Swastika Is Deemed ‘Universal’ Hate Symbol

The swastika now shows up so often as a generic symbol of hatred that the Anti-Defamation League, in its annual tally of hate crimes against Jews, will no longer automatically count its appearance as an act of anti-Semitism.

The swastika has morphed into a universal symbol of hate,” said Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish advocacy organization. “Today it’s used as an epithet against African-Americans, Hispanics and gays, as well as Jews, because it is a symbol which frightens.”

Observing the trend, he said that his group had decided it would examine reports of scrawled swastikas for contextual clues. If it appears Jews were not the target, the incident will not be included in the league’s annual audit of anti-Semitic hate crimes.

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This post was last updated: Mar. 17, 2015