Political adviser Sarah Margon on Tuesday withdrew her name from consideration to serve as assistant secretary of state for human rights, democracy, and labor amid allegations that she holds anti-Israel views.
Republican Sen. James Risch of Idaho criticized Margon for past tweets he claims expressed support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), which calls for an economic pressure campaign against Israel.
“Airbnb to remove listings in Israeli settlements of occupied West Bank,” she tweeted in Nov. 2018. “Thanks @Airbnb for showing some good leadership here. Other companies should follow suit.”
Margon attempted to quell the controversy by telling Risch that she did not support the BDS movement and supported a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Despite her attempts, Margon wasn’t able to sway Risch.
“With all due respect, ma’am, I don’t believe it,” Risch told her in a January 2022 hearing, “You haven’t persuaded me at all.”
Margon, who is Jewish, proved to be a divisive figure among prominent Jewish Republicans and Jewish Organizations.
Elliot Abrams, a Jewish foreign policy expert who worked in the Trump administration, defended Margon and highlighted his previous positive interactions with her.
“I am surprised by the claims that Sarah Margon was an anti-Israel activist, which was not my experience,” Abrams said, “We disagreed on many issues, but she was always sensible and open to argument.”
The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), however, criticized her nomination.
“She is an anti-Israel activist whose work makes a mockery of the concept of ‘human rights.’ Her nomination will be resolutely opposed by Republicans and the Jewish community, who value the Jewish state and our strategic alliance with her.” RJC National Chairman Norm Coleman said in a statement.
After failing to secure the necessary votes, Margon withdrew 21 months after President Joe Biden announced her nomination.
“At present, I don’t see a path forward for confirmation, and after 1 ½ years, it’s time to move on,” Margon said in a statement, according to Politico, “I will continue to work on democracy and human rights, and am grateful to President Biden and Secretary [of State Antony] Blinken for their confidence in me and the honor of a nomination.”