(JTA) – An American company is facing criticism for marketing T-shirts that frame the swastika as a symbol of “love” and “life.”
KA Designs was selling the shirts, which feature white swastikas on a rainbow-coloured background with the words “peace” or “zen,” on the U.S.-based clothing company Teespring’s website.
Before the Nazis tainted the swastika by using it as their official symbol, it had been – and remains – a religious icon in Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism for thousands of years.
The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum and the Simon Wiesenthal Center slammed the shirts.
Andrew Anglin, founder of the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer site, praised the design.
“I want to say that I am in 100 per cent support of the rebranding of the Swastika as a symbol of love,” Anglin said.
KA Designs released its own statement on the controversy.
“The new meanings given to ‘our Swastika’ wouldn’t make any sense if not based on the previous ones. We want to promote love and peace to remind everyone that mankind can be better that what it currently is and was in the past,” the statement read.
By Monday, Teespring had removed the shirts from its site, The Times of Israel reported.
However, The Jerusalem Post pointed out Monday that Teespring was still offering clothing that referenced or painted Nazis in a positive light, such as shirts that said things such as “Hitler did nothing wrong ever” and “We’re all Hitler now.”
“Teespring’s lack of sensitivity on these issues is repulsive and the company’s obvious goal is to shock people and reap the possible financial rewards, under the guise of their supposed creativity,” Ephraim Zuroff, head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Jerusalem Post.