Daily Israel Report

Cult Flies Jewish Star, Swastika Over Major Cities

Raelians, who preach that Nazi symbol promotes 'peace,' at center of controversy over unusual banner.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 7/14/2014, 5:14 PM

Swastika (illustrative)
Swastika (illustrative)
Flash 90

A swastika and a Jewish star on the same banner is usually a sign of anti-Semitism. 

However, one cult group who flew banners bearing both claim that the juxtaposition is a symbol of peace. 

Beachgoers in New York and New Jersey were startled to see banners bearing the two symbols, along with the traditional "peace sign" and an advertisement for "pro-swastika.org." 

The International Raelian Movement was behind the banners, according to the the group’s spokesperson, Thomas Kaenzig. 

Kaenzig told NBC 4 that they believed the swastika had been "hijacked by the Nazis." 

“As long there are people still offended by it, it means we need to continue our work, we need to continue to rehabilitate the symbol," Kaenzig said.

The Raelian movement, founded in 1974, believes that the universe was created by extraterrestrials, who sent messages through the Bible. Much of their doctrine is based as well on the controversial combination of the swastika - which was used by Nazi Germany as a symbol of hate - and the Jewish star. Together, they can be mistaken not for a "symbol of peace," as they claim, but for anti-Israel propaganda. 

Several residents stated they were offended by the banners. 

"I am deeply offended and hurt,” said Councilman Mark Treyger of Brooklyn. “Try explaining to someone who witnessed their loved ones who were butchered by people under that Nazi symbol that it's anything but a hateful one."

"I will not accept their twisted logic," he continued. "And I am also going to speak out against sending chilling messages of fear and intimidation to residents."