Keith Ellison presents Elmo doll to Congress
As if just to further speculation that Washington has lost its mind, Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison brought an Elmo doll onto the House floor today.
The point, according to a statement from Ellison, was to hammer home the argument that the United States government needs to unfreeze Palestinian aid, which goes toward funding things like Shara'a Simsim, the Palestinian version of Sesame Street.
Last October, Congress suspended nearly $200 million in funds to the U.S. Agency for International Development. Aside from Shara'a Simsim, which is on hold for now, the money also funded things like hospitals and education.
"We all know who Elmo is," Ellison announced. "This guy taught us our 123s...But he also taught us tolerance and understanding."
The alternative to Elmo, says Ellison, is a character named Farfour, who -- in contrast to counting, tolerance, and understanding -- specializes in promoting "violence and anti-Semitism."
Here's the full transcript from Ellison's speech:
Mr. Speaker, I brought a friend to the floor today to make a point.
We all know who Elmo is. This guy taught us our 123's...But he also taught us tolerance and understanding.
For the past several years...he's been doing the same for children in the Palestinian Territories. Because of Sesame Street in Palestine, Palestinian kids grow up with the same positive role models that we did.
Keith Ellison uses Elmo doll to prove his point.
But recently...Sesame Street hasn't been on the air.
Now, Palestinian kids are left watching Farfour - this mouse - who is the main character on a Hamas TV show for children. Instead of tolerance and understanding, Farfour promotes violence and anti-Semitism.
This Congress approved funding for Sesame Street in Palestine last year. But one member is holding up the money. That means no Elmo...Only Farfour teaching extremism.
I'm not the only one who wants Congress to release the funding. The Israeli government also wants us to release it.
Congress should release the money it already approved for Sesame Street...and all programs that support positive development in Palestine.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.