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Officials: Group won’t fly swastika banner over South Shore

Rabbi Eli Goodman of Chabad of the Beaches,

Rabbi Eli Goodman of Chabad of the Beaches, center, with Sen. Todd Kaminsky to his right, and other religious leaders and officials, protests the flying of swastikas over South Shore beaches on Friday, June 24, 2016. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

A group that has flown swastika banners behind airplanes over South Shore beaches has canceled plans to do the same this weekend.

At a news conference in Long Beach on Friday, state Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) said the group had planned to defy his call to ban the flights.

Kaminsky said he anticipated the flights along the shoreline would resume Saturday to mark something called International Swastika Redemption Day. For the past three years, such flights have taken place off Long Island.

“You don’t know the pain, shock and horror these past flights have caused families whose day on the beach was marred when they had to see this symbol of hate flown back and forth,” Kaminsky said.

He was joined at the boardwalk news conference by Long Beach city officials and rabbis.

Organizers with the so-called Raelian Movement — which, among other things, believes in UFO visits to Earth — said they were canceling flights after facing pressure by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Raelian Movement spokesman Thomas Kaenzig said pilots were pressured not to fly the banner. Other flights are planned this weekend in Atlanta and Las Vegas, he said.

Those who attended the news conference said the swastika is a symbol of hate and genocide.

“These people who are trying to redefine the reality of what this is don’t represent our values in this community or Long Island,” said Rabbi Jay Rosenbaum of Temple Israel of Lawrence.

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