Walmart's IDF soldier Halloween costume.
(photo credit: screenshot)
Walmart pulled an Israeli soldier costume and a “Sheik Fagin” prosthetic nose, after facing a backlash from social media.
The products reportedly were removed from the company’s website and from store shelves on Tuesday afternoon, hours after the American-Arab Anti-Discriminatory Committee called on Walmart and other retailers to remove the products as well as others deemed anti-Arab.
The committee, known as the ADC, was joined in its call by joined by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR; and the US Palestinian Community Network, or USPCN.
“The Israeli forces are a symbol of violence and fear for Palestinians living under occupation, and Palestinians around the world whom have lost their homes and been victims of violence at the hands of soldiers. A symbol of fear, violence and a long history of dispossession should not be used for entertainment purposes. An Israeli soldier costume is highly offensive to Arab-Americans, particularly those who have had family members, including children, killed by Israeli soldiers,” ADC said in a statement.
ADC also denounced the sale of “a variety of ‘Arab’ costumes, which is said “can lead to hate crimes against Arab-Americans.”
“The glorification of Israeli soldiers juxtaposed with the mockery of Arab people promotes an anti-Arab racism that is all too common in America. Walmart’s webpage for the item suggests that the nose is ‘perfect for an Arab Sheik,’ perpetuating racist tropes that have long been used to demonize, otherize and alienate Arab communities throughout history,” the group said.
Walmart did not indicate on its Facebook page or Twitter feed that it had removed the items, but they no longer appear on its website.
The product remained available for purchase on the Amazon website as of Wednesday morning.