Kindergarten children in Samaria
Kindergarten children in SamariaMateh Maavak Amona/Gidi Sharon

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) met this week with Jewish leaders in Atlanta after apologizing for likening Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria to termites, JTA reported Thursday.

“Appreciate meeting w/ @AJCGlobal today to open important dialogue,” Johnson said in a tweet after the meeting with the local office of the American Jewish Committee, which was held on Tuesday.

The AJC office tweeted soon after: “Thank you @RepHankJohnson for addressing our concerns & your sincere apology. #buildingbridges.”

Johnson, addressing an event organized 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 (ADL), he issued a weak apology on Twitter, saying the remarks were a “poor choice of words” but also adding, “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, according to JTA.