The head of the domestic intelligence agency ASIO has urged all public figures to safeguard "social cohesion", warning against public statements on the Israel-Gaza war that may inflame community tensions. ASIO director-general Mike Burgess on Thursday said the agency was on alert for a small subset of protesters including religiously motivated and ideologically motivated extremists in light of the events in the Middle East. There have been fiery and defiant protests and memorials in Australia, police have attended incidents over flag-waving, and there has been politicisation of allegiances and statements in response to the violence. The director-general of security said ASIO was carefully monitoring how the conflict was "resonating" in the Australian community and was ready to respond, "along with our law enforcement partners". "ASIO remains well-placed to detect threats to security including potential acts of politically motivated violence or the promotion of communal violence," Mr Burgess said in a statement. "In this context, it is important that all parties consider the implications for social cohesion when making public statements. "As I have said previously, words matter. ASIO has seen direct connections between inflamed language and inflamed community tensions." READ MORE He's been backed by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. "We are a great multicultural nation," he said. "It's important that people, including people in public life, be non-inflammatory in the language which is used at this difficult time." But the federal opposition wants the Prime Minister to confirm whether national security committees have met over the conflict. Nationals Leader David Littleproud said the government needed to reach out and "make sure that they are being transparent and open with the Australian people". Sydney broadcaster Ray Hadley on Thursday suggested in a question to Opposition Leader Peter Dutton that "part of the DNA of some Labor people is just to hate the Israelis", while Mr Dutton responded "there's certainly that element to it" and suggested some Labor MPs with larger Middle Eastern communities were "playing to their electorates". The Albanese government has condemned the Hamas attacks as acts of terrorism and recognises Israel's right to defend itself. "We stand with Israel and we recognise its right to defend itself," Foreign Minister Penny Wong said on Thursday. Greens representatives, including the ACT, have been under attack for endorsing pro-Palestinian rallies. Mr Burgess said the national terrorism threat level remained at the existing level of "possible". He said protests, rallies and associated activities were expected to continue, and were likely to feature "strong emotive claims". He was concerned about the potential for opportunistic violence with "little or no warning". "However, it is important to distinguish opportunistic violence from planned violence or acts of terrorism," Mr Burgess said in a statement. "As always, ASIO is not interested in those who are engaged in lawful protest, but rather the small subset of protesters who may wish to escalate protest to violence. This includes religiously motivated and ideologically motivated extremists, or anyone who believes that violence is a means to further their own interests."