Sale of Nazi memorabilia by e-commerce site angers Jewish group

Despite Etsy’s recent ban on products with the logo of the Washington Redskins football team on grounds of racism, the site still sells products featuring the Nazi swastika and likenesses of Hitler.

October 17, 2014 02:52
2 minute read.

THIS ART PRINT is one of the items available on the Etsy e-commerce site that led B’nai B’rith International to lodge its complaint.. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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B’nai B’rith International has come out against the e-commerce site Etsy, citing the presence on the online clearinghouse of vintage and handmade Nazi-themed products.

Despite Etsy’s recent ban on products with the logo of the Washington Redskins football team on grounds of racism, the site still sells products featuring the Nazi swastika and likenesses of Adolf Hitler.

“B’nai B’rith International is disturbed to learn that the site still readily sells swastika and anti-Semitic paraphernalia,” the group said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

“When B’nai B’rith checked the site in recent days, 456 swastika- themed items were available for sale, as were 479 Hitler- themed items, 13 Ku Klux Klan-themed items, and one racist, Jewish caricature candlestick listed specifically under the topic ‘anti-Semitic.’” The candlestick was no longer for sale as of the writing of this article.

Currently available on Etsy are a Hitler-like crocheted cat wearing the German leader’s trademark tan uniform and red armband; a “Custom Made Swastika Symbol Removable Wall Decor Decal”; swastika guitar picks and a “Jaws ‘Jews’ Hitler Spoof Limited Edition Art Print,” showing the iconic movie shark lunging upward toward a boat bearing Hitler, over which the word “Jews” appears instead of “Jaws.”

In explaining on a blog post its ban on the sale of Redskins paraphernalia, Etsy said that while freedom of speech was important, “it has long been against our policies to allow content on our site that demeans people based upon race, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, disability, or sexual orientation.”

B’nai B’rith International cited other e-retailers, such as eBay, Amazon, Sears Marketplace and Yahoo, for selling “hate materials” as well. Etsy and other sites must “abide by their own policies and police the sale of offensive items,” the group asserted.

The Anti-Defamation League this week praised Sears for removing a swastika ring sold by a third-party through it’s Marketplace website.

Previously, Jewish groups excoriated fashion giant Zara for the sale of T-shirts that some claimed bore a close resemblance to a concentration camp uniform.

The blue-and-white-striped boy’s shirt with a yellow, six-pointed star was intended to convey a “Wild West” aesthetic, according to Zara’s parent corporation, Inditex. The item was pulled from shelves amid a spate of negative publicity.

In 2007 the chain, which maintains a significant retail presence in Israel, removed a handbag decorated with swastikas from store shelves.

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