I've noticed a lot of criticism towards some of our t shirt designs, specifically one called "Victimized" and others related to the topic of Palestine.
The following are excerpts from some of the critical e-mails and blogs:
- "an openly anti-Israel t-shirt that glorifies Palestinian terrorism and child abuse"
- "...victimizing Jews"
- "...brutal, bloody Jew hating tee shirt"
- "Clearly, they have Islamists and Jihad lovers on their buying staff" (This was in regards to the buyers at Urban Outfitters, who bought the shirts)
- "This is a campaign to demonize Jews mainstreaming anti semitism by making it part of cultural lore."
On one blog was commented, "What is wrong with these people?" in reference to us.
Well I must ask, what the fuck is wrong with YOU people?
This shirt shows various Palestinian kids with guns. I believe the image can be interpreted in many different ways, but some people are choosing to jump to the conclusion that it means that I am somehow "jew-hating".
And in any case, is it not simply true that some Palestinian kids have become child soldiers due to the ongoing battle between Palestine and Israel?
There is a stylized version of the word "VICTIMIZED" at the bottom of the design. Is it not simply true that some Palestinians and especially Palestinian children are victims of this terrible conflict? I am of the opinion they are.
So where does "OPENLY ANTI-ISRAEL", "GLORIFIES PALESTINIAN TERRORISM AND CHILD ABUSE", "VICTIMIZING JEWS", and "BRUTAL BLOODY JEW HATING T SHIRT" come from? Is this the SPIN some of you choose to place on our design statement to DEMONIZE us?
I clearly have the right to make this statement, and stand behind my opinion of Palestinian victimization, as all of you critics have the right to offer your opinions of it.
I disagree that expressing concern for the children of Palestine is the same as "Jew hating". That knee jerk reaction is consistent with the "with us or against us" nonsense we have experienced too much of during the last several years. To be clear: I believe there are victims on all sides of this conflict.
Some people criticized the image for being in poor taste, and suggested a more positive graphic would have been more appropriate. I say if you think it is in poor taste, don't buy it. My business deals in the graphic arts and I believe that one of the highest purposes of art is to spark discussion by challenging people to think in new ways about serious issues.
The entire point of this graphic, and other graphics, is definitely to push an opinion and a topic I would like our customers to pay some attention to (rather than blindly buy our product for fashion and aesthetic reasons). To inspire thinking and create a public dialog on such topics is extremely important, and discussions from both sides of the fence are extremely beneficial to come to realizations and hopefully mutual understandings. Respectful dialog between people who disagree is essential to the health of a democratic culture.
But how to communicate with people who jump to the completely false conclusion that I "hate Jews"?
One responder told us to do our "homework" in regards to this topic. It doesn't take much homework to come to the opinion that one can consider some Palestinians as victims (as one can also consider some Israelis as victims as well). Then he told me to stay the fuck out of complex politics (and) avoid simple things like PTA meetings.
Another responder said that “there are international laws about inciting hatred and violence which I believe are being broken”. What the fuck are you talking about?
Below are MORE t shirts in our current line. I gladly welcome opinions and good criticism. Some e-mails were of a strong opposite opinion. These were much appreciated, even though I might disagree. But if you're gonna come at me with spinned out moronic accusations, I'll just respond to you in the same assinine way, and that will be to tell you to go fuck yourself.
RICK, owner Freshjive
The graphic shows our logo at the top, a dove symbol of "peace", 3 Palestinian kids with rifles, a small image of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the flag of Palestine, and a stylized logo of the word "Victimized".