Democrat Adam Smith, who represents the 9th Congressional District, including areas in Bellevue, Renton, Federal Way, Kent and Auburn, reported his Bellevue home vandalized the night of Nov. 30.
The incident was reported to the relevant authorities – Bellevue Police Department and United States Capitol Police, said Jaelin O’Halloran, the spokesperson for Smith.
In response, Smith released a statement Dec. 1, upset with the actions taken and regarded the vandalism as an act by people “advocating for a cease-fire in Israel and Gaza.”
“This attack is sadly reflective of the coarsening of the political discourse in our country, and is completely unwarranted, unnecessary, and harmful to our political system,” Smith said.
Photos of the vandalism released by Smith’s office show bold red phrases such as “Free Gaza,” “Cease Fire!” and “Baby Killer” spray-painted on his garage.
“At this time we have no updates on this case,” a Bellevue Police spokesperson said in a Dec. 5 email when asked if detectives had any leads on a suspect or suspects.
Smith criticized the extremist nature of both the left and right sides of the political spectrum, adding these actions have been condoned for too long and are a threat to democracy.
Despite the vandalism, Smith said, he and his staff will continue to meet with groups spanning 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,” Smith said.
This is not the first vandalism case within the 9th District following the Israel-Hamas conflict on Oct. 7. The morning of Nov. 22, the Herzl-Ner Tamid synagogue on Mercer Island was spray-painted with anti-Israel phrases. The case is currently being investigated by the FBI, according to the City of Mercer Island.
“The world is increasingly complicated and full of tough challenges that require strong leaders. I am committed to taking on these challenges and this act of vandalism has only made me more determined to remain in politics to ensure that we resolve our differences in a peaceful way that truly reflects representative democracy,” Smith said.
Prior to the vandalism incident, Smith had made various statements about the Israel-Hamas conflict.
“I remain steadfast in my support of Israel and its right to defend itself. I will continue to work with Congress and the Administration to ensure Israel has what it needs to defend itself and repel future attacks,” Smith said in an Oct. 7 statement.
Following Smith’s statement, he joined over 100 U.S. House members and signed a letter that condemned the Hamas attack and commended President Joe Biden’s support for Israel.
According to an Oct. 28 statement, Smith continued to align with his prior statement in support of eliminating the Hamas terrorist organization, adding Israel must do all it can to cease Hamas attacks. However, Smith then pivoted his statement, reflecting on the many lives lost in Gaza.
“Much more can be done right now by Israel, the United States, and others to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Food, water, medical supplies, and fuel must be allowed into Gaza—with appropriate safeguards—to reduce the suffering of the civilian population,” Smith said.
Although Smith has commented on civilian aid needed in Gaza, he said he does not support a cease-fire.
“I don’t support a cease-fire. I think we need to do more to get humanitarian aid in and help protect civilians and get civilians out,” Smith said in a Nov. 8 interview with KOMO news.
Smith was first elected to Congress in 1996 and has been reelected 12 times.
The Associated Press (AP) reported that at least 200 Palestinians were killed after the fighting resumed Friday morning, Dec. 1 following the weeklong truce with the territory’s ruling militant group Hamas, according to the Health Ministry in Gaza.
The renewed hostilities have heightened concerns for 137 hostages, who the Israeli military says are still being held after 105 were freed during the truce, according to AP. The Oct. 7 attack by Hamas and other militants killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, in southern Israel. Around 240 people were taken captive.
Separately, the ministry said the overall death toll in Gaza since the Oct. 7 start of the war had surpassed 15,200, according to AP. The ministry does not differentiate between civilian and combatant deaths, but it said 70% of the dead were women and children. It said more than 40,000 people had been wounded since the war began.
The prospect of further cease-fires in Gaza appeared bleak, according to AP, as Israel recalled its negotiators and Hamas’ deputy leader said any further swap of Gaza-held hostages for Palestinians imprisoned by Israel would only happen as part of ending the war.