(NEW YORK) — New Jersey beachgoers used to seeing planes flying over the ocean with advertisements for bars and tattoo parlors did a double take last Saturday when they saw an aircraft pulling a giant swastika banner.
However, it wasn’t a neo-Nazi group responsible for the insignia that came to symbolize Adolf Hitler, the Third Reich and the Holocaust, but a religious cult known as the Raelians, who believe aliens created life on Earth.
The Raelians claim to want to restore the swastika to “a symbol of peace and good luck,” according to a spokesman for The International Raelian Movement, whose website features the swastika inside the Star of the David.
Regardless of their intent, Etzion Neuer, head of the New Jersey Anti-Defamation League, said the stunt was “insensitive and troubling.” Neuer added that his group received calls from people whose beach day was ruined by the swastika flyover.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Hope King, CNN
Ralph Ellis, Ben Wedeman and Michael Pearson, CNN
Sara Israelsen-Hartley, Deseret News
Jacqueline Howard, CNN