Enough!- Another Israeli-American Says No to Zionism

On Urban Outfitters and Israel…

with one comment

Urban Outfitters has a rocky track record when it comes to Israel and its supporters. Back in 2007, the popular clothing retailer of all things “Urban” (and yes, their clients are mostly middle class white suburbanites), was pressured into removing what they called “an Anti- War Scarf” from the company’s website because to many, this was a direct reference to keffiyehs (and hence to Arafat and hence to Terrorism… and the stereotypes continue). Delia’s, another retailer geared towards young girls, released a similar product around the same time. Theirs was titled “Peace Scarf” and it too came under attack, mostly from a blog titled Little Green Footballs which bombarded company headquarters with demands it remove the item.

A year after Urban Outfitters removed the oh-so-controversial scarf loosely based on a keffiyeh from its website, the “Victimized” t-shirt appeared on the company’s website…

…Opening up a whole new can of worms for defenders of Israel. Ha’aretz covered the story, quoting Ami Cohen- American Apparel (a competitor of Urban Outfitters) Tel-Aviv representative saying “This company has a history of coming into conflict with Jews.” In the same article, fashion designer Leah Weiss (whose work I was unable to locate online) said this T-Shirt was an obvious expression of support for “Terrorism” and that she had “joined a Facebook group to boycott Urban Outfitters and get rid of their clothes”. As of February 19,2011 “Boycott Urban Outfitters” facebook group had 1,431 members- many of whom seem to have joined in response to UO CEO Dick Hayes’ financial support of homophobic Senator Rick Santorum. But we know there is at least one member of this group who has joined because of what she sees as UO’s anti-Israel stance.

So when I came across Urban Outfitters’ Spring 2011 catalog shoot I wasn’t surprised by the locale of choice- Tel-Aviv.  “We were craving some warm weather, so we headed to sunny Tel Aviv with photographer Marlene Marino to shoot our early spring catalog” claims Urban Outfitters on its Facebook page. An obvious Public Relations attempt to mend Urban’s relationship with Israelis (who have yet to be graced by their own Urban Outfitters in Israeli malls), the shoot depicts Urban’s models frolicking on the beach, shopping in downtown Tel-Aviv and standing by recognizable landmarks and in front of Hebrew advertisements- to ensure that the location of this shoot isn’t lost on anyone. Indeed,  the shoot caught the attention of pop culture birthrighter blogger Daniel Ucko who expressed his excitement that he was able to quickly recognize some of the locations because he had seen the same sites during his Birthright trip. And Facebook fans of Urban Outfitters are also excited about the choice of location:

“why wont u open a store here we’re waiting for u…please come!!!”

“this is so wonderful i’m going to die.”

“Perfect pics. Tel Aviv is amazing city!”

“tel aviv is beautiful!”

“ooooooh i wanna go to Tel Aviv for my future honeymoon!! :D”

“Tel Aviv is absolutely gorgeous. All of Israel is. The pictures look amazing :)”

“I couldn’t not like this group once I found out you had a photo shoot in my favorite city on earth! I love you more than ever Urban Outfitters!”

“awesome pics!!!”

“whan will we see the “urban” store in israel?! Can’t wait!!! gotta love israel…..Represent!!! ♥”

… You get the picture…

Urban Outfitters is attempting to win over the hearts of yet another middle class white group- young Israelis and young American Jews who love Israel. Even the fashions seem to have been altered to fit the location…

Settler anyone?  Let’s call Urban Outfitters on this. If “Anti-War Scarves” can be removed from the store’s shelves and T-Shirts of Palestinian resistance are labeled as calls to terrorism while normalizing photo shoots, depicting Israelis as “regular young people” who go shopping and swimming instead of occupiers, than we can at least let UO execs know how we feel about this type propoganda.  Let’s make some noise of the company’s Facebook page and let them know that we too will be boycotting a retailer who normalizes the Israeli existence and thus the repression of Palestinians all in the sake of “craving some warm weather”… i.e. “trying to make nice with those wealthy Zionists who will like us better and buy more of our pseudo-retro Made in the Third World crap”…


Written by Keren Carmeli

February 19, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. good post, thanks for this


    June 26, 2011 at 4:51 pm

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