WJC at UNHRC │WJC Highlights the Need to Eliminate Racism and Antisemitism - World Jewish Congress

WJC at UNHRC │WJC Highlights the Need to Eliminate Racism and Antisemitism

GENEVA – The World Jewish Congress has been an active participant at the ongoing session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva which began in late February, and is set to run until the start of April. WJC officials have been engaging in bilateral discussions, delivering statements to the Council, and holding a side event focusing attention on the rise of antisemitism online in the aftermath of October 7th.

Derika Weddington, member of the WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps, spoke at the UNHRC about her experience as a Black Jewish American, highlighting the significance of intersectionality in combating discrimination. Weddington urged the Council to act to eliminate both racism and antisemitism on a global level.

Full text of statement:

Thank you, Mr. President.

I am honored to take the floor on behalf of the World Jewish Congress at today’s Panel on the Commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. As a Black Jewish American, I live at the crossroads of discrimination with an intersection of multiple identities. Although rarely have I borne witness to the insidious ways in which anti-Black racism and antisemitism can intersect, my identities, individually, have been marginalized, as I have been rendered invisible, my voice silenced, and my struggles disregarded.

I have faced a lifelong history of racial prejudice and discrimination and I have been a target of stereotypes and ignorance. I have experienced discrimination as a black person, and I have seen my Jewishness ignored or questioned. I do not need to justify who I am, not only because of the color of my skin nor because of my faith.

My relationship with Jewish communities began at birth since two of my Godparents are Jewish and I’ve spent many years living in Israel. I find a level of acceptance among Jews that I don’t feel among non-Jewish white people. Often, antisemitic sentiment is expressed through covert negative attitudes and misconceptions, such as conspiratorial beliefs, that are harder to identify and call out than racist attitudes, which thankfully are becoming more and more marginal.

Nevertheless, being black and Jewish are integral parts of who I am, and I cannot be separated from either and neither will be dismissed or erased. Although I carry with me the scars of a lifetime marked by prejudice and discrimination, I also have an unwavering resolve to help to dismantle the structures of oppression and help create a more tolerant and inclusive society for all.

I would like to ask the Members of the Panel: How can we address the issue of antisemitism through an intersectional approach, being mindful of the diversity of the global Jewish community?

Thank you.

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