A swastika was found scratched into the wall of an elevator of the State Department on Monday. The particular elevator was located near the office of the special envoy to combat and monitor anti-semitism, Axios reported.
The discovery raised troubling questions about security inside the department, and the views being harbored among staff of the nation’s foreign policy leaders.
The elevator was located within a security perimeter, with security cameras and armed guards at the entrances and exits. The only people allowed in the area are employees or contractors who have passed a security vetting.
On Tuesday, officials released a statement throughout the department condemning the vandalism.
“Hate has no place here at the State Department,” said the notice. It added that the Bureau of Diplomatic Security was investigating and urged employees to “commit in every way we can to oppose all forms of hatred.”
In a personal statement to members of the department, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who himself is Jewish and whose step-father is a Holocaust survivor, said “this painfully reminds us [that] anti-Semitsim isn’t a relic of the past. It’s still a force in the world, 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.”
President Joe Biden is expected to nominate an ambassador-at-large to combat and monitor antisemitism soon. The position is currently held by Kara McDonald, deputy assistant secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.