The hot new summer style: Israel Bashing
For those who wish to think that there will always be a safe Jew-friendly alternative to living in Israel in the form of America, perhaps you would be interested in what was slated to hit clothing store racks this season. Clothing supplier Urban Outfitters was, until caving to a slew of angry complaints, carrying a t-shirt from graphic designer FreshJive of palestinian youths wearing Arafat style scarfs, armed with machine guns and boasting the line “Victimized” (because an individual armed with an assault rifle is ever the classic image of a victim). The shirt also featured a few other images including a palestinian flag. Not only is this hot little number machine washable but it sells for the cool price of $9.99!
As disgusting as this propaganda cloaked in the guise of fashion may be, it's not even the first time Urban Outfitters has made such a move. They have previously marketed scarves akin to the arab neck-piece made famous by Yassar Arafat, grandfather of the modern terrorist movement (may his name be wiped out), as has been pointed out by Little Green Footballs.
While I was in college Urban Outfitters was known as a pretty trendy and popular store on my campus. This glorification of terrorism via t-shirts has precedent with the “Che Guevara” t-shirt featuring the face of said communist thug made popular by Rage Against the Machine. Historically ignorant youth all over America rushed out to stores to buy one and thus turned Che into an anti-hero icon of the modern day want-to-be counterculture that American junior high through college age students somehow think they are reviving. It appears marketers are attempting to take advantage of American youth and do the same with palestinian terrorists, in the oh so ideological name of higher profits.
What's really disturbing about this is that it isn't some rhetoric spewing out of a fringe group or even the ivory-tower intellectual elites of the academic world. This is a mainstream company that, while having pushed controversial items in the past, is more well known for selling designer jeans than for making political statements. Often Jews perceive our biggest threats in the west as coming from loud-mouthed bigots who choose to use their freedom of speech to demonize us in the public square. I'm more afraid of a society that seems to love us on the surface, but dig a little deeper and there is anti-Israel sentiment (and the anti-Semitism that comes with it) slowly but surely making it's way into the POPULAR attitudes. It can start with fashion trends manipulating people to buy into a cause they probably don't even know that much about. Before you know it, it becomes an accepted thing in their mind and now when the issues are brought up in a debate they've already made up their mind before they've even done any research. Things such as these may just seem like a piece of cotton in the small picture, but in the big picture they are chinks in the armor of the Jewish Americans' cherished status of being an “accepted people.'' The thing about small chinks in the armor is that they aren't so noticeable, but when you add enough of them up together over time, the armor ends up failing to protect you against a major blow.
The Jews of America have apparently dealt with this in a reasonable fashion. It appears that enough angry emails and/or phonecalls were made that Urban Outfitters has taken the item off their website. While this is indeed a great temporary solution it remains only that- temporary. The fact that a major clothing distributer feels comfortable enough braving potential criticism and pushing an item like this to see how people take it could be a sign that things are slowly but surely changing for the American Jew. If such a gradual and cloaked change is underway, once it picks up enough speed it will have no need to hide itself anymore and by then all the store boycotts and angry letters in the world won't help to stop it.
So my suggestion to the Zionist of American persuasion who wants to make a much larger impact against those that wish to destroy the Zionist dream is this- combat them by actually living out that dream! Come back home! Every single Jew that moves to the land of Israel to connect to Hashem and make their life here does more for for the positive than a million ridiculous t-shirts could ever do for the other side. After all, the only thing better than not wearing a pro-arab terror shirt is not wearing it in Israel!