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July 30, 2021 2:49 pm
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Biden to Tap Holocaust Historian Deborah Lipstadt as Antisemitism Envoy

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

Holocaust expert and author Dr. Deborah Lipstadt. Photo: Emory University

The Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt will be nominated as the Biden administration’s antisemitism envoy, the White House said Friday, in a choice praised by American Jewish groups.

A professor of Jewish history at Emory University in Atlanta, Lipstadt was the founding director of its Institute for Jewish Studies, and has penned works on the American press during the Holocaust, the trial of Adolf Eichmann, and her own successful court battle against British Holocaust denier David Irving.

For the first time, the State Department role of Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism will hold the rank of ambassador, thus requiring Senate confirmation, thanks to bipartisan legislation passed in January.

“Having spent her career fighting antisemitism and Holocaust denial, Deborah Lipstadt will ensure the US remains a leader in combating antisemitism globally,” commented US Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV). “Her nomination has my full support, and I look forward to working alongside her in our shared mission of protecting Jewish communities and combating antisemitism across the globe.”

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Leading US Jewish organizations also applauded the pick, with B’nai B’rith International President Charles O. Kaufman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin calling her “eminently qualified” for the job.

“B’nai B’rith looks forward to working with Lipstadt as antisemitism has spiked exponentially in the United States and around the world, manifesting itself in many forms and variants, oftentimes fueled by social media,” they said in a statement. “It is vitally important that the US government, through the person of the special envoy, continue to assume a leadership position in the battle against this alarmingly growing challenge.”

Nathan Diament, the Orthodox Union’s Executive Director for Public Policy, noted that the announcement “comes at a time we are witnessing a terrible surge in attacks and threats committed against the global Jewish community,” including violent assaults on individuals.

“While it’s unfortunate we need to have such a position at the State Department, Prof. Lipstadt is certainly the best person to fill this job,” he said.

American Jewish Committee (AJC) head David Harris called Liptstadt “one of this country’s, indeed the world’s, foremost experts on modern antisemitism, its constant morphing and multiple sources, and the current challenges to confronting it.”

Lipstadt would succeed former Los Angeles prosecutor Elan Carr, who was appointed by President Donald Trump in 2019.

She serves on the boards of the Jewish Forward Advisory Committee and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and has previously held several roles at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. She is also a former member of the US Department of State’s Advisory Committee on Religious Persecution Abroad and was a Board Member of Hillel International.

The White House also announced on Friday its intended nominations for three other religious affairs roles, including Rashad Hussain as Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, a choice praised by AJC for his “extensive engagement with the Muslim world” and his efforts to strengthen Muslim-Jewish relations.

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum will be tapped as Commissioner of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Khizr Khan — a religious freedom advocate and Gold Star parent of US Army Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed while serving in Iraq — will be appointed Commissioner of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.

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