By Jackson Richman
(AUGUST 03, 2021 / WASHINGTON EXAMINER) President Joe Biden announced last Friday he would nominate Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt to be the U.S. Ambassador to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism.
It’s a pick that would have been phenomenal in another era and unanimously confirmed by the Senate. Unfortunately, as a Biden surrogate during the 2020 election, Lipstadt severely undermined her credibility in ways that should disqualify her from this role. In September, Lipstadt defended Biden, then-Democratic presidential nominee, for comparing then-President Donald Trump to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.
Lipstadt tweeted that “had VP Biden — or anyone else — compared him to what Hitler, Himmler, Heydrich, or Eichmann did, she/he would have been wrong. But a comparison to the master of the big lie, Josef Goebbels? That’s historically apt. It’s all about historical nuance.”
Donald Trump lied inexcusably. But that lying was nothing remotely close to stirring up anti-Jewish animus and an eventual genocide. Such a comparison disrespects the memory of the Holocaust and those who perished and survived, including my grandparents. In December, ahead of the Georgia Senate runoffs, Lipstadt gave a pass to Democrat Raphael Warnock for his history of antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment and activity. Yet, Lipstadt criticized incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler for her friendship with the far-right, now-Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Lipstadt said Warnock had come around on Israel-related issues — never mind that he did not apologize or repudiate his past statements and activities on that issue — such as opposing conditioning U.S. assistance to the Jewish state. She argued, “It would be hard for Warnock to repudiate his most recent views as expressed in his Israel policy paper and numerous interviews.”
Except it would not have been hard to offer a sincere apology. But when it came to Loeffler and Taylor Greene, Lipstadt wrote, “I do not think that Loeffler is an antisemite. But she has made common cause with those who are. She is an enabler.”
Instead of condemning both Warnock and Loeffler, Lipstadt decided it would be politically convenient to be on Team Biden no matter what. Even if doing so meant shredding her credibility as one of the world’s foremost Holocaust scholars.
As someone who knows Lipstadt professionally and personally, it pains me to write in opposition to her nomination. Her scholarship is widely respected in the Jewish community. Her win in a libel suit filed against her by British Holocaust denier David Irving reaffirmed the Holocaust happened. That matters.
However, antisemitism should be a nonpartisan issue. Period, end of. This ambassador position requires someone who will not be partisan and will unequivocally fight antisemitism in all its forms: far-left, far-right, radical Islamist, and all others. Amid the rise in antisemitism globally, including from the movement to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel, America needs someone who stands above the partisan fray.
Deborah Lipstadt is not that person.
Jackson Richman is a journalist in Washington, D.C. Follow him @jacksonrichman.
This op-ed was originally published in the Washington Examiner and can be found here.