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Zara Fashion Botches “Toddler T” Style with Holocaust Imagery

At the international corporate level, it probably was a boo-boo. In Turkey, manufacturers very likely knew better.

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Screenshot of ZARA Striped "Sheriff" t-shirt REF. 0371/550 on the clothing chain's Israel online store. Aug. 27, 2014.

Screenshot of ZARA Striped "Sheriff" t-shirt REF. 0371/550 on the clothing chain's Israel online store. Aug. 27, 2014.
Photo Credit: Screenshot / zara.com/il/

The Zara clothing firm fell ‘fashion flat’ this week with a toddler tee shirt allegedly intended to be a “sheriff’s shirt” for little ones in Israel.

The shirt, produced in Turkey, appeared instead to be an ugly, sly swipe at Jewish Holocaust survivors with its yellow, six pointed star sewn on to a dark navy-and-white striped long sleeve shirt.

Israel has no “sheriffs.” Moreover, the word ‘Sheriff’ vanishes in letters that are transparent, outline shapes on the bright yellow fabric of the star.

To survivors of the Holocaust and their relatives and friends in Israel, that message is crystal clear. It is especially loud after recent fiery rhetoric from Turkey’s new President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has made his dislike of Jews and Israelis very plain over the years.

Produced is Turkey, the garment is sold online, but apparently only in the Israeli outlet. Dimi Reider, an Israeli journalist and Associate Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), took a sarcastic poke at the item in a post on his blog for +972 on Wednesday.

“A striped pijama with a yellow star for your child… It’s a SHERIFF shirt for your three year olds. Obviously. What else could it be?”

Reaction by The Israel Project: “Unbelievably awful.” Others who commented in response to the post wondered why the firm would sell a “sheriff” shirt in Israel where the law enforce system does not include that category. “Aren’t any sheriffs anywhere else?” the writer asked.

This is also not the first time Zara has faced controversy over anti-Semitic Holocaust imagery, though the firm operates 17 stores in Israel as well as elsewhere around the world.

Obviously, the company needs a buyer who understands multi-culturalism a bit better.

In September 2007, the fashion chain was forced to withdraw a line of handbags from its stores in Britain after it was pointed out the design featured Nazi swastikas. The bag had been produced in Asia, however, where the symbol also carries ancient cultural significance.
Zara is owned by the Spanish company Inditex, a fashion distribution group with more than 5,500 stores in 86 countries in Europe, North America, Asia and Africa. Inditex also owns Pull & Bear, Bershka, Stradivarius and several other fashion outlets. Pull & Bear and Bershka both have outlets in Israel as well.


Zara apologised this afternoon for marketing this product. In a Twitter message, Zara said “We honestly apologize, it was inspired by the sheriff’s stars from the Classic Western films and is no longer in our stores.”

Hana Levi Julian

About the Author: Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.

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Imported and Older Comments:

  1. I’m sure Israeli’s can find much more deserving stores in which to shop.

  2. I’m sure Israeli’s can find much more deserving stores in which to shop.

  3. Chaiya Eitan says:

    The shirt was produced in Turkey. They knew very well what they were doing. Banish the store from Israel.

  4. Chico Austin says:

    So Israelis will find more deserving stores to shop at because of a

  5. Chico Austin says:

    I’m sure Israeli’s can find much more deserving stores in which to shop.

  6. Kjeld Hesselmann says:

    If not in good faith the designers are empty in their young heads. Lessons in History is a town in Russia in these days.

  7. Designer is not from Turkey and you are acting aggressive

  8. Alan Kardon
    it can be said only by somebody, who never did a mistake

  9. Brenda Wittern-Schurman says:

    Sid Weiss There are a few "things" that you might want to consider…
    1.) Zara had a similar "gaffe" in 2007, when it presented it's handbag collection—-one of which was sporting Swastikas. Zara tried to do damage control by "claiming" that the "symbols" were an Asian symbol for "good health", which is similar. . Problem there was— it was produced in Asia (where they would well know)….. the Swastikas was NOT as the Asian symbol in angle, and DIRECTION that the "cross" is set—HUGE (known) difference. They were PULLED.
    2,) This Shirt was produced in Turkey—not exactly "the cradle of love" towards Israel currently.
    3.) Though available "online"—the ONLY Stores this shirt was shipped TO— Israeli Stores !!
    4.) The word "Sheriff" is not visible in the online ad. It is however LIGHTLY painted on the Yellow Star—and disappears completely with the first wash.

    **Even to lay blame on the Turkish manufacturers– it is ultimately Zara's responsibility–not "even–but ESPECIALLY" when outsourced to an "adversarial country' of the receiving country. Just GOOD BUSINESS SENSE !! A company can't drop the ball—and use an excuse— "We are too big–or Too Busy".
    Just my 2₡……

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