A vote on the nomination of Emory University professor Deborah Lipstadt to be the U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism was on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee agenda for March 8 — until it wasn’t.
According to multiple reports, Wisconsin Republican Ron Johnson continues to exercise his ability to place a “hold” on Lipstadt’s nomination.
The committee chair, New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez said that Lipstadt’s nomination was being “held over.”
When a vote might come is not clear. A vote by the full Senate cannot happen until the nomination clears the Foreign Relations Committee.
Johnson has been peeved about a Twitter post by Lipstadt. On March 14, 2021, she posted an article about a statement made by Johnson, who said he would have been more concerned about the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol if the mob had been made up of “Black Lives Matter and antifa protesters” rather than supporters of then-Present Donald Trump.
Lipstadt’s comment said of Johnson’s statement, “This is white supremacy/ nationalism. Pure and simple.”
Other social media posts by Lipstadt had irritated Republican members of the committee and 193 days passed between July 30, 2021, when President Joe Biden nominated her, and Feb. 8, when she finally received a confirmation hearing before the committee.
During that hearing Lipstadt acknowledged that “sometimes I’ve have not been as nuanced in my tweets as I like” and that she has “been exceptionally critical of members of the Democratic Party, of people on the end of the spectrum, political spectrum, where I place myself.”
She offered an apology, which Johnson accepted, before telling Lipstadt, “I think that somebody who has had a 30-year professional career ought to know better . . . I simply cannot support your nomination . . . You’re simply not qualified for it.”
A confirmation hearing was required because the position now carries the rank of ambassador.
As chair, Menendez could force a vote, but the committee operates under what is known as “comity,” an informal agreement by which the majority and minority parties extend each other a degree of courtesy, which allows any senator the ability to block the progress of a nomination.
If eventually confirmed, the 74-year-old Lipstadt would take a leave of absence from Emory, where she is the Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies in Emory’s Tam Institute for Jewish Studies and religion department.
- Dave Schecter
- Emory University
- Deborah Lipstadt
- U.S. special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism
- Senate Foreign Relations Committee
- Ron Johnson
- New Jersey
- Robert Menendez
- Black lives matter
- Donald Trump
- Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies