Beach attendees were stunned over the weekend after a small plane flew a swastika banner over Long Beach Island, though it could be seen, according to the New York Post, from Manhattan and even the Jersey shore.
"Proswastika.org" was reportedly written on the banner, and the swastika symbol was depicted intertwined with the Star of David.
The Daily Mail gave an image of the symbol:
A group called the International Raelian Movement is claiming responsibility for the stunt, which they say is part of "swastika rehabilitation day," or making the swastika a positive symbol after World War II gave it a new meaning internationally.
The movement is often described as a "UFO cult," and reportedly believes that humans were created by advanced scientists known as the Elohim, symbolized by the swastika. They are, therefore, upset that what has historically been a symbol of peace and infinity now symbolizes war and antisemitism.
“We have rehabilitation day to explain the true meaning of the symbol,” Las Vegas-based organizer Thomas Kaenzig said. "The swastika is one of the best traces left by those who created us, and the attempt to bury it as a symbol of violence and hatred only gives credit to the horrible Nazi ideology."
New York residents remain skeptical, and the Jewish Community Center of Long Beach Island said it wants to know more about the group's intentions.
“It’s a gorgeous day . . . And some idiot is flying a swastika banner off the tail of his plane up and down Manhattan,” Miguelina Nunez tweeted.
"Society is disgusting," another commented after seeing the banner, while Jaime Lynn Fusco said: "At the beach today in NYC when a plane passes with a banner with a star of David and a SWASTIKA!!! I couldn't believe it, Lord help us!"
In a recent article on "swastika rehabilitation day," the Huffington Post included this video: