Reps. Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Grace Meng (D-NY) have been named co-chairs of the House Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Antisemitism for the 117th Congress. They replace former Reps. Eliot Engel (D-NY)and Nita Lowey (D-NY)
Lieu, who represents western Los Angeles, as well as neighborhoods including Beverly Hills and Santa Monica, is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and has served on the Middle East, North Africa and Global Counterterrorism Subcommittee.
“On January 6, we saw disturbing displays of antisemitic symbols right in the halls of Congress, demonstrating how pressing of an issue antisemitism remains in our country,” Lieu told Jewish Insider. “Even before the Capitol riots, there has been a disturbing increase in violence and hateful acts against Jewish Americans, including ones that occurred in my own district. As members of Congress, it is our duty to protect the Jewish-American community and condemn antisemitism in all its forms.”
Lieu pledged to work with the Biden administration, foreign leaders and civil society organizations to coordinate the U.S. response to antisemitism and efforts to memorialize the Holocaust.
Meng represents parts of Queens and has long been active on issues related to Holocaust remembrance and antisemitism. Recently, she organized a letter to the solicitor general criticizing the Justice Department’s position in a Supreme Court case regarding Holocaust-era art restitution.
Lieu and Meng join returning co-chairs Reps. Ted Deutch (D-FL), Chris Smith (D-NJ), Marc Veasey (D-TX), Kay Granger (R-TX), Randy Weber (R-TX) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA). The task force had more than 175 total members in the prior Congress, and is currently reorganizing for the new session.
“Congress and the federal government must play a role in protecting [the Jewish] community and addressing the rise in antisemitic incidents domestically and globally. We stand ready to work with President [Joe] Biden to combat antisemitism,” the co-chairs said in a joint statement. “As co-chairs of this caucus, we are committed to strengthening our government’s response to antisemitism and ensuring the memory of the Holocaust is never forgotten.”
In the statement, they also encouraged Biden to move quickly to nominate an ambassador-at-large to monitor and combat antisemitism, a position which was elevated to the status of ambassador during the previous Congress.
“Jewish communities here at home and around the world are under attack, whether in the form of vandalism, physical violence, or online harassment,” the co-chairs added. “Even today, we recognize and are constantly reminded that antisemitism is not a thing of the past. Indeed, 76 years after the end of World War II, there are still those who deny and attempt to rewrite the history of the Holocaust which took the lives of 6 million Jews.”