protest problems

New York congressman’s district office besieged by anti-Israel demonstrators

Activists attempted to force their way past Rep. Pat Ryan’s staff into the office and climbed onto the roof

Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Rep. Pat Ryan (D-NY) visits the Purple Heart Museum during a campaign event on November 2, 2022 in New Windsor, New York.

Rep. Pat Ryan’s (D-NY) district office in Kingston, N.Y., was besieged on Friday by a group of anti-Israel activists who attempted to force their way inside past staff members physically blocking the doors and onto the building’s roof, according to Ryan and video of the incident obtained by Jewish Insider.

Ryan, a staunchly pro-Israel lawmaker who represents a Hudson Valley district with a sizable Jewish population and who sits on the House Armed Services Committee, said in a statement on Friday that the group had “attempted to forcibly enter” the office and “directly threaten[ed] my staff.”

Responding to Ryan on X (formerly Twitter), some individuals purporting to have been involved in the demonstration denied that anyone attempted to force their way into the office. But in a video shared by a Ryan staffer, staffers for the congressman can be seen using their bodies to hold shut a partially opened door being obstructed by a demonstrator.

A Ryan staffer who was present at the time described the incident as deeply frightening and said that they could also hear demonstrators on the roof. One individual on X who said they were part of the demonstration said some participants had climbed up to hang signs from the office’s roof.

“The fact that they had to experience this today and fear for their safety is deeply unsettling and totally unacceptable,” Ryan said in his statement. “Forcibly entering and vandalizing federal property is not free speech, and it gets us no closer to a lasting peace.”

Ryan is the latest in a growing number of pro-Israel lawmakers who’ve had their district offices vandalized or public appearances interrupted by anti-Israel protesters. But many of the incidents at lawmakers’ offices have taken place after hours and when no staff is present; the altercation at Ryan’s office took place during the day.

Also on Friday, Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) was escorted out through a back entrance from an event where she was delivering a speech, after the event was interrupted by three anti-Israel protesters. Other individuals protested outside.

Rosen’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the incident. The organizer of the event, Fernando Romero, told The Nevada Independent that the protesters “antagonized people so much that they frightened people, to the point that they were not hearing what they were protesting about.”

Following the incident at his office, Ryan laid out a proposal for peace and a path forward for Israel and Gaza, calling for a “permanent and mutual peace” conditioned on the return of all hostages, Hamas’ surrender, a new Palestinian government in Gaza, a bilateral commitment to peace talks, recognition by Israel and the Palestinians of each group’s right to a state, accountability for perpetrators of sexual violence, increased humanitarian aid to Gaza and the end of settler violence in the West Bank and consequences for its perpetrators.
Unlike the Biden administration, Ryan did not say that the new Palestinian government should be led by the Palestinian Authority.

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