As soon as recess is over on March 25, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is expected to file a congressional resolution exclusively condemning anti-Semitism. It aims to upstage the Democrat-controlled House’s recent anti-hate resolution, which passed last week with a final vote of 403-27.
In response to anti-Semitic comments made by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), the House initially considered a resolution condemning only anti-Semitism. However, after several Democrats expressed consternation at the exclusion of other forms of bigotry, the resolution’s language was expanded to condemn various others.
The Federalist has obtained the final, expanded language of Cruz’s resolution condemning solely anti-Semitism. Congressional sources have confirmed that the received text is the final version and that it is currently being widely circulated for cosponsors.
At just under 300 words, the text directly addresses the anti-Semitism that Democratic leadership in the House could not singularly and explicitly condemn, likely due to a craven fear of upsetting their increasingly anti-Semitic progressive wing.
The House’s failure to exclusively condemn anti-Semitism through the passage of a less specific resolution is merely one data point in the contemporary rise of anti-Jewish hate: the recent uptick in hate crimes against Jews, particularly in areas such as Brooklyn, which saw a 22 percent increase in hate crimes in 2018 alone; the proliferation of boycott, divest, sanction (BDS) groups on college campuses, which use the cloak of anti-Israel rhetoric to mask virulent anti-Semitism; and now, House leadership, sitting idly by as Democrat legislators spew anti-Semitic tropes to little rebuke. If passed, Cruz’s resolution would correct what was not done properly the first time—a full-throated condemnation of anti-Semitism.
Cruz’s resolution does not name individual legislators, like Omar or Rep. Rashida Tlaib (two congresswomen accused of peddling anti-Semitic rhetoric), but addresses anti-Semitic behavior on the whole, a generalized format that may ultimately be more effective.
The Senate is arguably the greatest deliberative body in the world. To name two freshman House representatives who have been in office for 10 weeks in a Senate resolution might cheapen the resolution’s overall message—that anti-Semitism is not just a matter of individual congressional figures behaving maliciously, but instead is a contemporary problem that demands confrontation and contains a dark history stretching back thousands of years. Cruz’s resolution is one attempt to engage in a very much-needed reckoning.
Cruz’s resolution acknowledges the historical distinctiveness of anti-Semitism in a way that House Democrats were unable and unwilling to do. The resolution traces the fraught and vile history of anti-Semitism as “a unique form of prejudice stretching back more than 2,000 years that aims at the physical destruction of the Jewish people, and has included the murder of approximately 6,000,000 Jews by Nazi Germany.”
The resolution also explicitly mentions the dual-loyalty trope that has characterized anti-Semitic attacks for centuries, “including the fabrication and circulation of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion by the Secret Police of Russia.” In the age of Omar’s dual-loyalty attacks against members of Congress who express support for Israel, this acknowledgement seems particularly poignant.
Cruz’s resolution is also distinct in that it outlines the various attacks “on the livelihood of Jews” that have been the substance of both past and present anti-Semitism. From the prohibition of Jewish land ownership in the Middle Ages to the confiscation and destruction of Jewish businesses in Nazi Germany, a frequent mechanism of attack for anti-Semites has been to economically isolate Jews.
What makes Cruz’s resolution particularly powerful is that the left’s BDS movement is included amongst the listed tactics employed to economically isolate Jews. Defining BDS in this manner is an unabashed condemnation of an anti-Semitic movement that has been marketed by progressives as merely “anti-Israel.”
Omar and Tlaib have expressed support for BDS, which claims boycotting not just Israeli products but Israeli people equates to seizing some moral high ground. The BDS movement has become a convenient cover for contemporary anti-Semitism, infecting college campuses and now the halls of Congress.
In addition to identifying the various attacks waged on Jewish livelihoods, the resolution outlines other forms of anti-Semitic practices that have existed in the United States over the past 50 years, including the exclusion of Jews from certain neighborhoods, private clubs, medical practices, and other businesses, and restrictions on the number of Jews admitted to elite universities and institutions. Furthermore, the resolution alludes to the frequent anti-Semitic accusation of Jews “purchasing political power with money,” another trope Omar invoked in her disturbed Twitter tirades.
For Jewish lawmakers in Congress whose childhoods and parents’ childhoods were colored by such anti-Semitism, whose grandparents may have fled or suffered persecution in Europe or elsewhere, and who may experience anti-Semitic attacks today, this resolution signifies that such treatment will meet disapproval in at least some halls of Congress.
In acknowledging that Jews are also subjected to the majority of religious hate crimes in this country, despite comprising only 2 percent of the population, the resolution identifies the unique importance of having a document that explicitly and singularly condemns such hatred. It is hard to imagine Senate Democrats taking issue with such a resolution. If they do, it will be because they fear pushback from the anti-Semitic progressive wing of the party more than they desire to condemn anti-Semitism—a failure representing the height of moral cowardice.