Earlier this week, in its annual tally of hate crimes against the Jews, the Anti-Defamation League announced it would no long consider the swastika as a symbol of anti-Semitism. “The swastika has morphed into a universal symbol of hate,” explained Abraham Foxman, national direction of the ADL. “Today it’s used as an epithet against African-Americans, Hispanics and gays, as well as Jews, because it is a symbol which frightens.”
The move by the ADL to classify the swastika as a “universal” symbol of hate will undoubtedly meet with a backlash. While the symbol continues to represent peaceful spirituality and existence for hundreds of millions of people outside of Western culture, proponents of “reclaiming” the swastika will hardly be impressed. The unsuccessful attempts to ban the swastika emblem in Europe met with fierce calls for the awareness and understanding of its alternative meanings, but due to the overwhelming effectiveness of the Nazis’ interpretation, a change in perceptions seems unlikely. As long as hatred will reside in the hearts of the ignorant and deluded, the perverted translation of the peaceful swastika will carry on with all its current vigour.
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