By Ron Kampeas
WASHINGTON — Close to 100 local Jewish federations and Jewish community relations councils are urging the Senate to confirm Deborah Lipstadt as antisemitism monitor, citing the attack on a Colleyville, Texas synagogue last month.
“This latest, horrific attack makes clear that the Senate must expeditiously confirm this position so that America’s diplomatic corps has an able leader to combat the global threat of antisemitism,” the organizations said in a letter sent Monday that was initiated by the Jewish Federations of North America, an umbrella group.
The letter was addressed to Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho, its senior Republican. But the real target was Risch, who has been holding up Lipstadt’s confirmation because of her past sharp criticisms of Republicans. Jewish groups have multiple times called on the Senate to press forward with Lipstadt’s confirmation hearings.
The position of antisemitism monitor tracks antisemitism overseas and consults with governments about how to stem it. The man who held a rabbi and three congregants hostage on Jan. 15 for 15 hours was a British Muslim who appeared to buy into antisemitic tropes about Jewish control.
“We may not know everything that led to this attack, but the congregants held hostage that day report a series of antisemitic tropes from the gunman,” the letter said. “It is undeniable that a rising tide of antisemitic speech and physical attacks have targeted the Jewish community across the world, creating the dangerous preconditions to attacks on Jewish individuals and institutions abroad and at home.”