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Walmart Causes Outrage After Selling Tallit Prayer Shawl as “Sun Block Shawl”

Walmart online is selling a beach towel made to look like a tallit, a prayer shawl worn by religious Jews. The retail giant is calling it an “Elegant sunscreen scarves sun block shawl scarf beach towel clothing accessories for women Judaism (blue),” with a price of $40.99.

“This item is a chic sunblock shawl scarf,” the description reads. “The beach scarf is not only a perfect summer sunscreen scarf but also a good accessory to pair with other cloth. The elegant scarf will make you look chic and attractive. An ideal gift for your friends or family.”

“Hey Walmart this item is a tallit, a sacred garment worn as a prayer shawl by religious Jews,” StopAntisemitism wrote on their Twitter with a screenshot of the tallit beach towel. “This is NOT an elegant sunscreen scarf nor a towel.”

Journalist Yair Rosenberg took to social media, jokingly commenting on the “incredible steal” of the price of the tallit.

This is not the first time Walmart has sold something in their stores and online that has sparked controversy on the internet.

In August 2020, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called on Walmart to remove books written by Thomas Dalton, according to The Jewish Chronicle.

In one of his books, Debating the Holocaust: A New Look at Both Sides, Dalton wrote on his site, “after considering all the evidence, I find that the revisionists have a very strong case. Their argumentation is solid, their sources are well-substantiated and their research is of a high caliber. It is not ironclad, however, and where problems arise, I attempt to call them out. But overall, the bulk of their arguments point to one general conclusion: that the traditional Holocaust story is significantly flawed.”

Walmart also sold a few of his other controversial books on the Holocaust as well as his translation of Mein Kampf.

In another incident in 2015, Walmart discontinued the sale of two Halloween costumes after receiving complaints. One costume was a prosthetic nose called “Sheik Fagan Nose,” which bears similarities to the stereotypical depiction of Jews and Arabs with hooked noses. The name Fagan is a reference to the Jewish villain in Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist

The other costume was an IDF uniform intended for younger children, which the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) deemed as anti-Arab.

“The glorification of Israeli soldiers juxtaposed with the mockery of Arab people promotes an anti-Arab racism that is all too common in America. Walmart’s webpage for the item suggests that the nose is ‘perfect for an Arab Sheik,’ perpetuating racist tropes that have long been used to demonize, otherize and alienate Arab communities throughout history,” the ADC said at the time.