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Deborah Lipstadt named to Time’s 100 Most Influential People list
profile photo of Deborah Lipstadt

Honored by Time magazine for “tirelessly working to protect Jewish communities and to build a world where all are safe and protected,” Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt — U.S. special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism — has been an Emory professor for three decades.

— Emory Photo/Video

Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, the U.S. special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, has been named to Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2023.

An Emory faculty member for three decades, Lipstadt is on a leave of absence from her role as Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies in the Tam Institute for Jewish Studies and the Department of Religion.

Beyond the classroom, Lipstadt may be best known for making history in her own right when she was sued for libel by David Irving, a Holocaust denier from Britain, in the wake of her groundbreaking 1993 book “Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory.” The case, which was filed in England, ended with a verdict in April 2000 in favor of Lipstadt, proving her accusations against Irving were true.

When Lipstadt had to take up temporary residence in England during the trial, it was with Emory’s support and reassurance that “the courtroom will be your classroom.” She documented the trial in her book “History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier” (2006), and her landmark stand for historic truth inspired the 2017 motion picture “Denial,” which was filmed in part on Emory’s campus and starred Academy Award-winning actor Rachel Weisz as Lipstadt.

President Joe Biden nominated Lipstadt to serve in the ambassador role. She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in March 2022 and sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris on May 24.

For the Time 100 list, Lipstadt is among 13 honorees in the “Titans” section, which also includes Beyonce, Lionel Messi, Elon Musk and Angela Bassett, among others.

Each listing includes a short essay about the honoree written by an expert in their field. Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and national director of the Anti-Defamation League, writes about Lipstadt, describing how she is “tirelessly working to protect Jewish communities, and to build a world where all are safe and protected.”

“A distinguished scholar, Deborah has courageously taken on antisemitism on campus, in the courts, and in the halls of power,” Greenblatt writes. “Now she is battling the ‘oldest hatred’ at a moment when anti-Jewish hate has surged to record levels in the U.S. and around the world.

“Deborah has aptly noted that antisemitism might start with the Jews, but it never ends with the Jews,” he continues. “And so her work — fearlessly calling on the international community to ensure that Jews everywhere can live safely and practice their faith freely — is critical not only for Jewish people, but also for ensuring a society free of bigotry and intolerance for all people.”

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