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The resolution passed, yet once again we lost

Our lives, our history and our trauma are not something to be voted on for political gain or to shame political opponents
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) speaks on the House floor against a resolution condemning Hamas terrorists for rape and sexual violence on Feb. 14, 2024. (Screenshot from C-SPAN)
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) speaks on the House floor against a resolution condemning Hamas terrorists for rape and sexual violence on Feb. 14, 2024. (Screenshot from C-SPAN)

A lot of people have been posting on social media about the US House of Representatives vote to call what Hamas did to Israeli women on 10.7 sexual assault.

The reason they’re posting isn’t to celebrate this as a victory for truth, or to say, “Hey, gee, our claims have been validated.”

It’s to shame Rashida Tlaib, the one person, a woman no less, who abstained from voting. The resolution passed 418-0-1. I’m no fan of hers whatsoever, but really, shame on the entire US government for voting on this in the first place.

The resolution was introduced by Representative Lois Frankel of Florida, a Jewish woman. In this climate where Jews are getting canceled or howled down for defending Jews or the Jewish state, I applaud her courage.

But if I could vote on anything, it would be to stop voting on these kinds of resolutions about Jews once and for all.

On behalf of Jewish people everywhere (not that anyone voted me official spokesperson), we do not need the government to tell us what rape is. We do not need them to tell us what is antisemitic. And I’m so sick of hearing for the billionth time that we have the right to defend ourselves. Gee, thanks so much for telling us in the year 2024 that we have equal rights.

Whenever the argument is made that something Jewish should be treated equally, is right when I feel treated as less equal. Remember the scene in Pretty Woman when Richard Gere tells Julia Roberts that he never treated her like a prostitute, and she says, “You just did”? Exactly.

I know there was a well-meaning intention to say once and for all to the world (and the haters), that what tragically happened to these Jewish women really was sexual violence, and in no way a justifiable act of war.

Unlike other people, our bizarre reality is such that we keep having to make our case. Yet every time we win, we continue to lose.

Our lives, our history and our trauma are not something to be voted on. The memories and stories of those who died or suffered unspeakably should never be used for political gain or to get people to go on record, even the Rashida Tlaibs.

We know the truth. We know our history and know who we are as a people. Yet, like it or not, we will need to keep fighting to control the narrative. And if the US government really wants to help us, rather than wasting time voting on Jews and Israel, they would spend more time preventing such atrocities and upholding Israel’s ability to defend itself.

About the Author
Steven Berkowitz lives in New York City, writing advertising by day, and by night, sharing thoughts he hopes connect with the broader Jewish world. He hopes his next piece will be a lot funnier, and says, "Sorry about that!"