Historian Deborah Lipstadt confirmed as envoy to combat antisemitism after push from Jewish groups

ABC News – It comes after months of delays and Republican opposition.

The Senate on Wednesday night unanimously confirmed Deborah Lipstadt, Biden’s nominee for special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, after months of calls from the Jewish community to move forward on her delayed nomination.

Biden had announced his intent to nominate Lipstadt in July 2021. But Lipstadt’s confirmation only came after months of delays and Republican opposition, similar to the experiences faced by many of Biden’s other nominees that require Senate confirmation.

But a diverse swath of Jewish groups, including the Orthodox Union and the American Jewish Committee, supported her nomination. High-profile instances of domestic antisemitism also led to renewed calls for her to be confirmed, even though the envoy role is predominantly focused on antisemitism abroad.

Those incidents include one in January in Colleyville, Texas, in which a British national took the rabbi and members of Congregation Beth Israel hostage, holding them for hours until law enforcement officials stormed the synagogue.

Lipstadt is a high-profile historian of Jewish history and the Holocaust who teaches at Emory University in Atlanta. She gained fame after winning a court case against British author David Irving, who sued her and a publisher for libel when she accused him of Holocaust denial.

Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga, who is Jewish, introduced the vote in the Senate by invoking his own family history with antisemitism.

“My great grandparents, Israel and Annie, arrived in this country in 1911 and 1913, fleeing antisemitism in Eastern Europe,” Ossoff said.

“Their story is like the story of so many Jewish immigrants and refugees who came to the United States because the free exercise of religion is guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”

Ossoff also called attention to America’s status as “a place where you’re protected from persecution. No matter how you worship.”

“Striking success”