After weeks of speculation and amid calls that the position needed to be filled without further delay, President Biden nominated Deborah E. Lipstadt for the position of Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, an appointment which has the rank of ambassador. The president stressed that Lipstadt is a renowned scholar of the Holocaust and antisemitism.
Lipstadt was the founding director of the Institute for Jewish Studies at Emory University, and is presently Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies. She has authored several books on the Holocaust, including History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier. After a ten-week trial in London in 2000 when the British writer and Holocaust denier David Irving sued her for libel for writing the book, the results were an overwhelming victory for Lipstadt.
Lipstadt is currently on the Boards of the Jewish Forward Advisory Committee and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and serves as a judge for the Rohr Prize in Jewish Literature. She has also served in several roles at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, including twice as a Presidential Appointee to the Museum’s Council, and was asked by President George W. Bush to represent the White House at the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
Lipstadt received a B.A. from City College in New York and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Brandeis University, as well as nine honorary degrees and numerous awards for her research and writing.
“Dr. Lipstadt is a unique blend of scholar-activist,” observed Rabbi Abba Cohen, Agudath Israel’s Vice President of Government Affairs and Washington Director. “She is a prominent historian and thinker on the Holocaust and antisemitism and that puts her in a position of being able to turn her knowledge and understanding of these issues into informed and creative thinking about how best to fight this scourge, which is plaguing countries around the world.”
“We extend our sincere congratulations to Deborah Lipstadt upon her expected nomination to this critical State Department post that comes at a time we are witnessing a terrible surge in attacks and threats committed against the global Jewish community,” said Nathan Diament, the Orthodox Union’s Executive Director for Public Policy. “These range from assaults on individuals to legal assaults on fundamental Jewish rites including Kashrus and Bris Milah. 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.”