AFGE is joining State Department employees and members of Congress in calling on the State Department to take action against instances of antisemitism at the agency, including a Foreign Service Officer who has been espousing hatred on members of the Jewish, LGBTQ+ communities, and people of color online for years.
Besides the Foreign Service Officer who has also been calling for the establishment of Christian nation-states, a swastika was found in an elevator at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. Another swastika was found on a window shade at the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria.
“Antisemitism, hatred, and discrimination cannot be tolerated in the workplace, and the federal government has a special obligation to take a strong stand against such toxic and unacceptable workplace behavior as the nation’s model employer,” AFGE President Everett Kelley said. “But it is not enough merely to condemn antisemitism. Officials must go beyond words and take decisive action to root out this behavior and ensure all federal employees are able to serve their country in a safe, welcoming workplace where they are treated with dignity and respect without regard to individual difference.”
AFGE Local 1534, which represents employees at the State Department, sent a letter to the agency in August calling for an immediate removal of the Foreign Service Officer from State Department premises and an investigation into the matter. A group of more than 70 State Department employees has also sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling for the officer’s removal, saying his “continued employment is an affront to all of us and the values we share.”
“The union believes this person presents a clear and present danger to our employees. We have all seen on the news how members of the Jewish faith, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ+ have been murdered at work and on the streets by the fanatics holding radical views,” Local 1534 First Vice President Chris Barnes said in the letter. “There is no excuse for the department to allow this man to continue to pose a threat to our employees domestically or overseas.”
AFGE is joining a group of members of Congress who’s pressing the department for an update on its investigation on the issue.
“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.”