Chinese retail site stops sale of Palestinian flag – and then retaliates

Shein responded to a flood of protests over the flag sale, but drops local influencers afterwards.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Shein, the giant Chinese retailer, has removed the sale of Palestinian flags from its website after a flood of protests came in from Israeli consumers.

Now, however, Shein is downgrading its operations in Israel, ending free shipping to the Jewish state and cutting ties with Israeli influencers.

The online retailer had previously been popular among Israeli shoppers, in part due to its offer of free shipping to Israel.

After Israelis found that one could purchase a Palestinian flag on the site – price £4.25 – Shein faced a backlash from Israeli consumers, and calls from Israelis and Israel’s supporters abroad for a boycott

“You support a terrorist organization that attacks my country, Israel. Hamas is worse than ISIS,” one shopper wrote to the customer service section of one of the site’s largest Facebook groups, which rates its products.

The woman threatened a boycott as well.

“Those who support Hamas support terrorism. We will not buy more from you if you do not remove the flag and add the Israeli flag,” she added.

Any attempts to find and purchase an Israeli flag are currently leading to a broken link.

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A different customer wrote similarly on Shein’s site, “In light of the situation in Israel, it should be clear to everyone that the flag of Palestine symbolizes terrorism and is anti-Semitic. Since the site sells such a terrorist flag, I am deleting my account and I don’t intend to purchase from you again and this is what I will recommend to all Israelis and their supporters.”

Another noted that the giant company had canceled its free shipping to Israel the day after Hamas terrorists invaded Israel, murdering some 1,300 men, women and children. “They didn’t cancel [the service] to any other country,” she wrote. “Antisemitism at its best.”

In what seems to be a win for consumer pressure, the Palestinian flag is now labeled as being “sold out” and a search for it leads to a page saying “We have removed the item. Your help is important to our service, thank you very much.”

However, Shein is also apparently curtailing its operations in Israel, as it has stopped cooperating with Israeli fashion influencers, people with large numbers of followers on the internet who promote brands in exchange for items and/or commissions.

Several have received emails from the fast fashion company saying, “Due to adjustments – the publication date of the campaign has been postponed. Please stop your posts. We will provide an update regarding more details and publication date later. Thank you very much.”

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This is not the first time Shein has been castigated for anti-Jewish products. In 2020 the site offered necklaces with swastika pendants, which it called a Buddhist symbol. The crooked cross is an ancient religious and cultural Eurasian figure, whose name is Sanskrit for “conducive to well-being.” Its more recent usage as the symbol of Nazism is far more well known in the West, and after consumer pressure was applied, the company stopped selling it.