Archive for the tag 'swastikas'

swastika

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.

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.”

Source: Gifter Photos via Twitter via Gothamist

Source: Gifter Photos via Twitter via Gothamist

If you went to Coney Island or Brighton Beach on Sunday afternoon, you might have noticed a plane tugging a banner with a swastika emblazoned on it that also read “peace + love proswastika.org.” According to a report by the Village Voice, the banner was flown by a religious sect known as the Raelians in an attempt to “rehabilitate” the swastika symbol.

As the plane soared over the beaches of Coney Island, Rockaway Beach and Long Island, people took to Twitter to post pictures and express disbelief over the bizarre message floating in the sky.

Erin Armo, a loyal Johnny Depp fan according to her Twitter page, was one of the stunned witnesses.

“At the beach a plane dragging a banner that says “swastika = peace + love proswastika.org ” just flew by…what the actual f,” Armo tweeted.

The Village Voice took on the task of answering Armo’s legitimate question:

Good question, young lady! We’ll tell you what the actual F. Sunday was the fourth annual “Swastika Rehabilitation Day,” according to ProSwastika, the site on the aforementioned banner. The gist of the “holiday,” if we can call it that, is that before the swastika was a Nazi symbol, it was a Sanskrit one, and it’s simply not fair to let the mean old Nazis appropriate the whole thing.

We’ll let the ProSwastikateers take it from here:

The word swastika is derived from the Sanskrit svastika (in Devanagari, स्वस्तिक), meaning any lucky or auspicious object, and in particular a mark made on persons and things to denote good luck. It is composed of su- (cognate with Greek ευ-, “eu-”), meaning “good, well,” and asti, a verbal abstract to the root as “to be”; svasti thus means “well-being.” The suffix -ka forms a diminutive, and svastika might thus be translated literally as “little thing associated with well-being”.The swastika symbol is one of the oldest symbols on the Earth and can be found in all religions and traditions, on all continents!

Despite the followers of Raelism supporting bizarre notions like clitoris rehabilitation centers in Burkina Faso, cloning humans and interactions with aliens at volcano parks, I wonder if they have a small point.

The Nazis were a group of pure evil and they appropriated a symbol, albeit a reversed one, from an otherwise peaceful origin. Should this symbol now stand for tyranny and evil for the rest of time? The answer is probably yes.

There is a reason that the sight of a swastika is hated and singled out and that is because as a society, we can’t forget how only a few generations ago, the madness of Nazism swept across Europe, nearly destroying it.

Last month, we reported on a reverse swastika drawn on a Courier-Life news box in Midwood, and while the assumption was that it was the work of a hateful punk it could have very well been a local Raelist or Buddhist. Either way, the confusion reflects naivety of the Raelists in their effort to “rehabilitate” the swastika. They should probably wait a few thousand years before pulling stunts like this again.

hate graffiti in midwood israel news

Photo via Israelnationalnews.com

A swastika was found in Midwood, scrawled on top of a Courier Life news box. Israel Nation News is reporting that they discovered the hate graffiti posted on Facebook by a concerned citizen but little action has been taken as of yet.

The swastika was discovered on the corner of Avenue J and East 14th Street. Israel National News was pretty annoyed at the lack of responses and outrage the image generated on Facebook:

A local Jewish resident, noticing the mark, snapped the photo and posted it on Facebook. But few people even bothered to comment.

One Facebook member wrote, “Those rascally Buddhists / Hindus. I hope.”  But a second writer responded, “Not in a Jewish neighborhood. More like Pakistani Muslims…” A commentator from Israel added, “What’s weird is the laid-back attitude that everyone is taking towards this.”

I personally am torn on this issue. I obviously believe that drawing swastikas anywhere, let alone a predominantly Jewish neighborhood, is wrong. Sometimes I feel that glorifying the hate crimes of bigoted punks does nothing but bring pleasure to the idiot who did it in the first place. On the other hand, bringing attention to the evil of the swastika is probably useful in educating young people who might not know better. Either way, it is bad and needs to stop – and someone ought to scrub that box clean.

How sick and stupid can people be? Sick and stupid enough to brave the elements of Hurricane Sandy just to paint swastikas around the neighborhood, apparently.

The one above was photographed by reader Alex P., on the side of Z Best Car Wash (2784 Coney Island Avenue).

Pathetic.

A swastika found in Gerritsen Beach last week (Source: GerritsenBeach.net)

A militant Jewish organization announced over the weekend that it will send “security teams” to Marine Park, calling for Jewish residents witnessing anti-Semitic acts of vandalism to “smash the neo-Nazis to pieces physically.”

The Jewish Defense Organization is deploying their patrols in Marine Park, Borough Park and other areas that were recently targeted by anti-Semitic vandals. The neighborhood has been plagued by hate-related graffiti, most recently in late June when a swastika was painted on a sidewalk near a Marine Park synagogue. Last week, swastikas were found on a bulkhead in nearby Gerritsen Beach.

Keep reading for the JDO’s full statement, and the NYPD’s response.

Source: GerritsenBeach.net

GerritsenBeach.net is reporting that swastikas and other hate-related graffiti were discovered along the bulkhead on Devon Avenue in Gerritsen Beach.

The site published photos of several versions of a swastika, including one with a circle around it and the word “Hail” scrolled above it.

It’s not the only graffiti on the bulkhead; the site describes it as a problematic area with vandals covering much of it in spray-paint, and, recently, a thief broke into several boats and stole supplies.

GerritsenBeach.net is calling for “neighbors and police [to] monitor and patrol this area.”

The following is a press release from the offices of Councilman Lew Fidler:

Council Member Lew Fidler along with Assembly Members Alan Maisel and Helene Weinstein expressed outrage and shock over the recent escalation of anti-Semitic vandalism and assaults in their Brooklyn communities.

The most recent incident occurred yesterday, when a swastika was discovered on the sidewalk adjacent to a synagogue in Marine Park. This follows numerous recent hate crimes, which include swastikas or anti-Semetic words that were discovered at several locations throughout Borough Park, Kensington and Williamsburg, and the beating of a an orthodox man as he returned from Shul last week in Sheephead Bay. While the group of thugs brutally beat their victim, they shouted “dirty Jew” and “Kike”.

“We must not tolerate this kind of hateful behavior in our neighborhoods.  I am pleased that the NYPD has agreed to our demand for increase patrols and thank Shomrim for stepping up their presence, as well.  It is imperative that the members of our communities feel safe, and we are going to both nip this in the bud and bring these thugs to justice. This recent rash of bias crimes is under investigation by the NYPD Hate Crimes Unit, and I am confident that, through the combined efforts of all involved, we will prevail. I have asked Brooklyn D.A. Charles Hynes to prosecute all responsible parties to the fullest extent of the law.” said Councilman Lew Fidler.

“Once again, we are confronted with the outrageous behavior of a hate-filled person who has no respect for our community or the tradition of tolerance that makes our country great. I am grateful to the NYC Police Department for quickly responding to this hateful incident and doing everything that they can to find those who are responsible,” stated Assemblyman Alan Maisel.

“I am appalled that a hateful act like this was committed just steps from Merkaz Yisroel of Marine Park, a cornerstone of this community. Vandalism like this is an insult to tolerance, a trait imbued by Merkaz Yisroel, founded in 1932 as the Marine Park Jewish Center. I call upon the District Attorney’s office to work with the NYPD and community in apprehending those responsible and use them as examples in order to deter others who wish to disrupt our peace and quality of life” said Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein upon hearing about the most recent incident.

The unified lawmakers are seeking assistance by asking anyone who may have information to please come forward and call the Confidential NYPD TIPS LINE at 1-800-577-TIPS.