The image of a swastika entangled with the Star of David flew over Manhattan, Long Beach, and the Jersey Shore this weekend—and the organization responsible attributes concern to a "misunderstanding." Police received several calls when the symbol, and the word "proswastika," were seen on a banner being pulled by a small plane. "We're trying to find out, what are their intentions?" said a spokesman for the Jewish Community Center of Long Beach. The plane was arranged by the North American Raelian Movement, part of a world organization whose members believe that life on Earth was created by extraterrestrials.
The banner is a centerpiece of the group's "Third Annual Swastika Rehabilitation Day," which "went about as well as you'd expect," notes the Gothamist. The organization's website points to the swastika's initial, pre-Nazi development as a spiritual symbol, and urges Jews to embrace it. We "are extremely sympathetic to the horrors suffered by the Jewish people," says an open letter in the blog to the head of the Long Beach Jewish Community Center. "The swastika has always meant something very beautiful, peaceful and loving for billions of people all over the world. If the Jewish people would not hide in terror in the presence of this symbol, but instead embrace its true meaning, the world would stand in awe of this act of love." No immediate word from the community center if that's going to happen anytime soon.