive change in the world. I am proud of our government’s unprecedented commitment to make fighting anti-Semitism a national priority, thanks in large part to the extraordinary leadership in recent years of the immediate past Special Envoy Hannah Rosenthal, my beloved predecessor at the JCPA. In selecting someone with the experience and wisdom of Ira, Secretary Kerry and President Obama have made sure this important work will continue. We also are appreciative of the excellent work in this arena carried out by Ambassador Michael Kozak, who has served as the Interim Special Envoy.
JCPA Chair Larry Gold added:
Ira is a deeply respected figure who has long been a powerful advocate for Jewish community interests here at home. With this new position as Anti-Semitism Envoy, he will take that respect and his passion abroad to help identify anti-Semitism where it persists and bring the influence of the US State Department to bear in attacking this pernicious phenomenon.