Senate Confirms Brazil Ambassador Despite Past Antisemitic Comments

December 20, 2022
Amb. Elizabeth Frawley Bagley (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for ELLE)

The Senate confirmed the Biden administration’s nominee for ambassador to Brazil on December 14.

The nominee, Elizabeth Frawley Bagley, came under fire in June after The Washington Free Beacon unearthed comments from a 1998 Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training  interview in which Bagley said, “There is always the influence of the Jewish lobby because there is major money involved. But, I don’t remember any major issues coming out on that, besides the usual ‘make Jerusalem the capital of Israel,’ which is always an issue in the campaign.” Bagley was responding to a question about the “Israeli influence” on the Clinton administration; at the time Bagley was the administration’s Portugal ambassador. Bagley then claimed in the interview that Democrats pander to “the Jewish constituency” and say “stupid things” like moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. She added that the “Jewish factor” in political campaigns is “money.”

When two Senate Democrats questioned Bagley on these comments during her confirmation hearing in June, Bagley apologized for the “poor choice of words,” claiming that she was simply responding to “something that the interviewer had asked me, prompted by something about politics,” per the Free Beacon. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee subsequently blocked her nomination with an 11-11 vote.

Stop Antisemitism and Jewish News Syndicate (JNS) reported that Bagley was confirmed by the Senate on December 14 by a voice vote, which isn’t recorded and thus there is no public record of how the senators voted on Bagley. “Utterly outrageous,” Stop Antisemitism tweeted.

Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action Agenda at the Simon Wiesenthal Center Rabbi Abraham Cooper said in a statement to the Journal, “Deeply troubling that this designate Ambassador to Brazil expressed anti-Semitic tropes. That she suddenly was approved at a time of national focus on anti-Semitism, led by the White House is deeply disconcerting. Where’s the accountability?”

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