Issue 117, Power Benefits

Algemeiner Awards Gala

Debra Messing, Nina Rennert Davidson Denounce American Antisemitism 

Photos by SYLVAIN GABOURY for PMC/Getty Images

PHILANTHROPIST Nina Rennert Davidson and actress Debra Messing refused to stay silent as they were inducted into the J100, an annual list by the Algemeiner of individuals who positively influence Jewish life.

Nina Rennert Davidson and Mitchell Davidson

“This year we’ve placed particular emphasis on those standing at the forefront of the battle for truth,” said Dovid Efune, Editor in Chief and CEO of the newspaper, now celebrating its 49th year.

Addressing the rising tide of antisemitism that swept across America this year, both the philanthropist and actress spoke up vigorously.

For that they received the Warrior for Truth Award at the Algemeiner’s 8th Annual J100 Gala on Oct. 12, 2021, at the Rockleigh Country Club in Rockleigh, New Jersey.

Davidson noted that antisemitism is old news. “What’s new is that it’s being accepted and tolerated in this country. It’s becoming fashionable. Fifty-eight percent of all hate crimes are committed against Jews.”

Ingeborg Rennert, Nina Rennert Davidson and Ira Rennert

Furthermore, she insisted that anti-Zionism is antisemitism. “What you can’t question is that Jews have a right to their own country.”

She declared that colleges have become “indoctrination centers where for $78,000 a year they are teaching your children to hate themselves, their identity and their culture. Please stop donating to these schools without knowing where your money is going.”

Born 53 years ago in Brooklyn, Debra Messing declared that her Judaism has always been a vital part of her identity. “It’s been a source of great pride for me throughout my career.”

Debra Messing on video

She pointed to her starring role in Will and Grace, the NBC sitcom that ran from 1998 to 2020. “It was important to me that Grace’s Jewishness be central to her identity because representation matters. “It’s for that reason I can’t stay silent when I see or hear antisemitism.”  

She added, “I’ve encountered it since my early childhood growing up as one of three Jewish girls in my public school. And I’ve seen it as my responsibility to fight against bigotry ever since. We are warriors for truth everyday because the protection of human rights and precious democracies around the world demand it.”

Algemeiner chairman Simon Jacobson presented awards to Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. and UN Gilad Erdan, Dovid and Mushka Efune, and TV personality Meghan McCain.

Dovid Efune, Meghan McCain, Daniella Greenbaum and Simon Jacobson

Meghan, daughter of the late Sen. John McCain, said she found the rise of antisemitic hate crimes in Manhattan “appalling and horrifying.”

“I have a friend who was beaten up for wearing a yarmulke by a Palestinian mob. I don’t want to live in a society where people have to worry about that. It’s important to speak out.”

“I’ve always called myself a Zionist,” she continued. “I’ve said it on The View, the show I was working on. I got such intense reaction from some people, both positive and negative. I wish more people would speak out. I sleep well at night.”

Meghan McCain with Dovid and Mushka Efune

McCain, 36, who has been part of The View since 2017, has quit the show reportedly because she felt her colleagues, including Whoopi Goldberg, 65, and Joy Behar, 79, objected to her conservative views, creating a toxic atmosphere.