Raelians Fly Swastika Over South New Jersey Beach

    June 26, 2012
    Richard Stalker
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Some people baffle me sometimes even though they have the best of intentions. This past weekend that exact thing took place off the coast of southern New Jersey. A group known as the International Raelian Movement flew a plane towing a banner with a swastika. This is part of their 3rd annual take back the swastika day. A day which they claim is to get rid of “Any negative emotions regarding the swastika by people under the age of 70 years old” and that any ill will to the symbol “are obviously linked to their education and not to their experiences.”

“It’s about time people were re-educated to understand the original meaning of the oldest and most recurrent symbol in the world.” This part, however well intentioned they are is absolutely true. The Swastika was not invented by the Nazi party in 1930’s Germany. The Swastika is found in nearly ever culture around the world and holds different meanings from good luck to harmony. Here is a little chart I found showing the swastika being used by different cultures around the world:


So like I said, this is well intentioned, but is highly insensitive to the suffering that was caused to many people alive today and many people whose family was murdered and persecuted by the Nazis. “They use the swastika in the traditional Eastern context, not the Nazi context,” Etzion Neuer, acting head of the Anti-Defamation League in New Jersey, said. “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.”

Some people complained to their rabbi that it practically ruined their weekend.“They may have good intentions, but the image is more powerful than good intentions at this point,” Don Pripstein, president of the Jewish Community Center of Long Beach Island, said. “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.

The International Raelian Movement is a group of people who believe that life on Earth was scientifically created by a species of extraterrestrials, which they call the Elohim. The group is estimated to have over 80,000 members world wide and is responsible for such things as Clonaid. The company that claimed they cloned a human back in 2002.

Here are some real time twitter reactions from some of the beach goers:

  • http://www.critical.be Be Critical

    The Raelians tried to get attention to their faux-religion in 2002 by grabbing headlines with the claim that they had cloned a human being. The effort to say the group cloned a human, and not a pair of adults who happened to be Raelians, was a deliberate attempt to get their religion discussed in mainstream media and increase their reach. This attempt with a Swastika is the exact same. It is an engineered PR stunt designed to attract headlines with the controversy grabbing display of a Swastika, while simultaneously distancing themselves from the image.

    Look at the design of the Swastika, it doesn’t say “take back the swastika,” it says “pro-Swastika.” Any rational human being seeing this would immediately be shocked at its implications. Of course, the Raelians then frame it as “oh you misunderstood us, we’re trying to reclaim the meaning of the Swastika.” This is not a genuine effort at reclaiming a symbol, but a deeply cynical, PR-engineered stunt designed to cause controversy, grab headlines, and get their faux-religion in the news again so that they can get more members.

    This road to hell was not paved with good intentions…

  • Davide

    I get their point. But just like the Confederate Battle flag you need to be aware of the broadest interpretation of the symbol and not be surprised by the reaction you get. The stars and bars was just that, a battle flag. Confederate soldiers fought bravely under it, it was not a sign of racial hatred but rather a rallying symbol until hate groups like the KKK used it as such.