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October 13, 2021 2:31 pm

Actress Debra Messing: Antisemitism Should Not Be ‘Ignored, Sidelined or Minimized’


avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Actress Debra Messing speaks virtually to the crowd at the 8th annual Algemeiner J100 gala. Photo: Patrick McMullan Company

Jewish actress and activist Debra Messing was honored with the “Warrior for Truth” award at The Algemeiner’s 8th annual “J100” gala on Tuesday night.

“My Judaism has always been a vital part of my identity,” Messing said in a pre-recorded virtual message after accepting the award. “It’s been a source of great pride for me throughout my entire career.”

“The Wedding Date” actress added that while playing one of the title roles in the hit television series “Will & Grace,” it was important to her that her character’s “Jewishness” be “central to her identity, because representation matters.”

“It’s for that reason that I can’t stay silent when I see or hear antisemitism,” she went on to say. “I’ve encountered it since my early childhood growing up as one of just three Jewish girls in my public school, and I’ve seen it as my responsibility to fight against bigotry, ever since. It bothers me deeply when I see antisemitism ignored, sidelined, or minimized.”

In June, Messing spoke out in support of a woman who resigned after controversy followed her statement condemning antisemitism. She mentioned the ordeal in her speech on Tuesday night and also addressed the “widespread misinformation” surrounding the conflict in May between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. She said the conflict “led to an avalanche of violent attacks against Jewish people.”

“I know that speaking up is a value that’s shared by all of us gathered here tonight,” she told the audience on Tuesday. “We all owe our thanks to The Algemeiner for its vital role in the battle for truth and for its unrelenting efforts to shine a spotlight on hate and injustices in its many forms. The positive impact that proper journalism has on our society and collective future is immense.”

“Thank you to every one of you for being warriors for truth everyday, because the protection of human rights and precious democracies around the world demand it.”

Watch Messing’s gala speech below:

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