FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 12, 2014
In a startling display of insensitivity, a group attempting to “rehabilitate” the swastika flew an aircraft under visual flight rules across Nassau County’s South Shore during Shabbat seeking to rally supporters to their “cause.” The International Raelian Movement has continued to operate its “swastika rehabilitation” program since 2012, picturing a swastika, the symbol of Hitler’s Third Reich, as well as a peace sign, a heart and the movement’s website address. Newsday documented the story with a picture of the offensive aircraft’s banner earlier today.
“Flying a swastika – a true symbol of hate and intolerance – over one of the most heavily populated Jewish areas in the United States is offensive. The Raelians’ misguided attempt at erasing the symbol’s use as the emblem of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich is not only egregious but extremely insensitive,” said Bruce Blakeman, Republican-Conservative nominee for Congress in New York’s Fourth Congressional District.
“The FAA must take action to ensure the swastika no longer flies above Long Island or anywhere else. The FAA and Air Traffic Control’s constant barrage of noisy, low-flying aircraft taking off from and landing at our airports without relief already outrages many homeowners. Some of these planes now carrying a symbol of hate just goes too far,” Blakeman added.
“Many of our neighbors are the children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors. A pilot brazenly flying over our communities with this symbol of hateful connotations is extremely disturbing and offensive. The FAA must probe this aircraft, who operated it and why they were allowed to incite our community that has a large Jewish population,” Blakeman said.
The Federal Aviation Administration has sole jurisdiction to regulate airspace.
The swastika, referred to as the “race emblem of Germanism” (Source: Das Buch der deutschen Sinnzeichen, 1941, p47) was described by Hitler in Mein Kampf as “the mission of the struggle for the victory of the Aryan man.” (Source: Mein Kampf, 1925)
Other elected officials and community leaders joined Blakeman, one of the few Jewish Republicans seeking a seat in Congress, in denouncing this hate stunt.
Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray said “I am offended and disgusted at this type of hate speech. It has no place in our town or anywhere else for that matter.”
Nassau Legislator Howard J. Kopel, the Majority Whip of the county’s legislative body, also denounced the swastika’s appearance over Long Island, saying “While many residents in my district were celebrating Shabbos with their families and loved ones, this plane and its banner of hate was flying just miles away. It’s repulsive and shocks the conscience.”
Avi Fertig, Republican-Conservative nominee for New York State’s 20th Assembly District, also echoed Blakeman’s statement saying that “Anti-Semitism and prejudice in every corner must be eradicated. Hate has no place in or over our community.”
Since the end of World War II, the swastika remains largely associated with Nazism and white supremacy. Nations such as Germany and Austria have banned the use of the image, punishable by imprisonment of up to three years or a fine. (Source: Deutschland Strafgesetzbuch (Criminal Code), §86a)
Earlier this year, a New York City licensed cab driver had his operator’s license suspended by the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission for “acts against the best interest of the public” and barred him from getting behind a cab’s wheel…for wearing a swastika armband while working.