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US Swastika found carved into elevator at State Department

00:12  28 july  2021
00:12  28 july  2021 Source:   cnn.com

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A swastika was found carved into an elevator at the State Department on Monday, leading Secretary of State Antony Blinken to condemn the hateful carving and describe it as a reminder that anti-Semitism is still alive.

Politics|The State Department finds a swastika in one of its elevators . Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken sent a letter to employees of the State Department on Tuesday saying that a swastika was found this week in an elevator at the department ’s headquarters in Washington. Mr. Blinken said that the graffiti had been removed and that an investigation was ongoing.

A swastika was found carved into an elevator at the State Department on Monday, leading Secretary of State Antony Blinken to condemn the hateful carving and describe it as a reminder that anti-Semitism is still alive.

a sign on the side of a building: The US Department of State building is seen in Washington, DC, on July 22, 2019. (Photo by Alastair Pike / AFP)    (Photo credit should read ALASTAIR PIKE/AFP via Getty Images) © ALASTAIR PIKE/AFP/Getty Images The US Department of State building is seen in Washington, DC, on July 22, 2019. (Photo by Alastair Pike / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALASTAIR PIKE/AFP via Getty Images)

"As this painfully reminds us, anti-Semitism isn't a relic of the past," Blinken wrote in a memo to all State Department employees that was reviewed by CNN. "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."

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A swastika was found on Monday etched into the wall of a State Department elevator near the office of its special envoy to monitor and combat anti-semitism, according to a person familiar with the discovery and a picture obtained by Axios. Why it matters: The defacement raises troubling questions about security inside the nation's foreign policy nerve center, and the potential for antisemitism within an outward-facing element of the United States government. On Tuesday, State Department officials sent an agency-wide notice condemning the vandalism, which was found in Elevator 36 at State 's main

TSA Found 30 Guns At DC, Baltimore Area Airports' Security Checkpoints In 2020Transportation Security Administration officers found 30 handguns at Baltimore and DC area airports in 2020. BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Johns Hopkins University officials are investigating after four swastikas were found etched into the walls of a dormitory elevator on the Peabody Institute campus. The incident wasn’t just reported to campus security, but also to federal law enforcement as a possible hate crime.

Axios was first to report the incident.

Blinken said that the swastika -- which was the centerpiece of the Nazi flag and is synonymous with anti-Semitism -- has been removed from the elevator and the incident will be investigated by Diplomatic Security, the federal law enforcement branch of the State Department.

Blinken spoke to the fact that anti-Semitism is often connected with other forms of hatred and said none of them should be part of the US culture or the culture within the State Department.

'Hatreds'

"We also know from our own history and from the histories of other nations that anti-Semitism often goes hand in hand with racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia and other hatreds. None of these ideologies should have a home in our workplace or our nation," Blinken said.

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German police on Sunday launched an investigation after a swastika symbol was found in a parliament building in Berlin. A spokesperson for the Bundestag said that the unconstitutional symbol had been spotted carved onto the door of an elevator , according to German news agency DPA. Read more: Finland's air force removes the swastika from logo after almost a century. A staffer of Green party lawmaker Dieter Janecek tweeted a picture of the swastika scratched into the door in the Jakob-Kaiser-Haus, an office building for lawmakers next to the Reichstag that houses parliament.

Two swastikas were carved into a door at the Manhattan apartment building where New York State Sen. Brad Hoylman resides, prompting the senator to express his fear they were inspired by President-elect Donald Trump's recent victory., according to the New York Daily News. The Senator, a two-term Democrat, whose partner and daughter are Jewish, stated that there are over 100 people that live in the building and he does not think that the swastikas were meant to target his family specifically. Swastika found in my apartment building this evening in Greenwich Village.

Blinken, who was raised in the Jewish tradition and has spoken movingly about his stepfather's rescue by American soldiers after surviving the Holocaust, addressed the department's Jewish employees directly in his message.

"To our Jewish colleagues: please know how grateful we are for your service and how proud we are to be your colleagues," Blinken wrote. "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 defacement at the State Department comes as anti-Semitic attacks in the US have been steadily rising in recent years and have included deadly attacks on synagogues.

According to the Anti-Defamation League -- the nation's leading organization for monitoring, tracking and responding to anti-Semitism in the United States -- assault, harassment and vandalism against Jews remain at near-historic levels.

The organization's most recent Audit of Antisemitic Incidents in the US recorded 2,024 incidents in 2020, the third highest since the group began documenting them in 1979, even with Covid-19-related lockdowns across the country.

It was "very disturbing to hear of a swastika carved into an elevator wall at the U.S. Dept of State," Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt wrote on Twitter. Greenblatt said his organization appreciated the "strong condemnation" from Blinken, and he added that he hopes "an investigation brings swift justice to those responsible."

Biden nominates Holocaust historian as special envoy to combat antisemitism .
President Biden on Friday nominated Holocaust historian and Emory University professor Deborah Lipstadt to serve as a special envoy to combat and monitor antisemitism.Lipstadt, who was the founding director of Emory's Institute for Jewish Studies and has served in roles at the Holocaust Memorial Museum, was viewed as the likely choice for the position.She has written a number of books on the Holocaust and was also previously a member of the State Department's Advisory Committee on Religious Persecution Abroad.

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This is interesting!