A group of 70 Jewish officials from the United States Department of State has urged the Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is also Jewish, to fire an “openly antisemitic” employee.
This is the second time this year that the Secretary of State has been called upon to fire Fritz Berggren, a Foreign Service officer at the State Department, who allegedly has a long history of posting antisemitism material online, including calling Jews a “brood of vipers” and “the founders of the original Anti-Christ religion.”
Mr Berggren’s posts allegedly also advocate a white supremacist ideology. They have included: “Europeans must reclaim their blood and faith”; “The revival of Christian nation-states is required for the advancement of Truth”; and “…the world cheers the elimination of White culture from whole regions of the earth” which “will not stop until White people stop it.”
The group of Jewish officials penned a letter to Secretary Blinken on 28th July, in which they said: “Unfortunately, there is an openly antisemitic Department employee who continues to have a home in our midst. Foreign Service Officer Fritz Berggren, currently stationed in Washington, regularly posts virulent antisemitic content on his personal website bloodandfaith.com. He has written that ‘Jewish ideas poison people,’ that ‘Jews think all non-Jews are made to serve them,’ and that ‘Satan led the Jews astray as they elevated their ‘traditions’ over the commandments of God,’ to give just a small selection of his abhorrent writings.”
Referring to the swastika that was carved into a wall in the State Department in July, the group said that while there is no evidence that Mr Berggren was responsible for the act, it stated that “his continued employment with seemingly no consequences sends a message of impunity that has undoubtedly contributed to the atmosphere in which someone would dare to do such a thing.”
The officials argued that Mr Berggren “must be held accountable as an employee spewing hate speech directed against Jews” and that “his continued employment is an affront to all of us and the values we share.” Alleging that the Foreign Service officer had been posting antisemitic content since 2017, the group said that “not only is his propagation of antisemitic ideas highly disturbing and offensive to Jewish and non-Jewish employees alike, but as Jewish employees, we feel his presence at the Department is threatening.” It added: “The connection between beliefs and his presence at the Department is threatening. The connection between beliefs and action sis [sic] real and has been proven time and again, and someone who spews such vile thoughts may soon act on them.”
The group acknowledged that “there may be HR processes underway” and that Secretary Blinken would not be able to share any progress that may have been made, but went on to state that it believed that the “only appropriate personnel action is his separation from the Department”. The group said: “No one who so openly and unabashedly promotes these ideas should have a home here, and we believe the Department’s own regulations give ample opportunity to make a case that would result in Berggren’s separation.”
Secretary Blinken responded to the group on 9th August, writing: “I want to assure you that the Department treats reports of alleged misconduct with the utmost seriousness.” Stating that he could not comment on specific cases “for privacy reasons”, the Secretary of State added that employees who displayed discriminatory actions could face disciplinary charges “up to and including separation when warranted.”
Mr Berggren, posting the full letter on his website, responded in a blog post on Tuesday that said: “I am heartened to know that I have Jewish readers — I truly hope that they, like Saul, come to know Jesus Christ as literally the Son of God. Saul, renamed Paul, converted and began preaching the message: Jesus is the Son of God! If even one Jew or Gentile is converted then it is well worth the trouble.”
In another blog post published today, titled “Prissy Girls and Diplomats”, Mr Berggren wrote: “I feel like I’m in junior high school again listening to prissy girls whining about the boy who said bad words…I’m the naughty-words boy. I say things that are ‘sexist, racist, homophobic, queerphobic, transphobic, intolerant, divisive, and antisemitic.’ The girls can’t believe someone like me exists. Their pony tails unravel, they stutter, their fancy shoes fall off. I’ve violated their high-minded moralities. ‘What is to be done!’ they shriek…Ugh. This generation owes an apology to the Puritans.”
He added: “Americans have to stop being afraid…One can sense the delicate change of tide in the country. We are finding our voice again. From military officers to policemen, atheists to Neo-pagans, Christians to Jews, homosexuals, teachers, doctors, and moms, Blacks, Hispanics, Whites…we are sick of being told what we can say and can’t say.”
In June, Secretary Blinken called for reforms of UNRWA textbooks including “taking steps to ensure the content of all educational materials currently taught in UNRWA-administered schools and summer camps is consistent with the values of human rights and tolerance and does not induce incitement.” He stated that UNRWA “disseminates antisemitic and anti-Israel material in its curricula,” and advised that the State Department would be “looking very, very carefully” at the processes UNRWA uses to deal with hateful educational materials.
Last month, The Chinese state news agency, Xinhua News, was condemned for posting an “antisemitic” cartoon of Secretary Blinken.