Emory historian Deborah Lipstadt nominated as U.S. envoy to combat antisemitism

July 30, 2021

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Deborah Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies, has been nominated by the White House to serve as the State Department’s special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, a position with the rank of ambassador.

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Emory University President Gregory L. Fenves issued the following statement July 30 on the nomination of historian Deborah Lipstadt:

Today, the White House nominated Deborah Lipstadt as the State Department’s special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism. Pending Senate confirmation, she will hold the rank of Ambassador. Dr. Lipstadt is Emory’s Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies, and her scholarship and thought leadership have distinguished her for decades as one of the world’s foremost experts in the study of antisemitism. 

Through her acclaimed books, articles, and commentary, Dr. Lipstadt has combated Holocaust denial and discrimination, uncovering the historical roots of antisemitism and exploring its persistence through the millennia. In 2000, Dr. Lipstadt successfully defended her scholarship in a prominent libel case, later chronicled in her book History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier and the film “Denial.”

At Emory, Dr. Lipstadt has been a transformative teacher since 1993 and an inspiration to generations of students, receiving Emory’s Cuttino Award for Excellence in Mentoring and the Exemplary Teacher Award. Because of her expertise, she has advised previous U.S. presidential administrations. And she has the experience to lead at a time when antisemitism has been on the rise in the U.S. and around the world. Dr. Lipstadt’s nomination is a sign that our country is committed to addressing acts of bigotry and hatred aimed at the Jewish people.

There is no place for antisemitism in our society. For thousands of years, it has appeared in communities the world over, taking different forms but always serving to marginalize the Jewish people. The Holocaust, which claimed the lives of 6 million Jews including many of my family members, was built on a foundation of antisemitism. But as Dr. Lipstadt has made clear, particularly in her recent book Antisemitism: Here and Now, antisemitism isn’t just in the past. Hateful acts against Jews continue to haunt us to this day. And it is our responsibility to stand strongly in opposition to these targeted attacks on the Jewish people.

I am heartened to see the nomination of Dr. Lipstadt as an expert and teacher who can help lead our nation forward on this vital issue. And I am proud that, pending Senate confirmation, she will be representing Emory—through her public service—at the very highest level.