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StopAntisemitism.org Issues Statement on Swastika Symbolism

OUR STATEMENT ON SWASTIKA SYMBOLISM

While the swastika is an ancient symbol cherished by Hindus and other faiths for its positive connotations in their traditions, in Western culture it’s widely interpreted as a racist icon implying a hatred of minorities, mainly of Jewish descent but also Blacks, members of the LGBTQ community, and others.

Displaying the image in its form synonymous with Nazi Germany or normalizing it in any way is particularly disturbing and dangerous with the rise of antisemitism in the U.S. and globally. It sends a threatening message to the Jewish community and other minorities and undermines the memory of the Holocaust.

In the West, the swastika is widely understood to represent the systematic killing of six million Jews along with gypsies, homosexuals, and other minorities by Nazi Germany and their collaborators in WWII. That is precisely why it is used by hate groups today.

Jewish schools and houses of worship are commonly tagged with swastikas across the U.S. and around the world as acts of hate and hostility. Whether it is sprayed on synagogue walls, scribbled on gravestones, or celebrated in a tattoo or on a flag, the message is clear: Jews should fear for their lives. This is the only meaning of the swastika in Western civilization, from Pittsburgh to Paris to Warsaw.

Sanitizing the swastika in the West will lead to more hatred and violence and will signal to younger generations that the inhumane acts of the Nazis can be forgotten.

The latest online disputes about the meaning of the swastika symbol erupted over New York legislation (S.6648) aimed at compelling schools to teach students about hate symbols. StopAntisemitism.org supports the NY State Bill, as well as H.R. 943, the Never Again Education Act, which requires the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to develop and disseminate resources to improve awareness and understanding of the Holocaust and authorizes various Holocaust education program activities to engage prospective and current teachers and educational leaders.

StopAntisemitism.org has great respect for all faiths and their symbols. We maintain that whenever the swastika is displayed in the U.S. and the West unless, in the context of Asian beliefs and traditions, it unequivocally symbolizes hatred of Jews and minorities. The tsunami of support for acceptance of the swastika out of that setting is troubling. This hate symbol should never become a mainstream icon.