After months of delays, US Senate confirms Deborah Lipstadt antisemitism monitor

“This is a tremendous honor and responsibility and I pray that I will prove worthy of the task,” Lipstadt said after getting unanimous approval.

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt was unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate to serve as antisemitism monitor on Wednesday.

“This is a tremendous honor and responsibility and I pray that I will prove worthy of the task,” Lipstadt said following the confirmation.

President Joe Biden nominated Lipstadt for Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism in July. But confirmation was delayed by Republicans angered by her criticisms of former President Donald Trump and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.)

Previous antisemitism envoys did not require Senate approval. But in 2020, Congress gave the State Dept. position the rank of ambassador to facilitate access to world leaders and U.S. officials, putting Lipstadt through a confirmation process.

American Jewish organizations widely supported Lipstadt’s nomination.

But the appointment was held up by Republicans in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, particularly by Johnson, who pressured committee chairman Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho) to use his prerogative to hold up the approval process.

Lipstadt angered Johnson last year by tweeting that a certain opinion he expressed on a radio show about the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill riot was “white supremacy/nationalism.”

Previously, in 2017, Lipstadt accused then-President Donald Trump’s “innermost circle” of what she called as “soft Holocaust denial” and the “de-Judaization” of the Nazi genocide.

Committee members Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) broke party ranks to advance Lipstadt’s confirmation to the full Senate.

The 75-year-old Emory University historian shot to prominence in 1996 when she and her publisher Penguin Books were sued by Holocaust-denier David Irving, who claimed Lipstadt’s book, “Denying the Holocaust” falsely characterized him as a Holocaust denier. Lipstadt prevailed in court.

“There is no person more qualified for this important role than Deborah Lipstadt,” said Emory President Gregory Fenves.

“During a time when antisemitism is on the rise across the country and world, she is the leader our nation needs to help us overcome and transform hatred through her peerless knowledge, scholarship and expertise.”

Hundreds of other Biden nominees have been left in limbo. One year into Biden’s presidency, only 41 percent of his nominees for positions requiring Senate confirmation had been approved, according to an analysis by the Partnership for Public Service, a nonpartisan group that seeks to make the federal government more effective.