BRUSSELS—Elan Carr, the newly appointed United States Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, was in Brussels on Thursday to participate in the European Parliament in a conference on combating anti-Semitism and better protecting Jewish communities across the European Union, which was organized by the Romanian presidency of the European Union.
As Special Envoy, Carr will advise U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and is responsible for directing U.S. policies and projects aimed at countering anti-Semitism throughout the world.
A a former criminal prosecutor, he also served as an anti-terrorism expert and as a Jewish community leader who has played a prominent role in defending the safety of the Jewish people at home and abroad and in fighting against anti-Semitism on U.S. college campuses.
He gave to European Jewish Press (EJP) his first interview since being appointed. Here is the text of his interview :
EJP : Elan Carr, you are attending in Brussels a conference on the fight against anti-Semitism. How do you assess the situation in Europe ?
First of all let me say how honored I am to be here. This s is my first official visit as Envoy. When I was appointed, when U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo announced my appointment I was on a plane on the runway ready to come to Europe because I wanted to get started right away and it was important for me to come here in person and express President Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo’s strongest and most unequivocal determination to fight anti-Semitism wherever in the world. I am very proud to be here representing my government to make that message very clear. Secondly it is very important for me to be here because I really wanted to honor this conference. The fact that the Romanian presidency choose to focus on antisemitism as its first order business as President of the European Council, is incredibly significant/ I I just want to thank the Romanian presidency for organizing this.Every single Romanian representative in the European parliament and in the government was extremely strong in stating how it is critical for antisemitism to be fought. To answer your question, antisemitism is not only in Europe. It is everywhere. Anti-Semitism is a global problem. That`s why my job as U.S. Special Envoy is to fight antisemitism everywhere in the world. And that is something that I a look forward to do, to partnering with our allies and friends in Europe and throughout the world in fighting what is truly one of mankind`s oldest and most enduring sicknesses,in order to coming together to build a kind of decent future that our children deserve.
EJP : How can the U.S. help Europe tackle the problem of anti-Semitism in Europe ?
I think that the U.S. can be very helpful. These are solvable problems. It is a big challenge. Anti-Semitism has been around for a long time. In Europe we see how anti-Semitism is dangerous in Europe. But I want to see something else about Europe. When you look at the number of Europeans who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. There is a lot of people of decent minds who want to see a different Europe. A Europe that protects, treasures and honors its rich Jewish history. This history goes back to millennia. Anti-Semitism is about the kind of Europe that Europeans want to have. They want to have a Europe that is decent, kind and peaceful, that treasures its Jewish history and Jewish population. I and my government look forward to working with EU member states, the European Commission and European Parliament to put forward effective programs that will change facts on the ground, that will educate young people, train law enforcement authorities on Jewish security and will truly make a difference to the Jewish future of Europe. I believe it can be a very bright future.
EJP : You mentioned that anti-Semitism is not limited to Europe. What about the U.S. ?
Certainly not. There is anti-Semitism all over the world. I I was appointed only a short time after one of the worst attacks we have seen in the United States, the massacre of Jews in a synagogue, praying. It was horrific and I think the entire country was truly horrified to see that this happens in the U.S. That shows you that we are not immune and by the way for those who say that these sorts of violence against Jews are rare in the US, I can tell you that my experience in Jewish leadership comes from what is going on on campuses in the U.S. And I can tell you that while acts of violence we have seen in Pittsburgh are rare, what is going in college campuses is very disturbing, with anti-Israel and anti-Zionist elements. And let me declare : anti-Israel and anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. It is causing Jewish students to feel besieged on college campuses. We have all a work to do. There is no country in the world that is immune. This is a global partnership. We will come together shoulder to shoulder for the sake of a decent future and stamp out this terrible scourge from humanity. That`s our job, our mission, and we are going to make progress.