Deborah Lipstadt
Deborah Lipstadt REUTERS/Fred Thornhill

Deborah Lipstadt was sworn in as the State Department’s special envoy to combat antisemitism almost a year after she was nominated for the position by President Joe Biden.

Lipstadt’s nomination had faced a long delay due to hurdles from Republicans including Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), who was at odds with her name being put forward after she accused him of “white supremacy” in a tweet. Though she later apologized during a hearing, Johnson called her out for “malicious poison.”

The ceremony, which took place as antisemitism was increasing to levels not seen in years in the U.S. and around the world, was presided over by Vice President Kamala Harris who swore in Lipstadt.

Lipstadt took the oath of office on a prayer book that had belonged to her mother and on the “Survivor’s Talmud” – a Talmud that was published by the U.S. government after the Holocaust for survivors of concentration camps. The Talmud was on load from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Also present at the ceremony were Harris’s husband, Doug Emhoff, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), and Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), who lobbied to have the envoy position elevated to ambassador at large.