Wal-Mart's Israeli soldier and 'Sheik Fagin' costumes attract criticism

The nation's largest retailer hears about the insensitive nature of two Halloween costume outfits.

Carlos Barria/REUTERS/File
Customers are seen at a Wal-Mart store in Miami, Florida in this 2010 file photo.

A Halloween costume that would allow kids to dress up as Israeli soldiers this Halloween, sold by Walmart and Amazon, is stirring indignation among consumers.

Critics say the sale is a sign the retailers have become insensitive to the longstanding conflict between Palestinians and Israelis after a month that has seen a rise in violence between the two sides.

The BBC reports that more than 40 Palestinians and nine Israelis have been killed in October through renewed episodes of violence.

The costume depicting an Israeli Defense Forces soldier includes a green uniform with Hebrew etched on the front, a red beret and a belt, all sold together for $27.44, according to a description on Walmart’s website. A toy gun can be purchased separately, USA Today reported.

Consumers took to social media and the retailer's comment section to express their dissatisfaction over the children’s costume, with one commenter calling it “utterly insensitive and immoral.”

Walmart also saw its Facebook page lit up with people upset over the outfit. "Israeli soldier as a Halloween costume great idea. Why not an ISIS costume too? Birds of a feather...," one man posted. 

Walmart is no stranger to criticism for the sale of certain costumes consumers deemed insensitive. The BBC reports the Walmart-owned Tesco and Asda in the United Kingdom pulled an costumes called "mental patient" and "psycho ward" in 2013 .

Animal-welfare activists lodged complaints against Walmart on another get-up representing Cecil the Lion, who was killed by a Michigan dentist on a hunting expedition.

Another costume sold by Walmart, called “Sheik Fagin,” offers an abnormally elongated prosthetic nose described as “perfect for an Arab Sheik” and advertised on a model wearing a keffiyeh – a headdress popular in parts of the Middle East.

However, the BBC described the costume as also receiving criticism over its name, Fagin, as the “stereotypical greedy Jew in Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist.”

Walmart has not yet responded to the social media backlash. 

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