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From Barnard to Jerusalem

Deborah Lipstadt
Since October 7, Hamas’s attack and Israel’s reprisal have unleashed a debate so emotional and so often shot through with antisemitism that it has made many American Jews question and reevaluate their place—and their safety—in American institutions. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Julia Ioffe
April 23, 2024

When I came to meet Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, Joe Biden’s special envoy for combating global antisemitism, in her office at the State Department late last week, she had something she wanted to show me. It was the cover of New York magazine from January 1996. “BEING JEWISH,” it said over a giant American flag that had some Jewish stars mixed in with the five-pointed variety. “As anti-Semitism fades and Jews assume ever-greater prominence throughout the Establishment,” the subhed said, “it’s time for Jewish Americans to let go of the idea that they are outsiders.” 

“Amazing, right?” Lipstadt chuckled when I looked up at her.