swastika

A fringe religious group that believes extraterrestrial scientists created life on Earth is today flying a large swastika banner over Brighton Beach and Coney Island, outraging residents in one of the world’s largest communities of Holocaust survivors.

The plane was spotted by beachgoers flying between Coney Island Avenue and Brighton 15th Street around noon. With a symbol of a Star of David interlaced with the swastika, and a message that reads “卐 + ☮ = ❤ Proswastika.org,” the banner is commissioned annually by the International Raelian Movement in an attempt to “rehabilitate” the symbol to it’s pre-Nazi-era meaning of peace. It flew over the beach in previous years, sparking headlines - and outbursts from upset residents.

This year is no different.

“A plane was flying with this sign over the beach today, not once but twice it went past  the beach. Beaches filled with families and children. This is an inhumane action and must be stopped,” wrote tipster Jane Roitman, who sent in the photo above.

Another tipster called in to say that the group is being beyond insensitive, given the area’s dense population of Holocaust survivors and the current inflamed tensions between Israel and Palestine.

“I was dumbfounded by it. My grandparents are Holocaust survivors, and everyone [in Brighton Beach] knows someone whose family was affected by the Holocaust,” said Loren Azimov. “The timing could not be worse with everything going on in Israel and Palestine; it’s as bad as it has ever been.”

Azimov said there are other ways to try to rehabilitate the symbol without being so offensive, and that he’d like to see either the banner grounded.

“The First Amendment is not an acceptable reason [to let it fly.] What if it was rehabilitation of slavery? People would be up in arms,” Azimov said, adding that he’d like to see pressure on the company the organization chartered to refuse them access to the skies in the future.

It wouldn’t be the first company to decline the Raelian’s business. The group sought an expanded international campaign for what they’re calling Swastika Rehabilitation Week this year. When they approached a major Canadian billboard company, they were turned away.

“The company representative said many people would see our ad as offensive and inflammatory, so they wouldn’t post it,” said Thomas Kaenzig in a press release. Kaenzig is a planetary guide, the title for a top-ranking clergymember. “So this poses a real catch 22. How can the world be reeducated about the truth of this symbol if we can’t get the word out to show people?”

Azimov has been calling elected officials and government agencies, but to no avail. One prominent leader in Brighton Beach’s Russian-Jewish community told him that he should “consider writing a letter to the leadership of this org and kindly express compelling reasons not to fly this in our area.”

The Raelians may not be so receptive to Azimov’s rationale. Aside from brushing off similar complaints in previous years, the group appears to have a tenuous grasp on reality.

Raelism dates back to the 1970s and is the world’s largest UFO religion, believing that space scientists created life and have been popping in for visits throughout human history (with increased frequency in recent years, as evidenced through all the UFO sightings in the past century). Buddha, Jesus and other religious figures are all believed by the group to be messengers of the extraterrestrials. The group is attempting to build an interplanetary embassy to welcome extraterrestrials, and have been denied land in Israel because of their prominent use of the swastika.

The group also operates Clonaid, a company developing human cloning. The company claimed to have cloned the first human in 2002. There was no evidence that the claim was anything more than a publicity stunt, and the group has since been derided as cult led by a sex-crazed leader.

UPDATE (3:28 p.m.): Councilman Mark Treyger, who represents Coney Island and part of Brighton Beach, and is also the grandson of Holocaust survivors, called Sheepshead Bites to express his outrage.

“It isabsolutely disgusting and an egregious act of hate and intolerance. Whatever this hate group is, it’s an unacceptable act. I’ve asked the police department to investigate how this happened and how it came to be,” he said.

Treyger said he’s received numerous calls from constituents offended by the banner. He has also reached out to the mayor’s office and the City Council speaker’s office, which he said were receptive to the concerns. He said authorities are trying to determine if the plane and advertising campaign are in violation of any laws, and are also attempting to identify the company chartered to fly the banner.

The local pol said the group’s attempt to restore the symbol as one of peace and unity has little chance of success, and the group should stop its “outrageous” approach.

“Try asking someone who witnessed their loved ones murdered under that symbol if they’ll view that symbol as anything but murder and pain,” he said. “There’s no place for this here in this country.”

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  • Nursie

    They would NEVER get away with it if it had Muslim or Quran stuff flying..

    • David Cole

      It is illegal to contradict any event other than the Holocaust?

    • Sabrina

      lady there’s plenty of shit like that around, its just not in skywriting and yes people have gotten away with it because they used freedom of speech as an excuse

  • Zeezus

    free speech is a somebetch.

  • zerophalanx

    “The First Amendment is not an acceptable reason.”

    Eternal rallying cry of the person who wants to censor speech they find objectionable.

    The First Amendment exists to protect controversial speech like this. If it doesn’t protect speech people dislike, what reason does it have to exist?

    • MyBrooklyn

      Ok fine let them express their stupidity but why would they include Star of David in that banner….

      • Gregg Leventhal

        Because these pieces of attention seeking garbage have no other intention than to get the headlines they are getting. The false pretense of reviving the symbol to its former meaning is dishonest and pathetic. This is like insolent children acting out for attention. This, to me, is basically the same as that Westboro Church trash.

  • Kc

    Your 1st amendment right is only applicable to censorship by the government. A private company is allowed to display any message they want as long as it’s reasonable under the various 1st amendment standards. However I’m sure the FAA which regulates all flights has to have some sort of rule against hate speech aerial banners. Shame on the company that accepted money from these psychos.

    • Alex C

      I really don’t see the “hate” part in their message.

      • Shimon

        The fact is that we should be focused on the holocaust going on against White people from all over the world. The holocaust of the unborn. I doubt that Jane has three children on her 140000 salary. I am sure that you Alex would do a fine job making half that money. I would pay you 70000 if you would promise to have a wife and three children on that salary. I will take Jane’s salary and eight will be enough.

  • JUDY316

    They should have shot the plane down!!!!

  • http://www.screwedontheboardwalk.com/ Allan Shweky

    Great piece of reporting, Ned.

  • Arthur Borko

    You know what we really need to take back? Porch Monkey….yea….that’s a phrase we need to take back “for the people”.

    (I really hope everyone gets the movie reference here….)

  • Bobster

    The FAA has no rule against hate speech and banner towing. It would be government action on speech, thus a violation of the First Amendment.

  • Pro-svastika

    Meanwhile, symbols of the crucifixion of a Jesus Christ, a Jew, everywhere are fine and dandy. Get a clue, Sheeps!

    • Gregg Leventhal

      What point are you trying to make? That Jews shouldn’t be offended by the joining of a symbol usually associated with Nazis and their own religious symbol because the Catholic symbol, the crucifix is commonly seen? Your ‘logic’ isn’t logical.

  • Mark

    how can you even compare this to slavery?

    • Jimmy

      Treyger should be impeached for his insensitive comments. To suggest that only Holocaust survivors would find that banner offensive is appaling. Both Jews and Gentiles alike may take offense to such a banner being flown. Moreover, if this group were to fly this banner in a half century from now it would be in no way any less offensive, even though the survivors would have died out by then. Where did they find this goofball.

      • Bobby

        In one of his tweets, Treyger says that 11 million people were killed under this banner, more than half of these people were Jewish and had suffered a great deal. However, close to 100% of Treyger’s holocaust survivor constituents are Jewish. It is appaling for him to suggest that only these Jewish survivors should be offended. Treyger seems to condone the violence that Hitler perpetrated against the Gentiles, who represented over 40% of Hitler’s victims. If you were a Gypsy or a Catholic you were as likely to be one of Hitler’s victims. It’s in one of Treyger’s own tweets, 11 million and not. 6. Impeach Treyger for his ignorance and intolerance toward the other 5 million of Hitler’s victims and their families.

  • Andrew Kent

    The public and the media are being played for suckers by yet another publicity-seeking cult. Cults thrive on controversy and public outrage and use their claimed victimization to motivate their adherents and to recruit new members. While they wouldn’t be the first “religion” with a science fiction-based theology, or, for that matter, to use sex as a recruitment tool (Google “flirty fishing”), claiming an otherwise righteous entitlement to history’s most reviled symbol is a novel application of the persecution card that, for reasons unrelated to their theology and evangelizing to horny geeks, continues to ensure their annual day in the sun.

    • Gregg Leventhal

      I completely agree. This is like Scientology meets the Westboro Homophobes.

  • Nick the Rat

    Why is everyone getting mad over a Buddhist symbol? I guess coney island is filled with ignorant people. THE NAZI SYMBOL WAS SLANTED. “OMG, IM SO DUMB, I DONT KNOW WHAT IM LOOKING AT . IM SO MAD. RAGE. SOMEONE GIVE ME MONEY!”

    • Jimmy

      Because the Russians are the ignorant apes. Why get upset by a Hinduism and Buddhist symbol? I think that it is shameful to compare the Nazi atrocities to what is going on in Israel. The truth of the matter is that Treyger, who is a nut job, just like the Raelians is trying to exploit tbis situation to promote his Russians, who are good for nothing leeches.

    • Bobby

      The Russians are blowing this out of proportion. Arthur`s Clerks II reference is certainly poignant. The swastika has no connection to Palestine.

    • FRPndr

      Hey Rat- Really? The Buddhists used a swastika embedded in a Jewish Star of David? Who are you trying to fool? The group is flying it over the largest Jewish population they could find. They are doing it to incite and get publicity and THEY are the ones making the connection with the Nazi party. Rat, you know this, but you are a buffoon. And not a smart one at that.

      • Shimon

        These residents are Russian Jews. Hardly any Russian Jews were victims of the Holocaust. In fact, over half of Hitler’s Jewish victims were of Polish descent, over 3 million of them to be exact. Less than a. half million Russian Jews were killed in concentration camps. Yet, Treyger being a Russian, does not care about the other 5 and a. half million Jewish victims.

    • Shimon

      Do some research and you will see that these two Russian morons make over six figures. Roitman makes over 140,000 dollars a year, working for SantisAventis with just a Pace bachelor’s degree. This scumbag talks about families. Her child is dumber than most children, who go to Amity. While she and her Jefferson Darcy househusband create one Russian scum. The people at Amity have more than a handfull of kids. Russian women are a sin against G-d. They have a sisterhood of Marcy Darcy’s, who have househusbands. Most of these women are Jewish. It is this kind of reckless behavior that has served as an example to all White women. They are evil Mr. Potato Head looking scum. They are not pro family. When they see the White population dwindle down, they will move to another country. I hope that scum like Jane enjoy their money.Shame on you for wanting to make more than your husband.

    • Gregg Leventhal

      Who is asking for money? The banner has the logo “Pro Swastika” written right on it. Also, your argument is dishonest.. if you showed this symbol to every person in the world, you are going to get many more people relating it to the Nazis than anything else. Maybe you should look in the mirror before trying to criticize those who are offended by this as being ignorant.

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  • Nick the Rat

    Councilman Mark Treyger is a twat

    • Jacob

      Treyger is exploting this situation just like the Russians exploited the mosque construction. Most of the opposition was Russian.

      • Nick the Rat

        who voted this guy in? lol

        • Jacob

          Lol, he looks like the fourth of July Nathan’s hot dog eating contest organizer. He has two master’s degrees from Brooklyn College, which he should use as toilet paper.

    • Nick the Rat

      Mark Treyger ‏tweets
      @nicktherat This coming from someone named rat?

      LOL i laughed, good one Mark ;)

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  • Alex

    People are so f*cking sensitive lately!!
    GOD FORBID somebody get offended or discriminated against. END OF THE WORLD!!

    • MyBrooklyn

      I don’t understand why would they include Star of David….if they want to express their stupidity fine but remove Star of David

      • Anonymous

        It’s only star. Y u heff 2 b mad?

      • A

        From the FAQ on their website: http://www.rael.org/faq

        What’s with the Swastika?

        The star of David represents infinity in space whereas the swastika represents infinity in time i.e. there being no beginning, no end in time and everything being cyclical.

        • End of Women

          There is nothing wrong with cloning, since mind transfer is impossible. You let everyone with an under 110 IQ die out. Since there will be no need for sex, there will be no need for women. Only men will be cloned. Women are a man’s vice.

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  • winson

    Nothing wrong or illegal with what this group is doing. All they want is
    to let you know the truth and put the swastika symbol back to its
    original meaning. Deal with it!

    • Jimmy

      Do not forget that Treyger is a bigot against non-Jews. In no way is the swastika. an antisemitic symbol. 5 million non-Jews were killed during the holocaust. Moreover, Treyger is a Russian Jew, for whom many Russian gentiles died during World War II, trying to save his miserable behind. It is the Polish Jewish community, who should have a greivance against the Raelians, considering that they had lost 3 million Jews during the holocaust. Treyger, justike Rael, is trying to grab some attention for his scum Russians. Shame on you punk, you Commie shatbag.

  • Gary

    Look Mark Treyger may have used politically incorrect language to describe the symbolism behind the use of the swastika. However, many people have been tried and convicted for hate crimes against the Jewish people by using the swastika. If the Gypsies or the faggots want to adopt the swastika as a symbol of hatred toward themselves, then they should be more than welcome to do so. Keep up the good work Mark. Nice to see that there are a whole heck of a lot of hood wearing, KKK loving types still around in Sheepshead Bay.

  • Supporter of Left Handed Rule

    The Councilman needs to attend a class in American Constitutional law, rather than rely on Soviet-style censorship and tactics like calling for a police investigation of these Flying Saucer wackos. (Besides, the only Flying Saucers I like come from the mind of the late, great, Tom Carvel).

  • Anonymous

    That is not the nazi Swastika, it is a Sanskrit letter that means ‘being good.’ Hitler took this ancient symbol, rotated it, and used it as his emblem. In India, it is still used as a symbol of goodness and religion.

  • Local Broker

    They should really get a big flag and walk it on the beach. That way they can get up close and personal with the community.

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  • Mrs. Ryan

    But yet…no outrage for the recent skywriting message above Maimonides Hospital, advertising the medical services of “1-800-MENGELE”.

    Interesting…

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