Late Monday, employees at the State Department building found a swastika etched into an elevator panel. Diplomatic Security, the federal law enforcement branch of the State Department, plans an investigation into the vandalism.
Some individuals familiar with the incident (BuzzFeed News) expressed concern that the antisemitic beliefs could be coming from within the ranks of consuls assigned to combat hate all over the world. Safeguarded with hands-on security and cameras, All visitors and employees pass through several checkpoints and log in during each visit. The video footage may be valuable in providing insight into any individuals that may be associated with or responsible for the crime.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is Jewish, said the carving is evidence that “antisemitism isn’t a relic of the past” in a department memo. Antisemitism is “still a force in the world, including close to home. And it’s abhorrent. It has no place in the United States, at the State Department, or anywhere else. And we must be relentless in standing up and rejecting it,” he added.
“To our Jewish colleagues: please know how grateful we are for your service and how proud we are to be your colleagues. And that goes for our entire diverse and dedicated team in Washington and around the world. I know I can speak for the Deputy Secretaries and senior leaders across the Department when I say that it’s an honor to serve alongside you on behalf of the American people.”
The offensive graphic raises other concerns as President Biden continues to receive pressure to appoint an envoy for combating antisemitism amid a rise in global attacks, including schools, synagogues, and other places people in the Jewish community congregate.
President Joe Biden denounced the incident late Tuesday night. “Let me be clear: Anti-Semitism has no place in the State Department, in my Administration, or anywhere in the world,” he said. “It’s up to all of us to give hate no safe harbor and stand up to bigotry wherever we find it.” There are no suspects at this time.
ARTICLE: KRISTA DROOP
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: AXIOS