Swastika found inside ‘secure’ area of US embassy in Bulgaria

Discovery made a day after International Holocaust Memorial Day; symbol could only have been painted by someone with access to American diplomatic mission

Illustrative: A sticker with a swastika is seen in Anchorage, Alaska, on May 25, 2021. (Anchorage Police Department)
Illustrative: A sticker with a swastika is seen in Anchorage, Alaska, on May 25, 2021. (Anchorage Police Department)

A swastika painted on a window was discovered inside a “secure” area of the US embassy in Bulgaria, the Axios news site reported Sunday.

The Nazi symbol was painted in purple ink on a window shade in an area that can only be accessed by those who worked in the diplomatic mission. The discovery was made on January 28, the day after International Holocaust Memorial Day, the report said, citing a State Department cable reporting on the incident.

The discovery came just months after a swastika was found carved into an elevator at the United States State Department, near the office of the special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism.

“The department takes this matter extremely seriously,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price told Axios. “We unequivocally condemn any instances of hate or bias in the workplace, which this appears to be.”

“This is a repugnant symbol that stands for everything we as a department are standing against,” he said. “We are committed to doing everything possible to ensure the State Department, including our posts overseas, remain a welcoming, inclusive and bias-free workplace.”

The State Department was investigating the incident.

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price speaks during a briefing at the State Department in Washington, DC, on January 31, 2022. (Mandel Ngan/Pool via AP

After the first swastika was found at the State Department, US President Joe Biden vowed to crack down on antisemitism in his administration.

“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.”

The latest incident comes as Biden’s nominee for special envoy to combat and monitor antisemitism Deborah Lipstadt is undergoing a long-delayed confirmation process.

Lipstadt’s hearing had been delayed for months by Republicans, who were put off by her past comments and partisan affiliations. But pressure to hold the session, particularly from Jewish groups across the political spectrum, rose in recent weeks following the hostage standoff last month at a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, where a gunman held four worshipers hostage.

Despite the pushback from some Republicans, Lipstadt is expected to be voted out of committee in the coming days, given the Democratic majority. She is then expected to be confirmed through a full vote in the Senate as well.

The antisemitism monitor is responsible for reporting on antisemitism overseas and pressing governments to adopt measures to mitigate antisemitism.

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