Daily Israel Report

'Swastika Rehabilitation Day' Not Anti-Semitic?

Advisory to law enforcement groups has been issued regarding display of swastikas in public areas this weekend by a fringe religious sect.
By Rina Tzvi
First Publish: 7/21/2013, 8:40 AM

Swastikas (file)
Swastikas (file)
Flash 90

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has issued an informational advisory to law enforcement and Jewish communal groups concerning the display of swastikas in parks and other public areas this weekend by a fringe religious sect known as Raelian.

The advisory, according to a press released, makes clear that the sect poses no known security threat, and has no apparent anti-Semitic intent in displaying the infamous Nazi symbol.

The Raelian Movement’s “Swastika Rehabilitation Day” will take place July 20 with events scheduled in Boston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Pittsburgh, San Antonio and San Francisco.  In New York City, the group plans to fly the swastika overhead from a banner attached to an airplane.

“In past years we have received reports from people who were offended or even alarmed at this group’s displaying swastikas in public settings,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor.  “While we wish the Raelians would understand why this Nazi symbol is so fraught with pain and so disturbing to many people -- especially Jews -- they have a right to free speech and expression and there is no anti-Semitic intent so far as we know.” 

A small religious movement based primarily in Western Europe, with some adherents in North America, the Raelian Movement’s logo consists of a Star of David intertwined with a swastika.  Although people often report sightings of the Raelian logo as a hate symbol, the Raelians use the swastika not in its Nazi context but in its East Asian context as a symbol of good fortune. 

The movement does not have a history of violence and is not motivated by anti-Semitic or racist ideology, according to the ADL.