Just months after the Nazi symbol was found carved into an elevator at the US States State Department, a swastika drawn in purple ink on a window shade was found last month inside the US embassy in Bulgaria, raising antisemitism concerns within the State Department headquarters itself.
Although the notorious image was first identified a day after International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 28, the news of the embarrassing discovery emerged on Friday after a diplomatic cable describing the incident was sent to Washington from the embassy in Sofia.
According to sources with knowledge of the cable, the drawing was found in a secure part of the embassy, indicating whoever drew it had access inside an American diplomatic outpost.
Stressing that the department takes this matter extremely seriously, condemning any instances of hate or bias in the workplace, the State Department spokesperson Ned Price noted they’re doing everything possible to ensure that the State Department remains inclusive and bias-free workplace, including its posts overseas.
This is a second swastika incident in less than a year since another swastika was found carved in an elevator inside the department itself last July, near the office of the special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, responsible for pressing governments to adopt measures to mitigate antisemitism and reporting on antisemitism overseas.
It also happens in a time when Deborah Lipstadt, Biden’s nominee for special envoy to combat and monitor antisemitism, is undergoing her confirmation process long-delayed by Republicans due to her past comments and partisan affiliations.
Since the session is about to unfold now that pressure to hold it has significantly increased, particularly from Jewish groups across the political spectrum, Lipstadt is expected to be voted out of committee despite the pushback from the Republicans and to be confirmed through a full vote in the Senate as well.
Although the office was created in 2004, this would be the first time the special envoy post would carry the rank of ambassador.