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Blinken Denounces Carving of Swastika at State Department

Etching occurred inside the building's security perimeter
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 27, 2021 4:07 PM CDT
State Department Finds Swastika Etched Into Elevator
The State Department building in Washington.   (Getty/Tom Brakefield)

(Newser) – A swastika carved into an elevator car has been discovered at the State Department in Washington—in a location within the building's security perimeter. The elevator is close to the office of the special envoy charged with monitoring and opposing anti-semitism, Axios reports. Secretary of State Antony Blinken emailed all employees Tuesday about the discovery. "The hateful graffiti has been removed and this incident will be investigated," he wrote. Blinken is the stepson of a Holocaust survivor, per the Washington Post, and has emphasized the threat of anti-semitism, which he wrote "isn't a relic of the past." Officials have said President Biden will nominate an ambassador-at-large to deal with the problem; the Jerusalem Post called for such a position in an editorial this month.

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As with other workplaces, many employees have been working at home during the pandemic but have been trickling back into headquarters. Contractors also roam the building after being cleared by security. The entrances to secure areas have cameras and often guards watching. Jewish groups have held meetings with White House officials about the increase in threats and attacks, per Axios, and are seeking more funding for security at houses of worship and organizations. "The administration is taking this very seriously," said an executive of the Orthodox Union. Blinken's email attempted to reassure Jewish employees: "Please know how grateful we are for your service and how proud we are to be your colleagues," he wrote. Axios posted a photo of the etching here. (Read more swastikas stories.)

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