“Anti-War Scarves” sold at Urban Outfitters look a lot like militant/terrorist kefiyyahs

From Mobius at Jewschool.com, a wholesome piece of blogging.  This Urban Outfitters thing is such a farce.

Remember last month when, writing about the Kaffiyeh Yisraelit, I said “in hipster enclaves such as Berlin and Brooklyn, the kaffiyeh is so ubiquitous it’s already passe [and] as a fashion item it is viewed by many in the Palestinian solidarity movement as a trivialization of the Palestinian struggle”?

Well, the kaffiyeh just got 10 TIMES MORE PASSE and 10 TIMES MORE TRIVIALIZED, thanks to Urban Outfitters (proprietors of the once famed money grubbing Jew t-shirts) who are now selling a variety of different colored kaffiyehs as — get this — anti-war scarves.

Ah yes, the anti-war scarf.

As you can see, it goes quite well with the anti-war RPG launcher.


Posted on January 17, 2007, in Anti-Semitism, Huh?, Israel. Bookmark the permalink. 40 Comments.

  1. Wa?!? ………

    I’m so sorry, but just laughed so hard urban outfitters now owes me a bowl of breakfast cereal.

  2. The scarves have been pulled and replaced with this message:
    “Anti-War Woven Scarf
    Due to the sensitive nature of this item, we will no longer offer it for sale. We apologize if we offended anyone, this was by no means our intention.”


  3. They are still for sale in Europe…

  4. I think that people should absolutely have the right to wear what ever they desire, including something like an Arabic Kuffiyeh. The choice should be left to the individual as to whether it is appropriate or offensive. Although most would associate this type of scarve with the Palestinian struggle for solidarity and the tactics used by those who resist Isralie colonization ( including suicide bombins an terrorist acts) the significance of the kuffiyeh is open to other interpretations. It can also be considered a symbol of the Arab world, apart from violence, a symbol of their cultural identity.
    People should most definately have the right to wear these scarves but I would urge them to take the time to understand the history, significance, and message, political or cultural, associated with it.

    • Fine set of words Rob. It just hurts pro-Israeli groups that Arabs truly have a well developed culture. They just hate anything arab. I wonder what would they do without coffee, alcohol, and algebra.

  5. it doesnt even look the same.

    everyone needs to stop being so rashy.

  6. good choice of words, rob ryan.

  7. Rabbi, I’m sure the terrorists wear jeans too, that means Urban Outfitters can’t sell jeans? You’re smart enough to know stores like Urban Outfitters is ignorant of culture and history of some clothing, they just sell whatever they think sells, and people just buy whatever they think fits them. No profit of these sales go towards supporting Palestinians, Israel, anti-war causes or anything of that kind.

  8. these scarfs are simply a common garmet worn in dessert countries, it is only buy outside influence that they have come to be seen as a political statement.

  9. You’re smart enough to know stores like Urban Outfitters ARE ignorant of culture and history of some clothing- not “is”.

    and obviously you aren’t smart enough to get your grammar straight let alone decide what is offensive or not. get an education before you think you can have an opinion, don’t go around spewing bullshit out of your mouth.

    i own one of these scarves and i wear it all the time. there is no problem whatsoever with them. i don’t know what crawled up all of your asses and died.

    do i sound immature? sure. sorry, i can’t help but laugh at all of you banding together to whine over tiny little things such as this. do something real with your life.

    • so you can have an option based on grammar alone? Didnt anyone tell you that you may need a brain.I’m sure they are on sale on wall mart.

  10. they say where to young,to get are self’s sprun. Nurit Hailey.

  11. sorry tyler urban outfitters IS, not ARE. as a company, it’s singular. look it up.

  12. that’s why it will never wor. Liesbeth Kiki.

  13. this is stupid.
    if you are a true american why does it matter what you wear?
    Just because you wear this scarf doesn’t mean your gonna bomb mad buildings. Instead of focusing on stupid stuff like this GET A LIFEE!!!

  14. I happen to own one (didn’t buy it from UO, too pricy and too chic), and the reason why I bought it is because I happen to like it and find that it matches alot of the clothing I wear. The whole issue over it is silly and trivial, along with it’s fashion context. My feeling towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is that both sides are equal in the amount of atrocities they commit and that both sides are equal in the amount of childish retaliations they come up with. The Israeli wall in particular is a laughable venture. It’s as if Israel has forgotten all about the Berlin wall: it might have stopped most people, but it didn’t stop all the people. And I assure you that the attacks that Israeli hostile organizations come up with will be far more horrifying than any previous suicide bombing or ambush, which will no doubt be followed there after by a similarily cruel, if not even more devastating, attack by the IDF. So in my opinion I say fuck off to both factions, as they’re both equal assholes fighting over equal land of desert, whose only real value is in a religious context.

  15. David
    First – I reposted this be I thought is was interesting.
    Secondly – thanks for the insightful comments such as “So in my opinion I say fuck off to both factions, as they’re both equal assholes fighting over equal land of desert,”

    I am not sure who you mean to impress or if you hope to influence anyone to your position, but this kind of talk doesn’t help anyone.

    Perhaps when you get around to wanting discussion and peace we can discuss your points.

    Until then, enjoy your purchase.

  16. I came to this page by accident. I actually am muslim & do think selling these scarves with a name like, “Anti-War Scarves,” is insensitive, even though it may not have been meant as such. I do not believe any conflict can be resolved through violence or hatred of any kind, but either can it by renaming a scarf. I don’t think trivializing the matter is appropriate. By that I mean, this scarf is a potent symbol to many people & I would not wear it. Just because we have the freedom to wear what we want doesn’t mean we should stop thinking of others & how it might affect or offend them. I think being sensitive to one another is a first step towards peace.

  17. what??? I can’t believe this! this is hilarious! I started to serached for this scarf on the internet with the name of “cowboy scarf.” It so happens that these are a hippie accesory in Argentina and since im from there I wanted to revive my culture by wearing a scarf such as this. I had no idea these scarfs were associated with terrorism . this is insane, it is just fashionable!!! now im going to feel weird wearing it!

  18. and by the way, this kind of reminds me of the ridiculous dress code that most schools have, such as “no shirts and shoes of the same color” since most gangs identify themselves like that. RETARDED! IT is not my fault that UB unwisely decided to name them “anti-war” scarves.

  19. I don’t believe that supporting the Palestinian struggle for basic human rights means that someone is “anti-Jewish”. This argument is just a way to classify people into two polar extremes. Also, not agreeing with Israeli policies does not make you an anti-semite, it just means that you disagree with the policies of the Israeli government.
    Fashion is influenced by many things, and different people interpret different things differently. Your view is not the only view. Please stop trying to make it that way. I recently noticed people wearing the scarf as a fashion statement and it was exciting to me. To me this scarf represents a few things:
    Agriculture..olive trees..everyday hard working farm workers.
    Family closeness…values…love.
    Resistance against inhumane exploitation of all people of the world.
    Resistance against occupation.
    Grass roots organization.
    Anti-war…killing is not the answer.
    The Green movement….taking care of the earth.
    Elegance, wisdom, spirituality, respect.

    These are the feelings I get when I see the scarf. I called Urban Outfitters today in Santa Monica and I’m going to go buy one for $18.00. So, if you see me wearing it…don’t let yourself hate me. Do you really want to carry that hate inside of you all day…because you saw someone wearing a scarf? Come and talk to me…lets have a drink….you will find I am more than a scarf. Peace.

  20. If you think selling the Keffiyah was a disgrace, check out what they’re pimping now:


  21. Whoever is calling them terrorist scarves is in need of a solidarity check, since when is it fair to associate jewish or rabbinical values with destructive stereotypes? Bottom line, it’s not. I came across this blog by fluke and am thoroughly disappointed by this propagation of unnecessary hate. My only issue is that the history of these scarves is not known, it seems the same to me as people wearing Che Guevara t-shirts without knowing who he is.
    Lastly, Johanna, retarded is merely a bad choice of adjectives, saying just makes you look ignorant.
    do you feel comfortable with all the endorsements you make with your clothing every day? What would it mean to become comfortable?

  22. to tarek I have read all comments on this page and yours by far says it best. Although they may have a certain meaning that offends others, there are so many other meanings to associate them with. It’s just not worth getting angry over. Stress built up in the body can lead to disease. So don’t stress guys. It’s just fabric and if you want to see it as significant why not look at it this way; it’s just cultural enrichment and enlightenment. Isn’t that what America is about? I didn’t know anything about these scarves before searching online to buy one. In fact I did buy one and I wear it. Yesterday I went into the store I always frequent wearing it and the Arabic gentleman behind the counter actually commented on how he was proud that his culture was influencing young America. I’m just tryin to look good and embrace the hipster culture not piss anyone off. Just chill out life is too short to worry about little things…

  23. TAREK—

    I really ought to give you a round of applause. Your ignorance and insensitivity are impressive considering how “sensitive” we are all assumed to be these days. You try to rationalize and disguise it with your long-winded and informational points, but your sheer insensitivity to real painful issues to Jewish people is amazing. Let me demonstrate:

    1. “supporting the Palestinian struggle for basic human rights”
    –So you think blowing up innocent children is a valid method of “struggling for basic human rights?”

    2. “your view is not the only view”
    —Just because someone is offended by something and you are not, does not mean that they should shut up and take it. In doing so, they ignore and invalidate the real hurt that was done to them or their people.

    3. “I recently noticed people wearing the scarf as a fashion statement and it was exciting to me.”
    —The fact that excitement was your first response, demonstrates your ignorance and insensitivity. I know the origin of the scarves (that they were not created in an effort to be antisemitic). I know that they are traditional in the Arab world. HOWEVER, they have become increasingly visible in Palestinian and other terrorist groups as a symbol of war against Jews and Israel. They are often worn by individuals who advocate a second Holocaust. How can you deny the the impact on Jewish people caused by individuals wearing the scarves despite what they have clearly come to be associated with: antisemitism.

    4. “To me this scarf represents a few things:”
    —Again,you are ignoring and invalidating the struggles and the pain felt by many Jewish people. Apparently, you do not think it is important that people feel pain as a result of this. Are you familiar with the effect of oppression on the psychosocial development of a minority group? I assume not. You probably feel that if anyone is hurt by seeing the scarf, it is their own fault. If so, you are blaming the victim. I wonder if you are aware of what the “blame the victim” mentality does to further oppression.

    5. The scarf represents “…resistance against inhumane exploitation of all people of the world, resistance against occupation and anti-war…killing is not the answer.”
    —Again, you ignore the pain and suffering of Jewish people, when you have the nerve to say that the scarf represents those things. Even if you don’t agree with Isreal’s actions (WHICH I DO NOT), how can you say such accusatory things. Clearly you are talking about your view of the wrongs done to Palestine. I don’t hold it against you that you feel that way. HOWEVER, it is patently insensitive and insidious to talk about those views without acknowledging the struggle and pain of Jews as well. Are you trying to convey that you do not think they are suffering? Or maybe you think they deserve it because Israel occupied Palestine.

    6. “…if you see me wearing it…don’t let yourself hate me.”
    —So you think people should not react to you wearing the scarf? What if your clothing bore an image of a different ancient cultural symbol? One that was originally a Buddhist sign of peace—The swastika was not antisemitic until the Nazis turned it into a symbol of their hateful mission. TAREK, maybe you should wear a swastika and walk around town thinking no-one should react to you.

    FINALLY, I just want to make this clear: I am not a zionist and I’m only half Jewish. I think both parties have committed atrocities in the conflict in Israel. NEVERTHELESS, I cannot stand for someone blatantly ignoring an issue that is so painful, intense and important to so many people—It is flat out ignorant.

  24. Matt,

    You make some great points; however, your tone is generally whiny and victim-like. I live in Brooklyn and see Jewish American Princesses (JAPs)-turned-hipsters wearing the kaffiyeh everyday. Just look at the main demographic of people wearing these scarves…they aren’t today’s next oppressors…they are graphic designers, baristas, and high school students. Your swastika example doesn’t quite add up. Symbols have different meanings within specific cultural contexts. For example, the “swastik” is still a beloved symbol throughout India despite its more recent Nazi incarnation as a symbol of oppression and genocide. That being said…wearing a kaffiyeh in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is seen as “trendy” or “hip” even though it may have a different meaning on the streets of Jerusalem.

  25. “MATT” get a life man, I’m buying one for me and 10 more to my friends. and i will encourage them to buy for their friends.

  26. Matt just dished out the intellectual ass-whooping I was about to unleash on this board.

    Well said Matt.

  27. To all who have commented on the kuffiyeh.
    I bought three last December in Palestine. I wear them as a symbol for Palestine and am proud to do so. If others wish to use it as a fashion statement, that is their choice. One more comment: Some of you have no idea what you are talking about re:Palestine and Israel. Maybe you should visit both countries and see first hand what is really going on.

  28. Carlos "Che Guevara"

    I wear mine proudly not just because fashion ( that will be too shallow) but for what it represent to me. ” Struggle” I support the Palestinian cause, and disagree with US/Israel politics in the Middle-east. Unfortunately, when you show solidarity with a Devastated disposed of his lands nation as Palestine, you are immediately labeled as “terrorist Supporter” or “Anti-Semitic” what a shame, but those are only the ones who are either not inform or are just plain bias. Wear yours and show support for “The cause” if to settle the war or conflict we would have to go to the origin of it, remember this. PALESTINE EXISTED BEFORE “god” brought Jews there”

  29. Mustafa A Khaffiya

    Get the original Jewish/Israeli Khaffiya in Blue and white


    100% Kosher not a cheap schmutter!

  30. actually The Jews were in Israel thousands of years before the Romans occupied it and named the area as the provence of Palestina.

    Anyway if Palestine is so important to Arabs why did they allow Arab Palestine to be re-named Jordan?

    The meaning of the term Palestinian is not in refrence to Arabs nor are Palestinians an ethnic group, There are plenty of Jews who were born in former Palestine and can claim to be Palestinian as there are plently of Arabs born in Israel today who are Israelis.

    The Khaffiya in Black and red are both distinct and have different designs to the Jewish version which is clearly a Magen David design with 2 stripes like the Israeli flag in blue and white. I dont hear any critisism from The Anti Israel brigade or accusations of ” stealing heratage of the so called ” Fashion” Khaffiyas that have been produced in all sorts of garish colours and include Skulls or other unrelated images with no meaning that are ubundently available in every street market accross the Western World.

    You may as well accuse the Arabs of knoking off the Jewish traditional “Talit” scarf, it pre dates the Khafiyya and is basically indentical with fringe and tassels only bigger in size white with black stripes that once were to indentify what tribe the wearer was related to.

    Today it is used mostly in prayer ritual but in past times it was used by Jewish herdsmen to keep them warm at night similar to Beduin traditional dress.

    The Smaller Tzitzit is another traditional piece of Jewish clothing which like the Talit has a fringe and tassel and is worn over the head with the same black stripes.

    It amzes me that people still try to sell the idea that Jews are Europeans who have planted themselves on other peoples land, when in fact they are a Semitic people who after years of Exile have returned to their native land and there has always been a Jewish population in the Area well before the Arab invasion and occupation.

    Please get used to the idea as the Jews are now back home to stay and it looks like Jewish Khaffiyas will be gaining more popularity as they represent a fact of Jewish Middle eastern heratage!

  31. If only Hammas in Gaza went into Khafiya production instead of Rocket production!

  32. Brandon Sanders

    people love to complain. Anything and everything they can. This very scarf is worn by us special forces and israli special forces teams over in afghanistan, irag, etc… it is worn by nearly all middle-eastern cultures. In no way does it “support terrorism” no more than french fries support france or bud light supports ignorant red necks. By giving this meaning your simply furthering the misunderstanding. Not all muslims are terrorists. Most in fact believe alah is all merciful and peaceful. Might I remind those that christ shares the same variations of followers.

  33. hipstermurderer

    Viva la Palestine!

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