Senate committee to hold confirmation hearing on Lipstadt's nomination

Deborah Lipstadt was nominated in July, but numerous delays blocked a Senate committee vote on her nomination.

Holocaust expert and historian Deborah Lipstadt speaks at the New Antisemitism, Holocaust denial and rewriting history conference earlier this week (photo credit: ISRAEL MALOVANI)
Holocaust expert and historian Deborah Lipstadt speaks at the New Antisemitism, Holocaust denial and rewriting history conference earlier this week
(photo credit: ISRAEL MALOVANI)

WASHINGTON – Six months after US President Joe Biden named Deborah Lipstadt to be the next special envoy to combat and monitor antisemitism, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing to consider her nomination.

Lipstadt tweeted on Tuesday that the hearing will take place next week, adding: “I am grateful and pleased.

The announcement came following a letter from 96 Jewish Federations and Community Relations Councils that urged the committee to consider the nomination.

The Jewish Federations of North America praised the committee for its decision.

“We are grateful to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for moving ahead with this important confirmation hearing,” said JFNA senior vice president of public affairs Elana Broitman. “Jewish communities at home and around the world need an advocate and watchdog at the State Department to take action against the rising tide of antisemitism, and we look forward to a speedy confirmation.”

Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nevada) tweeted, “Pleased to see next steps in the confirmation of Deborah Lipstadt, a longtime fighter of antisemitism & Holocaust denial, who has been nominated to serve as Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism, the first time this position will have the rank of Ambassador.”

Biden formally nominated Lipstadt for the post in July, but since then the committee has not scheduled a vote on her nomination. Republican James Risch of Idaho, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in November that he was concerned about previous Lipstadt tweets in which she was critical of Republican lawmakers.

In the past few weeks, several Jewish organizations, including the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, the World Jewish Congress and the Orthodox Union, have urged the committee leadership to move forward with the nomination.

A professor of modern Jewish history and Holocaust studies at Emory University in Atlanta, Lipstadt was the founding director of the Institute for Jewish Studies.

She 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.

During the administration of former president Bill Clinton, she served in several roles at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Due to the rise in antisemitism worldwide, several Jewish leaders in recent weeks have called on the Biden administration to fill the position, which has been vacant since he took office.

Lipstadt is an author of eight books, including The Eichmann Trial, Holocaust: An American Understanding; Antisemitism: Here and Now; and Beyond Belief: The American Press and the Coming of the Holocaust, 1933–1945.

Her book Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, published in 1994, led British writer and Holocaust-denier David Irving to sue her for libel in London in 2000. The trial resulted in a victory for Lipstadt, who in 2005 wrote her memoir, History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier.