Progressive members of Congress were briefed on security issues on Thursday from Capitol Police amid an uptick in threats against them since conflict broke out in Israel. Capitol Police on the Hill have stated they were “enhancing” security around the Capitol complex as Hamas warned of a “day of action” on Friday.
Those members have been vocal critics of the Israeli government, and include Reps Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, Summer Lee and Barbara Lee.
Tlaib and other progessives have been targeted by conservative media as well as some other Democrats who were accused of not sufficiently condemning terror attacks by Hamas.
Tlaib said in a statement Wednesday, “I do not support the targeting and killing of civilians, whether in Israel or Palestine. The fact that some have suggested otherwise is offensive and rooted in bigoted assumptions about my faith and ethnicity.”
New York Rep. Joe Morelle, the top Democrat on a panel overseeing Capitol security, said he was “very concerned” about lawmakers’ safety amid the heated rhetoric over the conflict in the Middle East, and had spent much of Thursday talking with security officials about lawmaker security.
Although the Capitol Police said there weren’t specific threats towards Congress, they were acting out of an abundance of caution.
Cities also are stepping up presence since a video posted to social media by former Hamas leader, Khaled Mashal, allegedly called for a day of “anger” or a “day of rage.”
In New York City, the police department said there have been no specific threats to safety, but have put all officers in uniform and added patrols at synogues and Jewish communities.
Chicago police also released a statement: “Though there is no actionable intelligence regarding any credible threats in Chicago at this time, CPD is paying special attention to synagogues and mosques so that all of our residents are safe. We also remain in close communication with community leaders and elected officials.”
One temple in Skokie was evacuated for a bomb threat on Thursday.
According to one Chicago area rabbi, “Part of the threat of terrorism is not just the physical threat, but the psychological threat. This is what they want. They want people to be afraid.”