Please sir, tell us how you really feel. Rep. Hank Johnson returned from a trip to Israel’s ‘West Bank’ and his statements on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict clearly show which side he is on. Check it out.
Days after former Democratic congresswoman Cynthia McKinney came under fire for a tweet deemed antisemitic, the man Georgians elected to replace her was quoted comparing Jewish settlements in the disputed West Bank to “termites.”
The conservative news site the Washington Free Beacon reported Monday that Lithonia Democratic U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson made the remarks while speaking at an event sponsored by the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.
“There has been a steady [stream], almost like termites can get into a residence and eat before you know that you’ve been eaten up and you fall in on yourself, there has been settlement activity that has marched forward with impunity and at an ever increasing rate to the point where it has become alarming,” Johnson said during an event sponsored by the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, an anti-Israel organization that galvanizes supporters of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, or BDS.
“It has come to the point that occupation, with highways that cut through Palestinian land, with walls that go up, with the inability or the restriction, with the illegality of Palestinians being able to travel on those roads and those roads cutting off Palestinian neighborhoods from each other,” Johnson continued. “And then with the building of walls and the building of check points that restrict movement of Palestinians. We’ve gotten to the point where the thought of a Palestinian homeland gets further and further removed from reality.”
The Anti-Defamation League called Johnson’s comments “offensive and unhelpful” and asked the lawmaker to retract his remarks. “Demonization, dehumanization of settlers doesn’t advance peace,” the organization tweeted.
Johnson later apologized for his remarks, saying they were a “poor choice of words:”
@ADL_National Poor choice of words – apologies for offense. Point is settlement activity continues slowly undermine 2-state solution.
— Rep. Hank Johnson (@RepHankJohnson) July 25, 2016
In a statement to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Johnson, who recently returned from a trip to the West Bank with several House Democratic colleagues, said the “increasingly violent situation in Israel and Palestine is unsustainable.”
His office also elaborated on the Free Beacon story:
“The article (Free Beacon) headline is wrong. Congressman Johnson did not call Israelis termites but did say the settlement policies threaten peace and the two-state solution. Congressman Johnson did not intend to insult or speak derogatorily of the Israelis or the Jewish people. When using the metaphor of termites, the Congressman was referring to the corrosive process, not the people.”