Evangelical leader the Rev. Franklin Graham has slammed comments made by Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., who compared Jewish people to "termites" that destroy homes during a speech on Monday to an anti-Israel group.
"Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson's comments were reprehensible," Graham said in a Facebook post on Wednesday.
The Washington Free Beacon reported that Johnson, who is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, was speaking at an event set up by the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, when he said:
"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."
Johnson's comments were aimed at the long-standing contentious issue of Israeli policies toward Palestinians in disputed territories. The Democrat said that Jewish constructions, such as highways and walls, are cutting off Palestinian neighborhoods from each other.
"And then with the building of walls and the building of check points that restrict movement of Palestinians. We've gotten to the point where the thought of a Palestinian homeland gets further and further removed from reality," he added.
Johnson was also critical of Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who he compared to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
"The fact is the Israeli government, which is the most right-wing government ever to exist in the state of Israel in its history, the most right wing government, you got a guy like Trump who is now the minister of defense in Israel calling the shots on defense," the congressman alleged.
Graham said that Johnson's "rant" against Israelis was unwarranted.
"He's a member of the House Armed Services Committee and he was speaking at an event sponsored by an anti-Israel organization," Graham pointed out.
"As a nation we need leaders who support our strongest ally in the Middle East. God says in His Word that He will bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel."
The U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation says on its website that it is working to change U.S. policy in Israel and wants to end "Israel's occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem."
In the past, Graham has warned that the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict reflects passages in the Bible that talk about the end times.
"The Bible tells us that in the end times there will be 'distress of nations with perplexity,'" Graham wrote in March 2015, referring to Luke 21:25.
The evangelical preacher said: "Israel is desperate to have peace, but the Bible says 'they will seek peace but there shall be none.' There is only one ultimate, eternal solution — Jesus Christ and Him alone."