A group attempting to "rehabilitate" the swastika angered people across New York and New Jersey on Saturday after it paid for an airplane to fly a banner featuring the symbol over several beaches.
International Raelian Movement spokesperson Thomas Kaenzig told NBC 4 New York the swastika had been "hijacked by the Nazis," and if it was still upsetting to people, the group's mission wasn't complete. "As long as there are people still offended by it, it means we need to continue our work," he said.
Viewers called NBC 4 New York to voice their unhappiness over the banner, which featured a swastika inside of a Star of David, the message "swastika equals peace and love," and the website address proswastika.org. Councilman Mark Treyger of Brooklyn was among the outraged. "I am deeply offended and hurt," he said. "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."