Rep. Keith Ellison brought a toy and a special poster to work with him Tuesday.
“Mr. Speaker,” the Minnesota Democrat began. “I brought a friend to the [House] floor with me today. ... As we all know, this is Elmo.”
Oh, hello there, Elmo.
“[T]his guy taught us our 1-2-3’s, and he taught us tolerance and understanding,” Ellison continued. “For the past several years, he’s been doing the same thing for children in the Palestinian territories because of the Sesame Street — because of the Sesame Street in Palestine, Palestinian kids grow up with a positive role model like we did.”
Except that recently, according to Ellison, Elmo and the rest of the gang from the Street have been usurped in the Palestinian territories by a cartoon mouse, Farfour, who looks an awful lot like Mickey Mouse.
This rodent, however, is not the Disney mascot. It is the main character of a Hamas television show, “Tomorrow’s Pioneers.”
And unless Congress releases foreign aid that could lead to better children’s programming in the Middle East, well, Hamas wins.
“[Instead] of tolerance and understanding, [Farfour] promotes violence and anti-Semitism,” Ellison said. “[There’s] no Elmo [in Palestine], but there is this mouse trafficking and teaching extremism. I’m not the only one who wants Congress to release the funding, even the Israeli government wants to release it.”
We should point out that Farfour the Mouse is no longer on the show. He was beaten to death in 2007 while being interrogated by Israelis. Farfour was replaced by a bumblebee character named Nahoul, who, in turn, was killed off to make way for a Bugs Bunny-type character named Assoud (who then “died” in 2009).
According to Ellison’s office, the foreign aid that could be used for counter-programming has been held up since October.
Ellison’s point seems pretty simple: Free Elmo for a Palestinian mission before more cartoon knockoffs die.
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.