(Washington, D.C., October 5, 2020) On Saturday, October 3rd, Ambassador Richard Schifter passed away at the age of 97 (1923-2020). Ambassador Schifter had an extensive and impactful history serving in the United Nations, working tirelessly to combat anti-Israel sentiments and initiatives from 1985 to 1992. He was also the President of the American Jewish International Relations Institute (AJIRI).
Ambassador Schifter was born in Vienna to a Jewish family from Poland. In the wake of the Anschluss, his parents tried to get visas for the entire family to emigrate, but unfortunately, Richard was the only one to obtain a visa. When they put him on the train in Vienna, that was the last and final time he saw his parents. Upon graduation from college, Richard joined the US Armed Forces, and served as one of the Ritchie boys, the group of young Jewish refugees from Germany who were trained in interrogation and psychological warfare against the Nazis.
Said Ambassador Schifter, “From 1942 onward I was greatly concerned as to whether I would ever see my parents again. I recall it when I entered the army, we were all being urged to take up life insurance policies for the benefit of relatives. And I said, I remember, that I don’t have any close relatives. On my dog tags I decided I was gonna keep the H. And I just said to myself, all right, this is the risk I take.”
Ambassador Schifter went on to graduate from Yale Law School, become an attorney, and undertake a distinguished career as a lawyer in Washington, D.C. Over the course of his career, he served as an adviser to three American presidents including President Ronald Reagan, President George W. Bush, and President Bill Clinton.
We were privileged and honored to have just featured him in an EMET webinar, just two weeks ago, which was his last formal appearance.
Says President and Founder of EMET, Sarah Stern, “Ambassador Richard Schifter was truly an inspiring man. He was a great humanitarian, a compassionate human being who had empathy for all oppressed people, and in particular for the state of Israel and the double standards it has been subjected to within the “refined” halls of the United Nations. His life was a remarkable story, of a young boy arriving in this country in 1938, penniless, alone and without parents, at the age of 15. He grew to be the Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and served on the National Security Council until 2001. His was a voice of morality and of conscience. I felt truly honored and privileged to have known him and to have worked so closely with him for many years. He has been my role model for persistence, determination, of moral integrity and of uncompromised principle and he will always remain a source of inspiration for me, personally, throughout the remaining years of my life.”
Capitol Hill Webinar – The Increasing Energy and Geopolitical Interests in the Mediterranean
Capitol Hill Webinar – The Warming of Relations Between Israel and Some Sunni States
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