The top U.S. diplomat focused on anti-Semitism forecast an intensified government response during a Sunday night address to an event sponsored by the Atlanta Israel Coalition.
Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combatting Anti-Semitism Elan Carr discussed a meeting he attended in July that included Attorney General William Barr, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and FBI Director Christopher Wray.
“That conference was unprecedented,” Carr told 250 people at the Atlanta Jewish Academy. “You’ll see big things happen.”
“The president of the United States really cares about this. The secretary of state cares about this,” Carr said. The 51-year-old Carr had been a deputy district attorney in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office for more than a decade when he was appointed special envoy in February by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“This administration, of which I am so proud to be a part, is committed in unprecedented fashion to fighting against anti-Semitism around the world, to the protection of the Jewish people, and to the support of Israel,” Carr said.
He gave his audience something of a global tour of anti-Semitism, citing three main sources: ethnic supremacy on the right, Israel hatred on the left, and militant Islam. “They should hate each other more than anything else on earth, yet they’re united in their hatred of the Jewish people,” he said.
Carr decried “the so-called new anti-Semitism that dresses up Jew hatred with a fig leaf of anti-Zionism and anti-Israel.”
Nonetheless, he said, “Anti-Semitism on the left is no more important than the other two legs of the stool. We don’t rank kinds of Jew hatred. We don’t care what ideological clothing it wears. To rank them is only to help those who are weaponizing anti-Semitism for political gain.”
Referencing the problem in Europe, Carr said, “As we approach the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz … only 75 years since the Nazi crematoria have cooled, we see firsthand the human wreckage left behind on a continent by anti-Semitic ideology.”
Carr said that he soon will make his first trip to the Arab world, to the Gulf region. “Any Arab country that traffics in anti-Semitism is doing the work of Iran,” the diplomat said, connecting anti-Semitism with Iran as part of a “strategy that has more potential to move the needle on anti-Semitism in the Arab world than ever before.”
Though the mandate of his office is anti-Semitism outside of the United States, the White House “has specifically tasked me to focus” on the issue domestically, as well, Carr said.
“The fight against anti-Semitism is the fight for the future of our country,” he said.
Carr said many of this nation’s college campuses have become “disgraceful places of open anti-Semite venom” and said that enhanced Jewish education is needed so that young people are better equipped to counter anti-Semitism.
“The amount of damage done to this fight by some Jews is beyond description,” Carr said, referencing Jewish students and faculty who have advanced anti-Israel actions at universities. He singled out Jewish Voice for Peace as “an organization that has its name on almost every venomous action” happening on campuses.
Carr also likened the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement to economic boycotts against Jews promulgated by the Nazi-era brownshirts in Germany.
During a question-and-answer period, Carr was asked about President Donald Trump’s remark that Jews who vote for Democrats are insufficiently loyal to the Jewish people and to Israel.
“As the leader of the Republican Party, the president is entitled to make the case that the Republicans Party is better at supporting Jewish interests than the Democratic Party,” Carr said. “If the president makes that case, I think we have to take it in that context.”
“The degree to which this president’s words were taken out of context, intentionally, is appalling. If you want to criticize him, criticize him, but don’t take his words out of context,” said Carr, adding that his position requires a non-partisan stance.
“This president is so absolutely, passionately supportive of the Jewish people. He loves the Jewish people.”
Carr said that when he represented the federal government at the funeral of Lori Gilbert Kaye, who was killed in April when a gunman attacked the Chabad center in Poway, Calif., “I was authorized by the White House to say that we are at war with these white supremacists.”
“I’m going to fight this fight. It’s my job and I’ll fight it with the full weight of the United States of America,” Carr said, “But to actually win the war against this ancient, relentless pathology, even the United States alone cannot do that. What we need in this fight is perhaps the most elusive asset of all, Jewish unity. We need the Jewish people to stand together,” he said to applause.