Times must be tough in the appliances sector - classic American home goods department store Sears has turned to commercializing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Now with your washer-dryer, customers can pick up a women's "Free Palestine" t-shirt in their choice of six colors.The t-shirt features a fist in the colors of the Palestinian flag, with the words "Free Palestine, End Israeli Occupation" emblazoned on the front. The product description encourages shoppers to "Make a statement about the Arab-Israeli conflict with this powerful design."
According to the product description, the t-shirt has been available for purchase on Sears.com since October 26, 2016.The item was first spotted by Jerusalem Post reader Larry Sherman, who said, "It is unacceptable to de-legitimize the State of Israel."It would seem that the garment is available on Sears.com through third-party seller Spreadshirt.com. Spreadshirt, founded in 2002 in Leipzig, Germany, does on-demand printing of clothing and accessories. On its website, Spreadshirt states, "We value freedom of expression, whether it's with your own designs or those made available by our community." Sears does not seem to specify which Spreadshirt vendor created this particular shirt for sale, and many similar "Free Palestine" designs are distributed through Spreadshirt. Regardless, purchasing the shirt does qualify the buyer for Sears "Shop Your Way" rewards points, which would seem to indicate promotion of the product.Consumers may remember Sears's 90's slogan "Come see the softer side of Sears" as the store attempted to re-brand itself as a shopping destination for clothing as well as household appliances. It is difficult to reconcile aggressive political posturing with any kind of softer side. The item appears above a "Free press, Free Assange" t-shirt in search results.
When questioned, a Sears representative told The Jerusalem Post that they are aware of the t-shirt and have escalated the situation. "We will be removing the items soon. Please allow us 24 hours. Thank you for understanding," he said. "We do not want our members to be unhappy," he continued. "This item is sold by a third-party seller via the Sears Marketplace. Given the feedback we’ve received, we are currently evaluating the items in question to determine appropriate action. We will fix it and ensure this is not repeated."