Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga). (AP/Paul Abell) (AP/Paul Abell)
Hank Johnson


While he has since apologized, Congressman Hank Johnson’s remarks comparing Jews to termites was highly offensive and symptomatic of a deeper, underlying issue that suggests anti-Semitism. Protest to the congressman for his poor choice of words!

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), a Democratic member of the House Armed Services Committee, compared residents of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria to “termites,” the Washington Free Beacon reported.

Speaking on Monday in Philadelphia at a Democratic National Convention event sponsored by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, an organization that promotes Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against the Jewish state, Johnson stated:

“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.”

According to Johnson, “Jewish people” routinely steal land and property from Palestinians.

The Anti-Defamation League, an organization that fights against discrimination, lambasted Johnson, as did the American Jewish Committee.

Johnson eventually apologized on Twitter, saying that he had used a “poor choice of words.” However, he doubled down on his criticism of Israeli “settlers,” who he said “undermine [the] two-state solution.”

“Poor choice of words – apologies for offense,” he tweeted. “Point is settlement activity continues slowly undermine 2-state solution.”

The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) argued that Johnson’s initial apology fell short, tweeting at the lawmaker, “@RepHankJohnson, To refer to Jews as ‘termites’ is deeply offensive and dehumanizing. Not just a ‘poor choice of words.’ It’s dangerous.”

On Tuesday, Johnson’s office expanded the lawmaker’s apology, stating in a press release, “We must work to promote policies that support a two-state solution and encourage trust between both sides. 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. [‘Termites’ was a] poor choice of words—I meant no offense. The point is settlement activity has slowly and deliberately undermined Palestinian land claims.”

We strongly disagree over his last point as well, that “settlement” activity undermines Palestinian land claims. This is false and has no basis in reality.

Protest to Congressman Hank Johnson for comparing Jews to termites!

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1. Click here to protest on Congressman Hank Johnson’s Facebook page.

2. Click here to email Congressman Hank Johnson.

3. Call Congressman Johnson at 202-225-1605 or 770-987-2291.

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