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Swastika found carved in State Department elevator

The symbol has been removed, a spokeswoman said.
The U.S. Department of State on Jan. 6, 2020 in Washington, DC.
The State Department in Washington, D.C.Mark Wilson / Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — A swastika was found carved in an elevator at the State Department, the agency said Tuesday.

The swastika has been removed, and the incident is being investigated, Jalina Porter, a spokeswoman for the State Department, said at a news conference.

Porter said Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is Jewish, shared a message with all employees about the incident.

"As this painfully reminds us, anti-Semitism isn't a relic of the past," Blinken wrote in the email, a copy of which was obtained by NBC News. "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."

President Joe Biden weighed in on the incident in a tweet Tuesday night.

"Let me be clear: Anti-Semitism has no place in the State Department, in my Administration, or anywhere in the world. It’s up to all of us to give hate no safe harbor and stand up to bigotry wherever we find it," he wrote.

Israel's ambassador to the U.S. and the U.N., Gilad Erdan, said the incident was antisemitic vandalism and urged unity in a fight against antisemitism of any kind.

President Joe Biden signed a law this year addressing anti-Asian hate crimes, which have increased during the Covid-19 pandemic, but legislation addressing antisemitic crimes has yet to pass. Several bills about the issue have been introduced.

Andrea Mitchell contributed.