Walmart discontinued the sale of its “Israeli soldier kids costume” and “Sheik Fagin nose” Halloween costumes after facing widespread backlash, including boycott calls on the chain store’s Facebook page.
The “Israeli soldier” costume, which resembles a uniform worn by Israeli soldiers in elite combat units, was available on the discount department store chain’s website for $27.44, reduced from $57.62.
One post called the costume “extremely offensive and highly insensitive, not only to the millions of Palestinian-Americans that shop in your stores, but to anyone who has an ounce of humanity in their bodies.”
A “Sheikh Fagin nose,” a latex prosthetic nose which the Walmart website deems “perfect for an Arab Sheik,” likewise generated criticism for its name, the stereotypical greedy Jew in Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist,” the BBC reported.
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee welcomed Walmart’s decision to discontinue the sale of the costumes.
“The Israeli forces are responsible for the continued death and occupation of the Palestinian people. Such a symbol of fear, violence and a long history of dispossession should not be used for entertainment purposes,” ADC President Samer Khalaf said in a statement.
Khalaf added that “selling merchandise which mocks Arabs, or any other race or ethnicity, must not be tolerated. These images do nothing but perpetuate racist tropes that have long been used to demonize, otherize and alienate Arab communities throughout history.”