Senate Urged To Appoint Deborah Lipstadt As Anti-Semitism Monitor

Three major Jewish organizations are asking the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to convene a hearing on President Joe Biden’s candidate to be the State Department’s anti-Semitism supervisor, Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt.

“We are compelled to urge you to hold the Committee hearing on Professor Lipstadt’s nomination without further delay,” read the letter from the Jewish Federations of North America, the Orthodox Union and the Anti-Defamation League.

The letter was addressed to the committee chairman, Democrat Robert Menendez of New Jersey, and his most senior member, Republican James Risch of Idaho, although his clearly intended target was Risch, who is using his prerogative to hold a hearing.

Risch told Jewish Insider this week that he was concerned about Lipstadt’s previous tweets criticizing Republican lawmakers. Other Republican lawmakers blame her for appearing in an ad during last year’s presidential campaign comparing former President Donald Trump’s rhetoric to that of the Nazis in the 1930s, before the Holocaust.

This week, Lipstadt testified on behalf of the plaintiffs in a civil lawsuit against organizers of the 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where Trump said there were “very good people on both sides” and that Biden made a centerpiece. of his presidential campaign.

Holocaust historian and expert Deborah Lipstadt speaks at conference on New Anti-Semitism, Holocaust Denial, and History Rewriting (Credit: ISRAEL MALOVANI)

In their letter, the three Jewish groups emphasized that, as a practice, they do not endorse the nominees, but said there was a special urgency given the recent rise in anti-Semitism around the world. They pointed to Lipstadt’s credentials as a Holocaust scholar – she teaches at Emory University in Atlanta – and emphasized that she has identified instances of anti-Semitism on the left and the right.

“There is no doubt that Professor Lipstadt has the credentials to deserve a proper hearing before the Commission on Foreign Relations, and that hearing is already overdue,” the letter said.

A letter that brings together the ADL and the OU, two groups that often find themselves on opposite sides of church and state issues, is in itself unusual.

The situation is unprecedented because it wasn’t until last year that Congress elevated the role of the anti-Semitism monitor to the level of ambassador, requiring Senate confirmation.

Ambassadors are frequently political appointees, some are retired legislators or campaign donors, with a past full of political statements. From time to time, however, these statements have risen to a level that has led senators to use their prerogative to block a nomination.

Sam Fox, a board member of the Republican Jewish Coalition, had contributed substantially in 2004 to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a group that spread false claims about the then-Senator’s Vietnam service. John Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate that year. In 2007, Kerry blocked Fox’s nomination to be ambassador to Belgium, citing his role in the Swift Boat ad. President George W. Bush used his prerogative to appoint Fox to office while the Senate was in recess.

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