H&M Star of David Skull T-Shirt Shocks Shoppers (UPDATE)
A design on a shirt on a rack at retailer H&M’s clothing stores in London and Birmingham, UK, shocked shoppers at the weekend who were surprised to see what appeared to be an anti-Jewish image.
On Monday, blogger Elder of Ziyon posted photos of the shirts, which feature a Jewish Star of David with a skull in the middle, sent in from a blog reader in Birmingham. Meanwhile, Times of Israel blogger Eylon Aslan-Levy reported seeing a similar design for sale at H&M’s store in London.
Elder of Ziyon said the Birmingham shopper complained to the store manager, who refused to remove the item. EoZ also noted that the shirt was not available for purchase online.
In Times of Israel, Aslan-Levy wrote, “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.”
“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reasonable person sees in this vest is a skull emblazoned over a Star of David – and that is why this item needs to be withdrawn from H&M stores immediately.”
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of Jewish human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Algemeiner, “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?”
“If the company still ‘doesn’t get it’, it might be time to take our business elsewhere,” Cooper said.
H&M, formally called Hennes & Mauritz AB, is a Swedish-based clothing group with stores in 53 countries, employing some 116,000 people.
UPDATE: Following complaints from shoppers H&M announced that it would withdraw the T-shirts from its stores. The chain also apologized for any offense caused, the UK’s Jewish Chronicle reported.
“The order has been stopped and the others have been pulled,” said a H&M spokeswoman. “This was because of the feedback we received.”
“Please accept our most sincere apologies that this has caused offence,” the spokesperson said. “We understand the criticism and in response to this have decided to remove the T-shirt from all stores with immediate effect.”