The historian and Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt, President Biden’s nominee for the post of anti-Semitism envoy, appeared this week before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for her confirmation hearing. A number of Republicans raised concerns regarding Lipstadt’s political views, particularly in relation to comments she made following the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. In response, as Ben Cohen notes, Lipstadt pledged to conduct herself in a non-partisan manner, and insisted that she is an “equal-opportunity foe” of anti-Semitism.
Part of the hearing canvassed Lipstadt’s view of the recent Amnesty International report that accused Israel of practicing the same form of racial segregation that prevailed in South Africa for most of the 20th century.
“Branding Israel an apartheid state is more than historically inaccurate,” she said. “I believe it’s part of a larger effort to delegitimize the Jewish state. Such language, I see it spilling over onto campuses where it poisons the atmosphere, particularly for Jewish students.”
Lipstadt went on to note that this does not mean she will shun any criticism of Israel:
“Criticism of Israeli policy is not anti-Semitism,” she said. “If you want to hear criticism of Israeli policies, I suggest you sit yourself down in a cafe in Tel Aviv or in Jerusalem, whatever part of the country, depending on who is in the government. It’s the national sport in Israel, second only maybe to soccer or maybe more than that.”