21 Jewish Organizations Urge US Senate To Confirm Anti-Semitism Envoy

WASHINGTON – Representatives of 21 American Jewish organizations sent a letter Thursday to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Foreign Relations Committee, urging confirmation of Deborah Lipstadt. “We are writing to urge you to quickly fill the position of special envoy to the United States to monitor and combat anti-Semitism considering the current candidate,” the letter reads. Among the groups that signed the letter: The Jewish Federations of North America, the World Jewish Congress and the Anti-Defamation League.

Lipstadt’s nomination has stalled in recent weeks and it is not yet clear when the Senate will debate and vote to confirm it. Republican James Risch of Idaho, a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 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.

“Holding this position is a high priority for our organizations and of utmost importance in the fight against the growing anti-Semitism and hatred around the world,” they wrote. “As Jewish organizations dedicated to protecting the rights and safety of the Jewish people, we believe the position of the United States Special Envoy is crucial in addressing the global increase in anti-Semitic violence, harassment, vandalism, attitudes and incitement.” .

Senator Mark Kelly arrives at the US Capitol to vote as the Senate works to promote the bipartisan infrastructure bill in Washington, USA, August 8, 2021. (Credit: REUTERS / SARAH SILBIGER)

“Every day we delay filling this critical position, we are putting people’s lives in danger,” they wrote. “We cannot allow anti-Semitism to become a divisive issue in polarized politics today. To this end, we strongly urge you to prioritize filling this position, which is not only the right thing to do, but also sends a powerful signal to governments around the world that the United States is serious about fighting anti-Semitism. and asks them to do the same. “

In July, US President Joe Biden formally appointed Deborah Lipstadt as the next US ambassador to combat and monitor anti-Semitism. Lipstadt, professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University, was the founding director of the Institute for Jewish Studies.

She currently serves on the boards of the Advanced Jewish Advisory Committee and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and serves as a judge for the Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature.

During the administration of former President Bill Clinton, he held various positions at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Due to the rise in anti-Semitism around the world, several Jewish leaders asked the Biden administration in recent weeks to fill the position, which has been vacant since he took office.

Lipstadt is the author of eight books, including The Eichmann Trial, Holocaust: An American Understanding, Antisemitism: Here and Now and Beyond Belief: The American Press and the Coming of the Holocaust, 1933-1945.

Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, published in 1994, led British writer and Holocaust denier David Irving to sue her for libel in London in 2000. The trial resulted in a victory for Lipstadt, who in 2005 wrote his memoirs: Story on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier.

JTA contributed to this report


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