US State Department
US State DepartmentiStock

Seventy-five members of Congress addressed a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken asking about the ongoing investigation into antisemitism in the State Department.

The inquiry was in response to multiple antisemitic incidents last year, including a swastika spray painted on a State Department elevator, a swastika carved in a Harry S. Truman Building elevator, a swastika painted on a window inside a secure area of the US Embassy in Bulgaria, and the revelation that US Foreign Service Officer Fritz Berggren ran an antisemitic blog.

An investigation looking into to antisemitism in the State Department was opened by Blinken in July 2021.

The letter was written by the lawmakers to express their “continued concern” over the incidents.

“We are grateful that immediately following these incidents one year ago, you clearly expressed that these egregious acts are not representative of the State Department or its values and called for an immediate investigation,” they wrote.

Noting that antisemitic incidents are on the rise in the United States and internationally, the letter requested an update from Blinken on the status of the investigation.

Speaking of the antisemitic acts that occurred last year, the letter said: “Together, these incidents appear to paint a troubling picture within the State Department.”

“We appreciate the steps taken immediately by you and President Biden following these incidents to make clear that antisemitism has no place in the State Department, in the Biden Administration, or anywhere in the world,” the lawmakers wrote.

“However, more can and must be done to protect the Jewish community, and other religious minorities, at the State Department. We understand and are grateful that an internal review of these incidents is underway. We urge you to continue to investigate and address any and all incidents of antisemitism and hate within the Department,” they added.

The letter pointed out that by law the State Department must report to Congress on the status of the investigation into the incidents, including recommendations for how the agency can improve its policies regarding discrimination.

"We call on you to report back to Congress on the status of your investigation into these incidents, and on the general existence of antisemitism within the State Department,” they said. “We also call on you to report on what your office plans to do to improve tolerance and non-discrimination, including working with organizations like the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to institute targeted training and promote better understanding. State Department employees are our representatives to the world. We must ensure that hate, in all forms, is not present within the Department.”