Sunday, March 23, 2014

  • Sunday, March 23, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
A reader sent me this photo of a vest for sale, Sunday, at an H&M department store in Birmingham, England. I depicts a skull inside a Star of David.



She complained to the store manager, who didn't do anything. 

The H&M website for the United Kingdom did not have this shirt listed for sale.  


Sometimes the hexagram is used with a skull for showing occult-type symbols. I found (with some difficulty) this shirt for sale:


And I also found a skull inside a hexagram from inside a cemetery in Ireland:


But more often you will see this motif nowadays as an antisemitic theme:



It is fair to say that the image is highly offensive, and it seems disingenuous to think that any major Western clothing store would be blind to that fact. 

Perhaps someone can visit an H&M (especially in the UK) and ask a salesperson to look up on the computer the product information visible on the tag shown above. The description they give this shirt internally may shed light on whether this shirt was meant to be evocative of the Star of David or not.

(h/t O)

UPDATE: By coincidence, Eylon Aslan-Levy at Times of Israel blogs that he saw the same shirt in H&M in London on Sunday.

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reasonable person sees in this vest is a skull emblazoned over a Star of David – and that is why this item needs to be withdrawn from H&M stores immediately.

I doubt that there were anti-Semitic intentions on the part of the designer, but there is no escaping that the juxtaposition – no matter how accidental – of these two symbols is entirely inappropriate and offensive. The more I look at it, the more I am at a loss to explain how H&M commissioned or even approved this item. It is at minimum an extremely unfortunate oversight in the H&M department, which has displayed an egregious failure of cultural awareness and sensitivity. There is a long history of associating Jewish symbols with Satanic imagery, and this product inadvertently falls within this tradition.

H&M is so far refusing to withdraw this unpleasant item. Its customer services department assures me that it “did not mean to cause offence” and that it was certainly not the store’s intention to “represent a star with… religious connotations”: this assurance is entirely credible, and it would be a mistake to accuse H&M of anti-Semitism, but this design still has no place in British high street fashion, and the only appropriate response for H&M is to discontinue this item forthwith.
(h/t Lampshade Orange)

UPDATE 2: My reader shares the email she received in reply to her complaint:

Thank you for your e-mail regarding the vest we currently have on sale.

I appreciate your concerns regarding the image on this T-shirt and would like to assure you that it was not our intention to promote Anti-Semitic behaviour or to cause offense. Please accept my most sincere apologies that this has however caused offence.

I would like to assure you that we are taking this matter seriously. We have forwarded this query onto our marketing department and at present we await a response from them.

Please bear with us whilst we investigate this further for you.

We do have some items that will be exclusively online or sold in-store, we also have some sales that will be either for in-store or online.

We look forward to speaking with you soon.

UPDATE 3: The shirt was pulled.

A high-street fashion chain has withdrawn a line of T-shirts emblazoned with a skull at the centre of a large star of David.

H&M, which has 3,100 stores across 53 countries, confirmed that the men's T-shirt was removed on Monday morning in the wake of complaints from angry shoppers.

“The order has been stopped and the others have been pulled,” said a H&M spokeswoman.

“This was because of the feedback we received.”


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