[Editor’s Note: As of October 28, Walmart chains have discontinued the sale of the Israeli Soldier Costume.]
Still looking for your kid’s Halloween costume? Look no more! Walmart, one of America’s largest multinational department chains for all things cheap and random — it’s where I buy my dog’s pee pads — has come up with an amazingly creative and not at all offensive option of a children’s Halloween costume for this year: an Israeli soldier!
Unless you’re Palestinian like me, I mean. Because then it sucks and reminds you of 48 years of oppression, 67 years of land theft, loss of freedom, death — you get the point. I can only imagine what the buyer’s meeting for that must have sounded like:
*At Walmart buyer meeting for children’s Halloween costume department*
“I have a great idea for our kids Halloween costume stock.”
“Let’s hear it.”
“Let’s give them the option to dress as military personnel part of an oppressive regime known for specifically targeting children of another race in an effort to ethnically cleanse their cultural and physical existence.”
“That’s a damn great idea.”
I’m going to assume that was the extent of thought that went into that.
This uniform, the uniform of the IDF, represents an occupational force that killed over 500 Palestinian children last summer in Gaza — children the same age or younger as the ones to whom this costume is marketed. It’s quite sickening. Eighteen-year-old Israel soldiers in these uniforms have been responsible for breaking international law more times than any other country in history, most often at the expense of women and children. The Israeli army regularly engages in the home demolitions of Palestinian families as a form of collective punishment, even though it’s an illegal practice under international law.
Palestinian families have been mercilessly torn apart by these forces. Palestinian children must often endure their fathers or brothers being thrown in Israeli jails without charges for indefinite periods of time. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child found that Israeli forces regularly torture Palestinian children and use them as human shields in combat. Furthermore, the punishment for Palestinian children throwing rocks is 20 years of jail time, which is often executed by Israeli soldiers’ forced kidnapping of Palestinian children — often ripping them away from the arms of their own parents.
Besides, if Walmart wants to earn points for authenticity then they’re missing all of the details that go along with this uniform. It’s missing the dust spots from our Palestinian homes that are bulldozed and turned into rubble for collective punishment. It’s missing the tear marks of our Palestinian mothers whose husband and sons are kidnapped and held in jail for years — illegally. It’s missing the 48 tally marks of brutal, illegal, ruthless, genocidal occupation against our Palestinian people. It’s missing the cowering fear on a soldier’s face in the midst of being confronted with a small Palestinian child throwing a rock.
So you see, the “Israeli Soldier Costume” is not only offensive, it’s incomplete. If Walmart is going to go out of its way to offend an entire ethnic group then they should be sure to really twist the knife. Not just twist, move that shit full circle and rip an organ out, the way an actual Israeli soldier would do.
After all, everyone knows what makes Halloween costumes great are the gruesome details.
P.S. If you don’t want to dress your kid up like an Israeli soldier because it’s not offensive enough, you can buy a “Fagin Nose” costume and dress up like an Arab Sheik instead:
Editing by Amani Alkhatahtbeh