Pro-Palestinian protesters disrupt Rep. Adam Smith's Town Hall on March 17, 2024

by Donald A. Smith, PhD

The Sunday March 17 Town Hall meeting of Rep. Adam Smith (no relation) at Bellevue's Samammish High School was disrupted by protesters angry at U.S. support for Israel's actions in Gaza.

Smith starts out by calling for a respectful discussion:

But the disruptions came soon. One protester insisted that Rep. Smith hadn't met with Palestinian rights supporters at his office; Smith insisted that he had.

The disruptors accused him of supporting genocide and of being worse than Hitler. They spoke of 30,000 people killed including thousand of children and pregnant women. Rep. Smith sat calmly during the shouting and repeatedly tried to calm them down so that he could address peoples' questions. When Rep. Smith pleaded for quiet, most of the audience applauded,

Rep. Smith started speaking again, but after more disruptions, he apologized to everyone and called off the event:

After he called off the event, people lined up on the side and asked him questions. Rep. Smith later told me that people in line were peaceful until they weren't: one group shouted into his face and he had to leave.

There were at least a half dozen armed police officers at the venue. I've attended many Adam Smith town halls in the past, and this was the first one with such a large police presence. Obviously, they anticipated protests. Indeed, the Washington Post reports Biden and other Democrats forced to adapt to pro-Palestinian protests.

Here's a photo of one of the protesters loudly condemning Rep. Smith:

This protester called him "worse than Hitler":
Worse than Hitler


After Adam Smith decided to cancel the event, people lined up peacefully to speak with him: 20240317_112334.jpg

The sign on the left says "Seattle Jews Say: No Arms to Israel!": 20240317_112427.jpg



I can understand the urgency of the protesters: they believe (with significant justification) that a genocide is occurring. I can also understand why, after loudly making their point, they probably should have given Rep. Smith a chance to present his views and to respond to other issues.

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