July 30, 2021 — New York
American Jewish Committee (AJC), the leading global Jewish advocacy organization, congratulates Deborah Lipstadt on her appointment today to be the U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism.
“The Biden Administration has chosen wisely in appointing Deborah Lipstadt to fill this ambassadorial post, so vital to U.S. leadership in fighting antisemitism,” said AJC CEO David Harris. “Professor Lipstadt is one of this country’s, indeed the world’s, foremost experts on modern antisemitism, its constant morphing and multiple sources, and the current challenges to confronting it. AJC has been honored to work closely with her for years, and we eagerly look forward to partnering to advance the envoy office’s mission.”
The Office to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism, created by Congress in 2004, has kept the U.S. at the forefront of international efforts to raise consciousness about the rising menace of antisemitism, and press governments and multilateral institutions to take action to safeguard vulnerable Jewish communities.
“As an organization with more than 115 years of experience in grappling with antisemitism globally, we have worked closely with the Special Envoy’s office since its inception,” said Harris. AJC had encouraged the Administration to fill the position, vacant since Elan Carr left soon after Biden’s inauguration, as swiftly as possible.
Lipstadt, the Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory University, received the AJC Jewish Leadership Award in 2016 for being a “champion of the Jewish people and the rights and dignity of all people, guardian of historical truth and memory,” noting that “your great dedication and ceaseless efforts inspire us all.”
Her highly acclaimed book, “Antisemitism Here and Now,” published in 2019, is widely considered an essential primer on the age-old hatred of Jews. She discussed the multiple sources of contemporary antisemitism on an episode of AJC's podcast, People of the Pod.
AJC CEO David Harris quietly led the global, multi-year effort to generate support for Lipstadt’s trial defense, while several AJC staff members offered their counsel and guidance, after a libel suit filed by Holocaust denier David Irving, who challenged her description of him in her book, “Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory.”
The legal ordeal in London lasted five years, and the court ruled resoundingly in favor of Lipstadt in April 2000. She tells the story in her book, “History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving.” Later, in 2016, a Hollywood feature film, starring Rachel Weisz as Deborah Lipstadt was released to widespread acclaim.