International sportswear maker, Reebok, has cancelled and repudiated plans to market a special edition sneaker celebrating what Israel calls its ‘Independence Day’.
On Monday 9th May, a Facebook post stated the online auction of Israel 68 trainers made by Reebok. This post has since been removed following a huge outcry in support of Palestinian rights.
Social media users reacted with outrage after The Electronic Intifada reported on the plans to release the sneaker with ‘Israel 68’ emblazoned on the heel, and the plan to auction it through Reebok Israel’s Facebook page.
The commemorative sneaker for Israel and its 68th independence to be celebrated on May 12, 2016, was set to coincide with the Palestinian Nakba which will be observed next week.
— BDS South Africa (@BDSsouthafrica) May 11, 2016
“Reebok would like to distance itself from the shoe,” the US-headquartered company told The Electronic Intifada. “The shoe was a one-off initiative from one of our consumers. We do not support this initiative.”
“Reebok has distanced itself from this terribly offensive initiative after recognizing the reputational and financial price a BDS campaign against it would have cost it as a result,” Abdulrahman Abunahel, Gaza Co-ordinator of the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), told The Electronic Intifada.
Many, especially those campaigning for Palestinian rights, called for boycotts of the company’s products.
“Companies as large as Veolia, Orange, CRH and others have ended their involvement in Israel’s serious violations of international law after intense boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns,” Abunahel added.