Photo Credit: U.S. Gov't
U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia

Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson apologized “multiple times late Monday” after the Washington Free Beacon reported in detail on his vicious comments likening Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria to “termites” during a speech to a pro-Palestinian Authority group.

Johnson is a Democratic “superdelegate” who said Israeli Jews steal land from their Arab neighbors in the Palestinian Authority. He was clearly pandering to the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation prior to the start of the Democratic National Convention.

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“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,” he said.

A member of the House Armed Services Committee, Johnson has been a supporter of Hillary Clinton throughout the primary season. But he encountered a virtual tidal wave of outrage over his words flooded the media from the Jewish community and elsewhere.

Both the New York-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the American Jewish Committee (AJC) tore into the lawmaker as well, evoking an apology via Twitter, with Johnson citing a “poor choice of words.”

In response, Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted back:

Two other users also commented: “So Jewish settlements which take up less than 2% of WB are major obstacle?” and “2% is irrelevant argument. This is the Heartland of Israel, not a bargaining chip for deal making.”

Further on, Johnson tweeted a link to his website showing his “full apology.”

We must work to promote policies that support a two-state solution and encourage trust between both sides,” said Congressman Johnson. The congressman regrets his comments. He did not intend to insult or speak derogatorily of Israelis or the Jewish people. When using the metaphor of termites, the Congressman was referring to the corrosive process, not the people. “Poor choice of words – I meant no offense. The point is settlement activity has slowly and deliberately undermined Palestinian land claims.

The reference to “termites” touched a raw nerve for Jewish voters who remember their history of World War II, and how the European Jewish population was dehumanized by early Nazi references to “vermin.”

One Jewish voter suggested in a blistering response to Johnson’s remarks that perhaps the lawmaker has forgotten history — or is this another way to echo Adolf Hitler’s sentiments?” Sara Z. told JewishPress.com in an exclusive interview, “It seems like nothing changes. In the era of ‘Black Lives Matter’ it seems that once again, the Jews are the world’s scapegoats, the disposable ones. Do we never learn from history?”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.

29 COMMENTS

  1. Jealousy
    when you have us! The whole world of anti-jews can't stomach the way Jews have succeeded in all phases of life. Elected reps in all governments are sucking up to the arabs and for what? These governments shut their eyes when it comes to their lack of looking at reality. Europe is KAPUT so will North America by allowing thousands of migrants who, G-d knows what they have in store for meek citizens.

  2. So if Johnson is taking back the word termite, (which I believe he still believes) what word would he like to use to call the Jew of Sumaria and Judea? Why doesn't Johnson speak out against the killings of blacks in America? Why doesn't Johnson speak out against blacks killing blacks in South Sudan? He doesn't speak out against those atrocities because it's easier to put down Jews.

  3. An apology without a commitment to do something dieffrently is meaningless. Jews are dying every day becasue of the horrific behavior, hatred by the people who are supposidyly stealing from the neighbors. Give us a break. Come here and see the tradgedies, smell the buring garbage, desturction of beautiful bus/ train stations. Good shabbos to all.

  4. I am sure his comment was self serving. The man is obviously not fit to be in American politics., This man is a Democrat, a super delegate too, from what I hear and now a racist (probably, always was). I was a democrat until I heard about this comment. I feel that this reflects Hillary's ideas and thought about Israel. I have now decided to switch my support to the Republicans. The truth is out. I shall encourage all my jewish friends to do likewise. Racist comments , similar to the Nazis has not place in this country. He should resign.

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