Ambassador Richard Schifter has passed away

October 6, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The World Jewish Congress mourns the death of Ambassador Richard Schifter who has died at age 97.

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An outstanding and tireless advocate of human rights, Schifter served under President Ronald Reagan as the United States Representative to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights; as Deputy U.S. Representative to the UN Security Council with the rank of Ambassador; and as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. He subsequently served as special advisor to the National Security Council in the Clinton administration.

Schifter left his native Austria for the United States in 1938, but his parents, denied American visas, were left behind and murdered in the Holocaust. After serving in the US Army during World War II, Schifter went on to develop a highly successful legal and diplomatic career.

WJC President Ronald S. Lauder said: “My friend Richard Schifter was a symbol of the American dream. A penniless 15-year old Austrian Jewish refugee who barely escaped the ravages of the Holocaust, he went on to a distinguished career in law and diplomacy.”

In Australia, AIJAC stated: “It was with great sadness that the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council learned of the passing of Ambassador Richard Schifter.

AIJAC conveys its heartfelt sympathy and condolences to his family and the  many colleagues who are mourning this loss

Ambassador Schifter had been a good friend of  AIJAC for more than four decades, as a constant and respected source of advice, great wisdom and encouragement. We were in correspondence on matters of mutual concern as recently as last month.  It had been our privilege to host him in Australia, having regularly benefitted from meeting with him in the USA.

His advocacy work and promotion of human rights and democracy had a significant global impact and his dedication to the task of fighting for fair treatment of Israel at the United Nations and its agencies was inspirational. His service to three US Presidents gave him a platform from which to advocate for the highest of ideals and earned him permanent respect.

He was a man with incredible drive, strength, perseverance and achievement, while always behaving with civility, decency, humility and generosity of spirit.

May his memory always be a blessing.

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