Biden to nominate US antisemitism envoy

Biden to nominate leading historian as US antisemitism envoy
2 min read
30 July, 2021
Pressure had been mounting on the administration of US President Joe Biden after retaliatory attacks against the Jewish community in the aftermath of the the 11-day war on Gaza in May.
American Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt is expected to be officially nominated for the role [Getty]

US President Joe Biden has picked a renowned Holocaust historian to be the country’s antisemitism envoy, officials said on Thursday, amid growing demands for the position to be filled.

Deborah Lipstadt, a Jewish-American historian best known for becoming the subject of a libel suit brought by Holocaust denier David Irving that inspired the Hollywood film "Denial" is expected to be officially nominated on Friday, US media reported.

Last year, as the US cast its ballot in the presidential elections, Lipstadt likened the Trump administration to 1930s Germany, saying she could see parallels to the rise of the Nazis.

Pressure had been mounting on the Biden administration to fill the position after a swastika was found on Monday etched into an elevator in the US State Department building, near the office of the special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism.

"Let me be clear: Anti-Semitism has no place in the State Department, in my Administration, or anywhere in the world," Biden tweeted. "It's up to all of us to give hate no safe harbour and stand up to bigotry wherever we find it."

Let me be clear: Anti-Semitism has no place in the State Department, in my Administration, or anywhere in the world. It’s up to all of us to give hate no safe harbor and stand up to bigotry wherever we find it. https://t.co/RCkwArRjL2

— President Biden (@POTUS) July 28, 2021

Since Israel raided Gaza in May, killing 260 Palestinians, attacks against the Jewish community in the US have increased, prompting calls to appoint an emissary in charge of curbing the retaliatory acts, described as anti-Semitic.

Rights organisation Human Rights Watch (HRW) said earlier this week that the Israeli military carried out attacks that "apparently amount to war crimes" during the 11-day war on Gaza in May.

While the nomination is scheduled to be publicly announced on Friday, the appointment has already been saluted by politicians including Florida Congressman Ted Deutch, who co-chairs the House Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Antisemitism.

"Especially amid the years-long rise in global antisemitism, Deborah is the leader we need to push governments to take this deadly threat seriously," he said.

Former president Trump took over two years to appoint attorney Elan Carr to the position.

The role was established by the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004 to advance US foreign policy on anti-Semitism, implements policies and projects to support efforts to curb the phenomenon.