“As we all know, this is Elmo. This guy taught us our 1,2,3s, but he also taught us tolerance and understanding,” Ellison said in his speech. “For the past several years, he’s been doing the same thing for children in the Palestinian territories. Because of the Sesame Street in Palestine, Palestinian kids grow up with the same positive role models we did. But recently Sesame Street has been off the air. Now Palestinian kids are left watching Farfour. … He’s a mouse who is the main character of a Hamas TV show. Instead of tolerance and understanding, Farfour promotes violence and anti-Semitism.”

Ellison criticized Congress for holding up U.S. funding for the Palestinian version of “Sesame Street,” which is called “Sharaa Simsim.”

When the Palestinian Authority applied to the United Nations for statehood in defiance of U.S. wishes, Congress froze funds through the U.S. Agency for International Development as punishment.

Congress released about 20 percent of the original funding in January through the appropriations bill for the new fiscal year.

Ellison urged that Congress stop blocking the full funding, which would support programs such as the Palestinian “Sesame Street.”