Need a last-minute no-stress Halloween costume before trick-or-treating or partying this weekend? Have no fear, because Walmart and Amazon are here to help by offering a marked-down “Israeli Soldier Costume for Kids”—just what you wanted, am I right? No promises on the low-stress thing, though, because this costume stirred up some controversy.
The costume, complete with a toy gun, comes from third-party retailer Costume SuperCenter, which describes the costume thus:
The world isn’t as safe as we’d like it to be. There comes a time when your child wants to save the world the only way he knows how, by dressing as his favorite army man! Have your child step into their Jewish heritage by putting on this Boy’s Israeli Soldier Costume. Authentic and modeled directly after the Israeli military officer apparel, it’s got everything they need to enforce the law and protect their citizens! Comes with an authentic beige shirt that has authentic Hebrew printed across the breast that’s bound to signify your child’s love and respect for their culture. It’s also accompanied with a matching pair of pants and complementing belt that ties in the officer’s aura you’re trying so hard to cultivate. What would any soldier be with their signature red beret, don’t worry we’ve got that included as well.
SuperCenter adds that the costume “makes for a great pairing with the Hatzolah rescuer costume,” just in case, well, you have twins who both need to be “connect[ed] with their heritage like never before.”
But many people aren’t too happy about this “dangerous disguise.” Some have complained that it is “offensive and insensitive to a serious and ongoing conflict,” reported Fortune. Notorious anti-Zionist activist Max Blumenthal voiced his obligatory commentary, as well, accusing both Walmart and Amazon commercial monkey business
— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) October 26, 2015
Amazon consumer comments included sentiments such as, “The costume comes with the blood of innocent Palestinians? It’s a shame to sell this” and “If my child wears this can he then murder Palestinian children with impunity?” (Notably, Amazon users didn’t seem to have as many problems with a Navy Seal child costume complete with a gun and grenade set ).
Some people have even called for a boycott of the Walmart chain, reported Haaretz. Walmart, which has since taken down its costume, saw pro-BDS messages blanket its Facebook page. David Ha’ivri, a political activist living in Kfar Tapuach in the West Bank, mocked Walmart, by tweeting a picture of “a Muslim Bedouin kid [who] thinks that wearing [an] IDF costume is cool,” suggesting that the costume is a crude misunderstanding on all fronts.
— David Ha'ivri (@haivri) October 27, 2015