Rather than issuing a resolution censuring Congresswoman Ilhan Omar for her noxious comments about American support for Israel, or even one denouncing anti-Semitism in general, the House of Representatives instead passed a resolution condemning anti-Semitism as but one in a long laundry list of other bigotries—to the frustration of some representatives of both parties. To remedy the situation, Ted Cruz has introduced a far less equivocal resolution of his own in the Senate. Liel Leibovitz explains what the new resolution gets right:
[T]he resolution . . . shows an understanding, rare for the generally vapid genre of official declarations read from the Senate floor, of the lived experience of actual American Jews. It acknowledges that anti-Semitism isn’t some opaque and abstract construct best understood by theorizing about hegemony, intersectionality, or other concepts beloved by the grievance-peddlers in college classrooms, but an all too real prejudice that continues to afflict real Jews in unique and nonreplicable ways.
This is not only an ontological distinction, but a political one as well. If you view the world exclusively through the lens of big, broad categories—race, sexual orientation, religious belief—you are likely to prefer the sort of legislation that sees people as not much more than extras in an epic drama of clashing identities.
That’s why reparations, for example, long opposed by the majority of Americans—including about half of all African-Americans—and considered a nonstarter by nearly all mainstream politicians, has become a cause célèbre for several of the Democrats running for president in 2020. Benefiting not those who had suffered but their distant descendants, the policy proposal is the perfect embodiment of how progressives think about politics: a contest between warring groups that can be decided only by sweeping and symbolic gestures.
Cruz’s resolution, on the other hand, shows a dramatically different way of thinking. Rather than treating Jews as a metaphor—an amorphous group whose suffering can be distilled into some politically valuable and intoxicating elixir—it is careful to enumerate the ways in which individuals have suffered.