Assemblyman Looks To Ban Swastikas In The Sky After Weekend Beach Stunt


Photo by Jane Roitman

A Queens assemblyman has asked the Department of Consumer Affairs to look into regulating swastikas and other offensive ads from taking to the skies after beachgoers were shocked this weekend by the appearance of a swastika-towing plane flying over the sands.

The banner, shown above, was flown on Saturday by the International Raelian Movement, a quasi-religious organization that says they’ve cloned humans and they believe extraterrestrial scientists made life on Earth. The group flies the banner over New York City beaches annually to “rehabilitate” the image as a sign of peace and unity. Although it wasn’t intended to be anti-Semitic, locals were outraged that the passion-stirring icon would fly over one of the world’s largest communities of Holocaust survivors.

In addition to Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach and Coney Island, the banner toured over the Rockaway and Long Island beaches.

CBS reports on the effort to make sure the Raelians won’t be back next year:

Assemblyman Phil Goldfelder, D-Queens, told [reporter Alex]Silverman he is asking the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs to look at regulating swastikas in the sky and other offensive ads, which he thinks can be done without opening a constitutional can of worms. He’s also considering introducing legislation.

“There’s been a lot of precedent about regulation on signage in public places, and I think that we need to make sure we’re doing everything we can to protect our families,” Goldfelder said.

  • gary

    This gentlemen makes a great point, that everyone with some sense of morality and decency would be offended by the display that is pictured above. Treyger on the other hand, suggests that only Holocaust survivors should be sickeneed by such a display. Treyger is being a bigot, because, according to his logic, non-Holocaust survivors are either indifferent or supportive of this display.

  • bagels

    I don’t support the banner but i do support their right to fly it. Having said that, what does a ban on other “offensive ads” mean exactly? Who is to decide what is offensive and what is not?

  • Local Broker

    Who gets to decide what is offensive and what isnt?

  • FreedomRings

    Are we now banning any expression that is offensive? How dangerous. And we don’t need to guess exactly WHOM will decide what’s offensive. Nobody seems to believe in freedom anymore. As repulsive as this case is, banning it is far more repulsive. And dangerous.

  • Anonymous

    Fuck ANY kind of censorship.

  • winson

    great, what else are they going to ban, gay pride flags over mostly conservative areas, the cross in atheist neighborhoods, pro-abortion ads in religious areas, and the Jewish star over Palestinian neighborhoods? This is ridiculous, why are limiting people’s rights just because others don’t agree with them!

  • Challah Coaster

    Worry when you see a plane pulling a banner advertising Buchenwald Sleep Away Camp…

  • Lisanne!

    These people are well aware of the fact that the swastika causes extreme discomfort in many individuals because of its pervasive use by the Nazis during the 30s and 40s. It has come to represent all that is maliciously evil, and their sophomoric attempt to “rehabilitate” it is both immature and insensitive to the extreme. But I doubt that it would be legal to prohibit its use. It might be possible to prosecute individuals on a nuisance charge on the grounds that the behavior of imposing the viewing of this object was a disruption of people’s sense of safety and security. If this could happen I’d mandate that the leaders of this International Raelian Movement meet with holocaust survivors and scholars who can explain to them why their actions are so horribly wrong. It seems that the lessons we learned from what happened during the Nazi regime are being forgotten. We need to educate, rather than pursuing policies that will be misread as acts of oppressing free speech.

  • L

    DCA has no jurisdiction. It’s entirely the FAA’s authority to regulate aviation, irrelevant of any ban on signage by DCA 500′ below the aircraft. FAA doesn’t and shouldn’t have any policy in place relating to the content of a banner in tow, only policies related to the fact that the aircraft and pilot are properly licensed and rate to tow a banner.

  • BayResident

    I’m with the majority here. I’m Jewish, I come from a family who had relatives perish at the hands of the Nazis, and when this flew over Brighton Beach I had the unfortunate task of having to calm a family member in tears whose father was killed by soldiers wearing this very symbol on their uniforms. And yet I still can’t find any possible justification for banning a symbol or any other form of speech for any reason, much less when it is being used with arguably good (albeit quite misguided) intentions.

    The “constitutional can of worms” Mr. Goldfelder is referring to here means quite a bit to some of us, no matter how much we may be repulsed by a group of psychos who think its a good idea to fly a swastika over Brighton Beach despite being told year after year of the terrible impact that they have on the community.

    So let me say this, I hope that the Raelians get sucked up into the spaceships of their creators and get probed in every hole that is probe-able, but until that happens I will never support a ban on their speech.

    • Effin Really?

      I agree with you Bay resident. And, incredibly, Nick The Rat too. Banning it is a Nazi thing to do. Back in the 80’s I had a real US bomber jacket from WWII. On the back, at the bottom were 4 or 5 swastika. I wore it to the mall one day and caught all kinds of flack for it, people calling me disgusting and other things but the fact was, it was a USA jacket and those swastikas represented shoot downs for a brave airman who had fought to end Nazism. But I couldn’t seem to get that through to anyone, all they saw was that symbol of hate. I believe that they also appeared painted on American warplanes to signify the same thing, our victory over them. It’s all about context. This misguided group isn’t spewing hate.

  • Supporter of Lefh Handed Rule

    Goldfeder is simply grandstanding. He is well aware that this inane and cruel act by the UFO people is constitutionally protected speech. Treyger just took it one step further with his unique distinction on behalf of Holocaust survivors. Phooey on both of them.

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  • Nick the Rat

    Why not ban FANTA soda or IBM while you are at it? This is stupid. It will be tossed out so fast… this is just to get some sad jewish people votes.

  • Nick the Rat

    I think im going to photoshop all the politicians going against these crazy people into nazi uniforms. limiting freedom of speech is the nazi way!

    • Jimmy

      Would be interesting to run a lie detector test on Treyger and his Russian constituents to see if they support Putin and their Russian friends downing a conmercial flight, MH17. We need a group to protest against the terrorist Bay People.

      • Nick the Rat

        There was no smoke trail behind that plane. I do not think it was shot down by a missile. I like Putin more than Obama. He is a more manly, strong liar. Obama’s a big pussy liar.

  • doobieman

    Val, Putin is a KGB thug that has turned Russia into a fascist, nationalist, corrupt, homophobic, Arab supporting, cesspool of a country. and if any of you Russians think otherwise why don’t you back your bags & go back.

    • Nick the Rat

      Putin is not anti gay. If you are so easily brainwashed by american propaganda, you shouldn’t read the news.