Biden nominee for State Department human rights position withdraws after GOP pushback over Israel support.
Sarah Margon, President Biden’s top pick to lead a State Department human rights position, has stepped down after facing more than a year of ardent GOP pushback. Margon was accused of supporting anti-Israel groups and the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BSD) movement, which seeks to punish Israel financially for its actions against Palestinians. She denied support for BSD but ultimately decided to remove herself as a nominee.
The Biden nominee faced criticism from Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s ranking member Jim Risch, R-Idaho, over tweets she made that were critical of Israel. Specifically, in a September 2021 hearing he pointed to a November 2018 post she made in support of a then-Airbnb boycott in West Bank settlements. Margon attempted to explain her tweet by saying she believed “the private sector has an important role to play in not pursuing discriminatory practices.”
Risch also reportedly pointed to a 2020 post in which she retweeted a New York Times opinion piece titled “I no longer believe in a Jewish state” and asked if she still believed this. Margon said she was focused on ensuring Israelis and Palestinians could have equal protection under the law, access to democratic processes, security and prosperity. Risch said he was not convinced and would not support her nomination.
The news of Margon’s resignation has sparked a range of reactions. While some have lauded her decision, others have expressed regret and disappointment. Supporters of Margon have argued that the accusations against her were unfounded and the scrutiny she faced was unfair.
The resignation of Sarah Margon has created a void in the State Department human rights position. While the Biden Administration will need to find a suitable replacement, Margon’s departure serves as a reminder of the intense scrutiny and partisan divisions that can come with such a role.