Group Tows Swastica Banner Behind Plane, For PEACE?

Posted on June 25, 2012

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New York (The Gaslamp Post) – A religious group which believes that mankind was created by extraterrestrials claimed responsibility for a stunt which they thought would promote peace.  Members of the International Raelian Movement kicked off their third annual “Swastika rehabilitation day” with a banner displaying a swastika, the notorious symbol of Nazi Germany.

The display, which covered airspace from Long Beach, New Jersey all the way to New York City stunned thousands.  Yes, this really happened.

The groups members claimed that they were trying to correct the history behind the iconic symbol, and restore it’s once positive meaning.

“Our objective in this annual “Swastika Rehabilitation Day” is to… rehabilitate  the image of this very ancient symbol which has, in recent decades, been equated  only with Hitler’s horrors, when in fact, the swastika has always meant  something very beautiful, peaceful and loving for billions of people all over  the world and still is by billions of people,” Ricky Roehr, a spokesman for the  North American Raelian Movement, wrote in a statement on the group’s website.

This statement was reinforced by acting head of the New Jersey’s Anti-Defamation League, Etzoin Neuer.  Neuer said that the group is in fact not racist and meant no harm, but their actions were a “misguided, but not malicious, act.”

Image of the actual banner flown over this past weekend. Image @coreykilgannon / via Twitter

“They use the swastika in the traditional Eastern context, not the Nazi context,” said Neuer. “But to us it’s incredibly insensitive because it’s dismissive of the pain it causes to the Jewish community. It’s an egocentric attitude, completely unconcerned about the way it’s viewed by others.”

Nonetheless, the display had seemingly ruined the day for many beachgoers, according to NJ.com, and as one would expect, members of the Jewish community were particularly affected.

“They may have good intentions, but the image is more powerful than good intentions at this point,” said Don Pripstein, president of the Jewish Community Center of Long Beach. “The image is so horrendous that no matter what their ultimate purpose is, it’s extremely negative. We still have people in this generation who lost parents or grandparents [in the Holocaust].”

Yeah…  maybe it was too soon.

But still, the religious group is sticking to its guns, if you will, over their mission to reinstate the symbol as one of that which means “peace and good luck”.

“Any negative emotions regarding the swastika by people under the age of 70 years old are obviously linked to their education and not to their experiences,” the statement read in part. “It’s about time people were re-educated to understand the original meaning of the oldest and most recurrent symbol in the world.”

Wow, huh?

(h/t:  Sacbee, NJ.com, Newyorkdailynews.com)