Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia has repeatedly apologized for his remarks on Israeli settlements, remarks in which he likened settlements popping up all over the West Bank to a termite infestation.
Yet even so, the Zionists are still piling on him.
“The ripple effect continues for U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson a week after the Lithonia Democrat was quoted comparing Jewish settlement policy in the disputed West Bank to termites,’” reports the Atlanta Journal Constitution in an article published August 3.
This of course is what passes for US mainstream media coverage of the Palestine-Israel conflict. Tamar Hallerman, the author of the piece, demonstrates what would seem to be a rather pronounced lack of journalistic integrity in her reference to the West Bank as “disputed,” rather than occupied. The word “disputed” has for years been a hasbara talking point. The West Bank is viewed by virtually the entire world as rightfully belonging to the Palestinians and regarded as a vital ingredient to implementation of the so-called two-state solution.
And as such, the settlements are regarded as illegal under international law–something which Hallerman also fails to mention in her report. Virtually no one, other than Zionists and media functionaries like Hallerman, refer to the West Bank as “disputed.” The proper term is “occupied.”
At any rate, the main focus of her article is an editorial “blasting” Johnson which appeared at the Atlanta Jewish Times on Monday and which is quoted extensively.
“The editorial argues that if Johnson wants to receive votes from the pro-Israel community in the future, he’ll need to answer questions about what he was doing speaking at an event sponsored by a pro-Israeli-boycott group in the first place,” Hallerman reports.
“Meanwhile, Johnson’s apology tour continues. He met with the Atlanta chapter of the advocacy group the American Jewish Committee on Tuesday,” she adds.
Don’t you just love the term “apology tour”? It kind of falls into the same category as Philip Weiss’ comment about Jews dominating the American media–“and so what if we do?” It is of course imperative for Jews to try and downplay their political power, yet as we see every so often one or another will succumb to the temptation to boast about it.
So yes, Johnson is on a “tour” visiting various Jews and Jewish organizations, apologizing for his remarks. Here he is in an August 2 meeting with members of the American Jewish Committee, whose website urges visitors to “stop BDS in its tracks” by signing onto a form letter to Congress members:
The letter, by the way, describes BDS as a “virulent movement,” and following his meeting with the group, Johnson tweeted amicably, “Appreciate meeting w/ @AJCGlobal today to open important dialogue — especially w/ #ATL director @DovWilker. Thanks!”
Johnson’s initial remarks about termites were made at an event in Philadelphia on July 25. If you have not read my article, Termites and Israeli Settlers: A US Congressman’s Analogy, you might consider doing so. As I noted, the congressman’s critics seem to have little to say about racist rabbis in Israel who have articulated things far worse and who have even called for the murder of Palestinians.
The editorial at the Atlanta Jewish Times, cited by Hallerman, makes mention of the fact that Johnson holds the same congressional seat once held by Cynthia McKinney, and while the opinion piece seems to give him credit for being less of an “anti-Semite” than his predecessor, it doesn’t seem to cut him much else in the way of slack.
Unlike McKinney, the woman he defeated 10 years ago to win his seat in Congress, Johnson doesn’t hate Jews, many of whom have been crucial supporters, and he doesn’t spout conspiracy theories accusing Jews or Israelis of carrying out false-flag terrorist attacks.
But his attitude toward Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has changed in recent years, and he spoke July 25 as someone who has earned a reputation as a leading congressional critic of Israel.
That day he criticized Israel and the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while lamenting the condition of the Palestinians. He portrayed Israelis as the villains and Palestinians as the victims, ignoring Palestinian terrorism against Israeli civilians, incitement by Palestinian leaders and rocket fire from Gaza.
The editorial doesn’t divulge that Jewish donors hostile to McKinney funded Johnson’s campaign in a deliberate effort to unseat her. This, however, is indeed what took place. So of course the “many Jews” the editorial does allude to, i.e. Jews who have been Johnson’s “crucial supporters” in the past, obviously have plenty of reason to be irked!
Israeli Apartheid Explained with Humor
“He (Rep. Hank Johnson) portrayed Israelis as the villains and Palestinians as the victims, ignoring Palestinian terrorism against Israeli civilians, incitement by Palestinian leaders and rocket fire from Gaza.”
–Atlanta Jewish Times
Moreover, the specter of McKinney apparently looms rather sinisterly in the anonymous editorial writer’s imagination. “Short of going full Cynthia McKinney, Congressman Hank Johnson couldn’t have done much more to anger the Jewish community than unleash a comparison between termites and Israelis living on the West Bank,” the person writes in what is essentially an unintended tribute to the former Georgia congresswoman.
Thankfully of course Johnson also doesn’t “spout conspiracy theories accusing Jews or Israelis of carrying out false-flag terrorist attacks.” That would certainly be to his detriment and lead to an extended, much-prolonged apology tour–and of course as we all know, Jews don’t celebrate in parking lots while “documenting the event,” take out insurance policies on asbestos-filled buildings, or get themselves appointed to oversee commissions investigating what happened on a day that “changed the world” and that led to a series of wars against Israel’s enemies and a flood of refugees pouring into Europe. Jews don’t do any of these things! So repeat after me: It’s all just a coincidence…just a coincidence…just a coincidence…
The editorial also invokes the Nazis (you wouldn’t expect otherwise), calls Johnson’s termite comment “a particularly vile association,” and quotes one of his more contrite apologies:
“The language I used was not only unacceptable but it was hurtful,” he wrote in a message to constituents. “I deeply regret using this terrible metaphor. It was not only nonconstructive, it was wrong.”
I’m just guessing here, but I suspect a lot of people in Johnson’s congressional district are supporters of the Black Lives Matters movement, and of course a good many activists in that movement have openly expressed solidarity with Palestinians. Could that have anything to do with why Johnson accepted the invitation to speak at the event in Philadelphia?
A number of Johnson’s critics have attacked him not only for his comments about termites, but also for speaking at what they view as an anti-Semitic event. The event at which he spoke was not anti-Semitic, but it has been portrayed as such. “Progressive for Palestine: Is the US Ready to Rethink Policy on Israel?”–this was the title of the program. It was sponsored jointly by the American Friends Service Committee and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. The latter group should change its name to the “US Campaign to End the Israeli Disputation” or else prepare to go on being accused of anti-Semitism. At any rate, the main point I’m making is that not only were Johnson’s words criticized, but the program itself.
“Why was Johnson speaking to such an anti-Israel gathering at all?” asks the Atlanta Jewish Times editorial, in what is perhaps typical of some of the jabs. “That’s the question he must answer if wants to receive any more votes from the pro-Israel community.”
“Any more votes” from a group that makes up roughly two percent of the population is of course of scant consideration. The real question is whether Johnson will undergo savage media attacks in conjunction with buckets of money funneled to the campaign of some possible future opponent. Clearly the congressman has been warned.
For those who think it worth the effort, an online petition has been started to urge Johnson to “please keep speaking out about West Bank settlements.”
Richard Edmondson is an author, novelist, poet, and journalist whose writings often focus on Middle East issues, the Zionist lobby, and religion. His latest novel is The Memoirs of Saint John: When the Sandstone Crumbles, a story about an archaeological team doing a dig in Syria and set amidst the current conflict in the country.
In 2014 Richard attended an International Conference on Combating Terrorism and Religious Extremism, held in Damascus. The book is part two in the Memoirs of Saint John series.
Two other books by Richard are Rising Up: Class Warfare in America from the Streets to the Airwaves, relating his experiences founding and operating an unlicensed or “pirate” FM radio station in San Francisco in the 1990s, as well as a volume of poetry entitled American Bus Stop: Essay and Poems on Hope and Homelessness.
Richard is cognizant of the words of the early Christian writer Tertullian, who in the second century-basically prognosticating the fall of the Roman Empire-wrote: “We have made merry amid the ludicrous cruelties of the noonday exhibition.”