Anti-Israel nominee drops bid for State Dept position

Sarah Margon’s appointment as assistant secretary of state was stalled for 21 months over her history of activism against the Jewish state.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The nominee for assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor has dropped her bid after a Congressional committee stone-walled her appointment due to her anti-Israel activism, Politico reported Tuesday.

“I don’t see a path forward for confirmation, and after 1½ years, it’s time to move on,” Sarah Margon told the news site. “I will continue to work on democracy and human rights, and am grateful to President Biden and Secretary Blinken for their confidence in me and the honor of a nomination.”

Margon had been picked to head the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) in April 2021. She would have to go through the vetting procedure again in the new Congress that was recently sworn in and decided against doing so.

Before being nominated to head the DRL bureau, Margon had served as Washington director at Human Rights Watch (HRW), a nonprofit organization that routinely accuses Israel of committing war crimes and “crimes against humanity.”

She is currently the foreign policy director at the Open Society Foundations, an NPO founded and funded by billionaire businessman and Israel critic George Soros to support the left-wing causes he espouses.

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Margon’s biggest foe in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is its top Republican, Jim Risch of Idaho. When she appeared before the committee for a confirmation hearing in September 2021, he pointed to her anti-Israel stance, noting, among other issues, her praise for a short-lived Airbnb attempt in 2018 to boycott Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria.

When she responded that she opposed the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, he said he didn’t believe her, since her statement “doesn’t square” with her actions, and would oppose her nomination.

Since there is a long-held custom that the ranking Democrat and Republican of such committees must agree on bringing the vote on a candidate forward, he effectively stopped the process in its tracks.

In November 2019, Margon had criticized the Trump administration for being “virtually silent” regarding Israel’s “disproportionate attacks on Palestinians in Gaza.” She also called Israel a “repressive government” for having denied the visa extension request of HRW’s director in Israel and the Palestinian Authority due to his BDS advocacy.