Biden's State Department nominee accused of backing anti-Israel BDS movement steps down

Biden’s State Department nominee accused of backing anti-Israel BDS movement steps down

President Biden’s first choice head of a State Department human rights post resigned on Tuesday after facing more than a year of backlash from the GOP when she was accused of supporting anti-government groups. Israelis, Politico first reported.

Sarah Margon was nominated as assistant secretary of state for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor in April 2021, but she was harshly reprimanded for her alleged support for the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BSD) movement, which seeks to financially punish Israel for its actions against the Palestinians .

Margon declined to endorse BSD, but after months of no traction on her nomination, she decided to step down as a nominee.

Human Rights Watch Washington Director Sarah Margon listens during a discussion at the Hoover Institution, October 18, 2018, in Washington, DC
(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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“I don’t see a way forward for confirmation, and after a year and a half, it’s time to move on,” Margon told Politico on Tuesday. “I will continue to work on democracy and human rights, and I am grateful to President Biden and Secretary [of State Antony] Blinken for their confidence in me and the honor of a nomination.”

Biden’s nominee came under fire from Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Jim Risch, R-Idaho, for tweets she made that were criticism of Israel.

Specifically, in a September 2021 hearing, he pointed to a November 2018 post she posted in support of a then boycott of Airbnb in West Bank settlements.

“Thank you Airbnb for showing good leadership here, other companies should follow suit,” she wrote, according to a Jerusalem Post article.

Israeli troops blow up the home of Palestinian activist Diaa Hamarsheh in the West Bank village of Yabed, Thursday, June 2, 2022. Israeli officials say the demolitions deter future attacks, while rights groups see it as a form collective punishment.

Israeli troops blow up the home of Palestinian activist Diaa Hamarsheh in the West Bank village of Yabed, Thursday, June 2, 2022. Israeli officials say the demolitions deter future attacks, while rights groups see it as a form collective punishment.
(AP Photo/Majdi Mohamed)

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Margon reportedly tried to explain her tweet by saying she believed “the private sector has an important role to play in not continuing discriminatory practices.”

Margon told the committee that she does not support BSD and would support the position and policies of the White House Biden as it tries to find a two-state solution.

“With all due respect, ma’am, I don’t believe it,” Risch said. “Saying it over and over again just doesn’t match your actions.”

The senator also reportedly pointed to a 2020 article in which she retweeted a New York Times opinion piece titled “I don’t believe in a Jewish state anymore” and asked if she still believed in it.

Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho

Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho
(Alex Brandon-Pool/Getty Images)

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“Sometimes when we retweet or say things in the heat of the moment, we don’t necessarily think about their wider impact,” she said in response. “What I was focusing on was the importance of ensuring Israelis and Palestinians equal protection under the law, access to democratic processes, security and prosperity. That was the thrust of my tweet .”

Risch reportedly said he was unconvinced and would not support his nomination.

Fox News could not immediately reach Margon for comment.

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