Grenell appointment to Holocaust Memorial Council met with mixed reactions

Halie Soifer, CEO of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, slammed the appointment and said that Grenell had in the past emboldened neo-Nazis.

White House Advisor Richard Grenell takes part in a press briefing at the White House in Washington, US, September 4, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS/LEAH MILLIS)
White House Advisor Richard Grenell takes part in a press briefing at the White House in Washington, US, September 4, 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS/LEAH MILLIS)
President Donald Trump on Tuesday appointed former acting director of US national intelligence Richard Grenell to serve as a member of the Holocaust Memorial Council in Washington D.C.
The appointment was met by mixed reactions from across the political spectrum. Some American Jewish leaders praised the appointment of Grenell, who also served as ambassador to Germany.
“No US Ambassador posted to Berlin in recent history has done more to combat antisemitism in Germany, from neo-Nazis to Islamists linked to Iran and Hezbollah than Richard Grenell,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Jerusalem Post during a Zoom conversation on Wednesday.
Cooper said it "is a disgrace if anyone tries to smear him" in response to an anti-Grenell tweet from Halie Soifer, the CEO of Jewish Democratic Council of America, who accused Grenell of seeking to 'empower'  far-right parties & anti-establishment conservatives in Europe."
On the other hand, figures in Germany's Jewish community criticized the appointment and Grenell for lauding the rise of the “anti-establishment” right in Germany and Europe. “Anti-establishment” was seen as a euphemism for hypernationalist right-wing parties that have engaged in apologetics about Europe’s anti-Jewish past.
Soifer had slammed the appointment in a tweet, writing: “As US Amb to Germany, Grenell sought to “empower” far-right parties & anti-establishment conservatives in Europe. Others have been unqualified, but he’s emboldened actual neo-Nazis.”
Grenell, who became the first openly gay cabinet member in US history, will serve a five-year term on the council. The council supervises the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.
Arsen Ostrovsky, the  executive director of the Israeli-Jewish Congress, said on Twitter that the "Jewish community of Germany, who overwhelmingly supported him. Meantime, Grenell was relentless in holding Hezbollah & Holocaust denying Iran to account, and led effort kick out an actual Nazi from the U.S.”
He added that "I couldn’t think of more worthy appointment to US Holocaust Memorial Council than Richard Grenell.Ric has been unwavering in fighting Antisemitism. As Amb to Berlin, he was first to put on kippa when they said No. And he’s been fearless holding Holocaust denying Iran to account!”
The Republican Jewish Coalition tweeted: “Remember when Richard Grenell stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the Jewish community in Germany when their own government told them not to wear their kippot?
Not only did Grenell voice his support for German Jews, he wore a kippah in solidarity.”
Grenell played critical roles in convincing Germany to ban the entire Lebanese terrorist entity Hezbollah and deny the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Mahan Air, an airline that is involved in aiding Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in his war crimes, landing rights in the federal republci.
Morton Klein, the president of the Zionist Organization of America, tweeted: “As a child of holocaust survivors born in a displaced persons camp, I am thrilled that my dear friend Ric Grenell is appointed to the Board of the US Holocaust Museum. Ric is a great Zionist&strong advocate for the Jewish people&Israel. He’s smart, articulate,courageous &knowledgeable.”
Israeli diplomats and security officials have lauded Grenell’s efforts over the year to promote the security of Israel and Jews across the globe.
Grenell is a fierce opponent of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign targeting Israel. In 2019, the former intelligence head launched an international campaign to decriminalize homosexuality.