Biden named historian Deborah Lipstadt as Envoy to Combat Antisemitism

US President Joe Biden formally named Deborah Lipstadt as the next US Ambassador to Combat and Monitor Antisemitism.

Lipstadt, a professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University, was the founding director of the Institute for Jewish Studies.

She is currently on the boards of the Jewish Forward Advisory Committee and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in addition to serving as a judge for the Rohr Prize in Jewish Literature. During the administration of former president Bill Clinton, she served in several roles at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The appointment came after several Jewish leaders, due to the rise in antisemitism worldwide, called on the Biden administration in recent weeks to fill the position, which has been vacant since he took office.

Lipstadt is an 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 her memoir: History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier.

Lipstadt was previously a member of the State Department’s Advisory Committee on Religious Persecution Abroad and was a board member of Hillel International, the Defiant Requiem and the Covenant Foundation. She received a BA from City College in New York and an MA and Ph.D. from Brandeis University.

Anti Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement that Lipstadt “is eminently qualified as a distinguished scholar who understands the arc of history and knows that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.”

“At a time of rising extremism from all sides, this awareness is essential and makes her a superior choice for this critical role,” he said.

“Professor Lipstadt is a woman of courage who has fought antisemitism in the courts, confronted it on campus and spoken truth to power,” Greenblatt continued. “She is a champion of facts who will call out hatred against the Jewish people regardless of the source – but also a person who aptly has noted that antisemitism might start with the Jews, but it never ends with the Jews. This insight is critical, and Professor Lipstadt understands the relationship between anti-Jewish hate and other forms of bigotry and intolerance.”

Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Florida) said in a statement that President Biden “made an excellent choice in selecting Deborah Lipstadt to serve as the State Department’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism.”

He added that “she will bring to this role extensive experience and a deep understanding of historic and modern day antisemitism. Especially amid the years-long rise in global antisemitism, Deborah is the leader we need to push governments to take this deadly threat seriously.”

Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Illinois) said in a statement that he “first met Deborah Lipstadt in 1990 when she was the resident scholar on a trip to Poland and Israel. For decades, she has served as both academic and activist, inspiring policymakers to confront the harsh realities of antisemitism in our world and fight for justice.”

He added that “I can’t imagine a better, more qualified person to lead the United States’ efforts to combat antisemitism. Amid recent rising antisemitism, both in the United States and around the globe, Deborah Lipstadt will lead with a vigorous moral clarity.”

Ambassador to the United States and UN Gilad Erdan congratulated Lipstadt in a statement. “As an accomplished author and historian, Dr. Lipstadt has dedicated her life to fighting antisemitism and preserving the memory of the Holocaust,” he wrote. “Antisemitism is the oldest and most widespread form of hatred and the recent wave of antisemitic attacks against Jews around the world and in the US serves as a reminder that no place is safe from antisemitic hatred.”

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