Democrat denounces political intimidation and violence after home vandalized with call for ceasefire in Israel, Gaza

By Kaanita Iyer and Sara Smart, CNN

CNN  — 

Democratic Rep. Adam Smith on Friday condemned intimidation and violence pushed by political “extremes” after he said his Washington state home was vandalized by activists pushing for a ceasefire in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

“Sadly, the extremes on the left and the right have increasingly seen intimidation, and in some cases violence, as a legitimate way to advance their viewpoints,” Smith told CNN’s Abby Phillip on “NewsNight.”

Smith said that his wife found the graffiti at their Bellevue, Washington, home and that they reported the incident to local and Capitol police. He described the incident, and similar examples of intimidation, as “very troubling.”

The incident comes as members of Congress and the Biden administration have faced increased pressure to publicly call for a ceasefire in the conflict, with President Joe Biden having faced sharp criticism from inside his party over his refusal to do so. The administration has supported “humanitarian pauses” and pushed to extend the recent truce in the fighting. Smith said he also supports humanitarian pauses in the conflict.

Public information officer Seth Tyler with the Bellevue Police Department told CNN earlier Friday that the garage door of Smith’s home had been spray painted overnight, but declined to relay what had been written.

Smith told Phillip that to his “knowledge” as of Friday evening, authorities do not have any leads on who was responsible.

The congressman pointed to the incident as part of a “very problematic” trend of threats against elected officials.

“We need to have respect for civil society and representative democracy and know how to disagree with each other without going to this level of intimidation,” Smith said.

Asked by Phillip whether he agrees with some protesters’ sentiments that there is a greater focus on their tactics than the issues they’re protesting, Smith said that “they’re 1,000% wrong.”

“I think the tactics are very damaging,” he said, adding that they are “the same tactics we saw in the most extreme form” during the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol.

Smith said in a press release earlier Friday that over his career he has “continually met with groups from all parts of the political spectrum, including Pro-Palestinian and left-wing activists.”

“I remain open to meeting with these groups and discussing our differences and where we can come together in a productive and peaceful way,” he continued in the statement.

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