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Ga. Lawmaker Meets with Jewish Groups After ‘Termites’ Apology

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., met with Jewish leaders in Atlanta after apologizing for likening the settlement movement to termites.

“Appreciate meeting w/ @AJCGlobal today to open important dialogue,” Johnson said in a Tuesday after meeting with the local office of the American Jewish Committee. The AJC office tweeted soon after: “Thank you @RepHankJohnson for addressing our concerns & your sincere apology. #buildingbridges.”

Johnson, addressing an event organized by the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation during last week’s Democratic convention in Philadelphia, had said settlements were “almost like termites [that] can get into a residence and eat before you know that you’ve been eaten up and you fall in on yourself.”

After criticism from the Anti-Defamation League, he apologized for what he said in a tweet was a “poor choice of words” but added: “Point is settlement activity continues slowly undermine 2-state solution.”

When ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a response that describing settlement as “termites” deserved an apology with no further rationalization, Johnson, in a subsequent tweet, agreed.

“You’re right @JGreenblattADL I sincerely apologize for the offensive analogy. Period,” he said.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that Johnson also met with The Atlanta Jewish Times, which in an editorial had condemned his remarks.

Appreciate meeting w/ @AJCGlobal today to open important dialogue — especially w/ #ATL director @DovWilker. Thanks! pic.twitter.com/QMZO2hMcTQ

— Rep. Hank Johnson (@RepHankJohnson) August 2, 2016

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