The State Department on Tuesday said that it had discovered a swastika carved in an elevator in its building located in Foggy Bottom in Washington D.C.
State Department Deputy Spokesperson Jalina Porter said in a briefing with reporters that the graffiti, which is synonymous with the antisemitism of Hitler’s Germany and the genocide carried out against six million Jews during the country's Nazi regime, was discovered late Monday evening.
“Unfortunately, late yesterday a swastika was found carved in an elevator in our building here, at the State Department,” Porter said.
“This graffiti has been removed and the incident will be investigated," she added.
Porter added that Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Pentagon officials prepare for grilling Republican lawmakers warn against more military coordination with Russia Uyghur Tribunal is a litmus test of the human rights establishment MORE, who is currently on diplomatic travel in India and Kuwait, shared a message with all State Department employees condemning the incident, calling it “completely abhorrent.”
Blinken is Jewish and has family who survived the Holocaust.
Porter said the secretary’s message included that the incident is “a painful reminder that antisemitism isn’t a relic of the past, it’s still a force that we’re dealing with in the world and unfortunately we’re dealing with it close to home.”
She added, “It has to be said that antisemitism has no place in the United States and certainly has no place in the State Department. We can and must be relentless in standing up and rejecting this type of hate speech in all forms.”
Axios first reported Tuesday that the swastika was found in Elevator 36 at State's main headquarters in Foggy Bottom, saying the graffiti appeared near the office of the U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism.
Porter did not address the proximity of the graffiti to specific offices, saying, “Anywhere inside or nearby the State Department… in the United States, is unwelcome and we will continue to condemn it.”
An estimated 70,000 people work for the State Department at posts in the U.S. and across the world.
The Biden administration has committed to nominating an individual to be Ambassador to Combat and Monitor Antisemitism, the position recently elevated by Congress from special envoy.
The office falls under the Bureau for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights.
Israel’s Ambassador to the United States and U.N. Gilad Erdan issued a statement in reaction to the discovery of the swastika etching, saying it represents a universal threat against Jewish people.
"The swastika etched in the State Department is a serious incident of antisemitic vandalism, which once again shows that antisemitism does not distinguish between Jews in Israel and Jews in America, and harms not only Israel but the entire world. We must fight together resolutely against antisemitism of any kind and bring to justice anyone who acts out of hatred for the Jewish [people]," he said.
-Updated 3 p.m.