Lipstadt, Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University, was the founding director of the Institute for Jewish Studies.
She is currently on the boards of The Jewish Forward Advisory Committee and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and serves as a judge for the Rohr Prize in Jewish Literature. During the Bill Clinton administration, she served in several roles at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
She is an author of eight books, including The Eichmann Trial; Holocaust: An American Understanding; Antisemitism: Here and Now; and Beyond Belief: The American Press and the Coming of the Holocaust, 1933–1945.
British writer and Holocaust denier David Irving sued her for libel in London in 2000. The famous trial resulted in a victory for Lipstadt, who in 2005 wrote her memoir: History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier.
Lipstadt was previously a member of the US Department of State’s Advisory Committee on Religious Persecution Abroad and was a Board Member of Hillel International, The Defiant Requiem and The Covenant Foundation. Lipstadt received a BA from City College in New York and an MA and Ph.D. from Brandeis University.
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Florida) said in a statement that President Biden “made an excellent choice in selecting Deborah Lipstadt to serve as the State Department’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism. She will bring to this role extensive experience and a deep understanding of historic and modern day antisemitism,” he said.
“Especially amid the years-long rise in global antisemitism, Deborah is the leader we need to push governments to take this deadly threat seriously,” said Deutch.
“I first met Deborah Lipstadt in 1990 when she was the resident scholar on a trip to Poland and Israel,” Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Illinois) said in a statement. “For decades, she has served as both academic and activist, inspiring policymakers to confront the harsh realities of antisemitism in our world and fight for justice.”
“I can’t imagine a better, more qualified person to lead the United States’ efforts to combat antisemitism. Amid recent rising antisemitism both in the United States and around the globe, Deborah Lipstadt will lead with a vigorous moral clarity,” said Schneider.
Several Jewish leaders called on the Biden administration in recent weeks to fill the position that was left vacant since he took office.
“Nominating and confirming the Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Antisemitism as soon as possible is a top priority for the Jewish community,” said William Daroff, CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations told The Jerusalem Post earlier in July.
“Given the rise in antisemitism across the globe, it is essential that the envoy be in place without further delay,” he added. Israel’s Ambassador to the United States and U.N. Gilad Erdan congratulated Lipstadt in a statement. “As an accomplished author and historian, Dr. Lipstadt has dedicated her life to fighting antisemitism and preserving the memory of the Holocaust,” he wrote. “Antisemitism is the oldest and most widespread form of hatred and the recent wave of antisemitic attacks against Jews around the world and in the U.S. serves as a reminder that no place is safe from antisemitic hatred.”