Joe Biden Condemns Antisemitism After Swastika Found in State Department Building

US President Joe Biden looks on during a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, July 26, 2021. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty

After a swastika was found etched into the wall at the State Department building, President Joe Biden said Tuesday there was no place for antisemitism in his administration.

The swastika was found a day earlier next to an elevator adjacent to the office of the special antisemitism envoy.

“Let me be clear: Anti-Semitism has no place in the State Department, in my Administration, or anywhere in the world,” Biden tweeted. “It’s up to all of us to give hate no safe harbor and stand up to bigotry wherever we find it.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken also sent an email condemning the incident and reassuring “our Jewish colleagues: please know how grateful we are for your service and how proud we are to be your colleagues.”

“As this painfully reminds us, antisemitism isn’t a relic of the past,” Blinken wrote. “It’s 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.”

The Axios news site, which first reported the story, said the elevator was in a secure perimeter, with security cameras and uniformed guards.

The position of antisemitism envoy is not currently filled, and the Biden administration has been promising for months to fill the position. The Trump administration filled the position for the first time in years with the appointment of Iraq war veteran and attorney Elan Carr.

Donald Trump also signed a bill into law, one of the last to pass the 116th Congress, elevating the status of the antisemitism envoy to an ambassadorship.

Several lawmakers condemned the swastika incident. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) called it “extremely disturbing, repugnant and simply un-American.” He also called on the U.S. to “immediately name” an antisemitism envoy.

Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), co-chair of the Senate Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Antisemitism, said she is “deeply disturbed by this hateful vandalism.”

Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), Rosen’s task force co-chair, tweeted: “Antisemitism has no place in the US, & especially not a few doors away from the special envoy tasked with combatting antisemitism in the State Dept. This is not who we are as a nation.”

 

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