B'nai B'rith International took a stand against hateful paraphernalia being sold in online marketplaces, calling on web retailers Etsy, Ebay, Amazon, Sears Marketplace and Yahoo! to adhere to their own policies of decency.
The move came amid news that Etsy had recently revised its community standards, and that Sears and Amazon had neo-Nazi accessories (since removed) being sold by independent vendors.
The organization's statement was widely circulated, appearing on JBS (formerly Shalom TV), and in the Times of Israel, Jerusalem Post, Shalom Life and i24News.TV.
Read highlights of the news coverage, below (video story begins at 3:45 mark):
On Saturday Etsy said it had reached out to B’nai B’rith and was conducting “constructive dialogue” on the issue, though it did not say it would remove the items in question.
“We very much appreciate B’nai B’rith being on the front lines of erasing hate,” an Etsy spokesperson told The Times of Israel. “We are constantly reviewing our policies to ensure they are in line with our values, and will continue to evolve them accordingly. We’re looking forward to continuing this dialogue with B’nai B’rith as we work through these issues together.”
This isn't the first time, nor the last, that a major retailer has released anti-Semitic for sale through its website.
Sears, Walmart and Amazon were called out for selling a poster with the gates of Dachau and the words “Arbeit Macht Frei” (work will make you free) on it in the home decor section. Sears was also called out this past week for selling men’s swastika rings on their website.
Even Zara has been brought to light for selling concentration camp shirts which they claimed had been intended to capture the theme of the Old West and not promote or be insensitive of the Holocaust.
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.”
Sears then removed a swastika ring from the roster of items offered for sale, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported.
The item description quoted in the report read "this Gothic jewelry item in particular features a Swastika ring that’s made of .925 Thai silver.”
It then featured the following curious disclaimer: “Not for Neo Nazi or any Nazi implication. These jewelry items are going to make you look beautiful at your next dinner date.”