October 13, 2014
Dear Mr. Lampert:
We were appalled to learn that swastika rings are available for purchase on the Sears website. Shockingly, these rings – identified as “men’s fashion punk rock style jewelry” – were described on the Sears website as “jewelry items [that] are going to make you look beautiful at your next dinner date.” (http://www.sears.com/cet-domain-sideways-swastika-ring-for-mens-fashion/p-SPM7441408622.)
According to one media report, Sears has removed this listing. But the swastika ring is still available on the Sears website. Clicking on the above link, Sears has now posted an apology message, an apology not for having offered this repulsive item for sale, but for it now being unavailable for purchase directly from Sears. The message says, “We’re sorry but this product is unavailable in the color and size(s) you selected” – as if a ring bearing a swastika was just any other piece of jewelry, and not a symbol of the attempted genocide of the Jewish people. Sears continues to make the swastika ring available for purchase from third-party vendors on the Sears Web site. (See http://www.sears.com/search=swastika%20ring?levels=Jewelry.)
Sears should not have been selling these offensive rings in the first place, nor should it be facilitating their sale now. Doing so legitimizes an anti-Semitic symbol of hate, violence, death and murder, and shamefully tries to turn it into some kind of a fashion statement.
It is nothing of the sort. As you surely know, the swastika was appropriated by the Nazis and was made the official emblem of the Nazi party in Germany. Adolph Hitler said the swastika symbolized the victory of the Aryan man. The swastika is the symbol of the Nazi’s anti-Semitic agenda, which included the deliberate and systematic annihilation of the Jewish people.
In light of the swastika’s well-known and sordid history, promoting it as decorative and enticing should be as offensive to Sears as it is to us. The use of the swastika as merely decoration on a piece of jewelry violates our values of decency and respect.
We urge you to immediately remove every single reference to this swastika ring from the Sears website, and issue a public apology for Sears’ misguided, insensitive and insulting actions.
If these steps are not taken with 10 business days from the date of this letter, we will be alerting the public and urging consumers to spend their money elsewhere, at stores and on websites that do not promote disgusting symbols of hate and anti-Semitic bigotry.
We look forward to your response.
Very truly yours,
Mort Klein, ZOA National President
Susan Tuchman, Esq., Director, Center for Law and Justice