Sears has pledged to remove anti-Israeli apparel from its online store.
The Sears department store has pledged to remove sweatshirts and t-shirts emblazoned with the slogan “Free Palestine, End Israeli occupation” and featuring a fist in the colors of the Palestinian flag from its online store.
Some shirts also sported the entire map of Israel under the “Free Palestine” slogan. A description of some of the shirts advises customers to “Make a statement about the Arab–Israeli conflict with this powerful design.”
A Sears representative told the World Jewish Congress on Tuesday that the company was committed to pulling the shirts, which were available for sale on Sears.com through third-party seller Spreadshirt.com, within 24 hours.
“We don’t sell items that are connected to politics,” the representative told the WJC.
SpreadShirt, a German retail company that allows customers to design and order custom-made apparel, has been selling the shirt since October 2016. SpreadShirt said in a statement, “We value freedom of expression, whether it’s with your own designs or those made available by our community. T-shirts, sweaters, bags, aprons and a lot more can easily be personalized with images and custom text.”
The Sears representative said that the company had received dozens of complaints over the course of the day after news of the shirt’s availability was widely reported in the media.
The Jerusalem Post reported that they, too, had contacted the company. A Sears representative told the reporter that “they will be removing the items soon. Please allow us 24 hours. Thank you for understanding.”
“We do not want our members to be unhappy,” the representative told the Post. “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.”