Shalom Life | March 31, 2014

H&M Incites Controversy Over Skull & Star of David Shirt

Shoppers at London and Birmingham H&M stores were shocked to find t-shirts depicting a seemingly anti-Jewish image

By: Daniel Koren

Published: March 25th, 2014 in News » World

Fashion observers and casual shockers alike in the U.K. were stupefied over the weekend when they arrived at H&M locations in London and Birmingham, finding tank tops that depicted a Star of David in black and white, inside of which was a menacing skull.

Kind of hard to mistake that, and makes you think that the creator of the shirt a) doesn't know what a Star of David is, b) didn't realize that merging a Jewish symbol and an evil-looking skull is offensive or c) is not a fan of Israel/Zionism and subconsciously drew it. I sincerely hope it's the former.

The shirt also had that tattered and worn look to it, making it look grimy and just plain dirty.

Blogger Elder of Ziyon first posted photos of the shirts, after a reader sent it to him from the store in Birmingham. At the same time, Times of Israel's Eylon Aslan-Levy saw a similar design in London.

“I doubt that there were anti-Semitic intentions on the part of the designer," wrote Aslan-Levy, "but there is no escaping that the juxtaposition – no matter how accidental – of these two symbols is entirely inappropriate and offensive.”

“But whatever the designer may have been thinking (and God knows what he was thinking!), what an ordinary, reasonable person sees in this vest is a skull emblazoned over a Star of David – and that is why this item needs to be withdrawn from H&M stores immediately.”

The Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center added, during an interview with the Algemeiner, that “While we may not know what the intentions of the designer might be, it is fair to also ask to those in the chain of command of this international company: Was there no one who upon seeing the shirt would have immediately understood what the negative impact of juxtaposing the skull and Magen David would be on an entire community?”

It's a bit of a valid argument.

H&M has since announced it will withdraw the shirts from its stores, and, as the UK's Jewish Chronicle reports, has apologized for the incident.

“The order has been stopped and the others have been pulled,” stated a spokeswoman for H&M. “This was because of the feedback we received.”

Don't think that second part was entirely necessary. Comes off as a bit begrudging.

“Please accept our most sincere apologies that this has caused offence,” she added. “We understand the criticism and in response to this have decided to remove the T-shirt from all stores with immediate effect.”

In any event, I, for one, am glad I stopped shopping there. The shirts don't really last past a wash or two anyways.

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