NY store to stop selling Swastika earrings after controversy

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Swastika
New York, Jan 14: A New York store will have to stop selling 'Swastika' earrings after it was told by city politicians that keeping the jewellery items amounted to ''anti-semitism'', even though the owner stressed they were not the Nazi sign but the ancient Indian religious symbol.

New York City Councilman Steve Levin visited the store in Brooklyn on Wednesday and met with its owner Young Sook Kim, who agreed to remove them from the shelves.

A day earlier, politicians and advocates told FoxNews.com that the earrings were the latest example of anti-Semitism in New York and New Jersey with Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer demanding that they be removed from the store immediately.

Equating selling the earrings with a "hate crime", Stringer said in a statement: "Let me be clear – a swastika is not a fashion statement. It is the most hateful symbol in our culture, and an insult to any civilised person".

He said owners of the store saw no reason as to why the sale of Swastika earrings would be offensive, which is "unbelievably poor judgement and shocking to the sensibilities of all New Yorkers".

However the store's manager said the Swastika in the USD 5.99 earrings is not the symbol popularised by Nazi Germany but the ancient Indian religious sign used in Hindu and Buddhist cultures.

"It's not a Nazi symbol," Kim told FoxNews.com. "I don't know what's the problem. My earrings are coming from India as a Buddhist symbol," she said.

The Swastika is an equilateral cross with arms bent at right angles. It was also used by Native Americans long before it was adopted by Adolf Hitler. The store has received no complaints about the earrings.

The Foxnews report quoted Ken Stern, director of the American Jewish Committee's division on anti-Semitism and extremism, as saying that many shoppers in Brooklyn would find the Swastika earrings offensive, particularly in such a diverse community.

"It's a symbol associated with the death of six million people," he said.

"You'd hope (the owner) would have the sensibility not to sell them. She has the right to do it, but I don't think it's a very sensitive thing. If I were running the shop, I would choose not to sell them".

Stringer equated the earrings with other anti-Semitic incidents in Manhattan and Brooklyn dating back to October, when two anti-Semitic letters were sent to the Jewish Theological Seminary in Manhattan.

PTI

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