JTA — A ham bag has been removed from Australia’s Kmart website after the Australian Jewish Association complained that its message, “Merry Ham-mas,” looked too similar to Hamas, the Gaza terror group that invaded Israel on October 7, killing some 1,400 people.
The text is printed on the ham bag in festive red and green lettering, with a Christmas tree replacing the first “A.”
“Although this is potentially funny (the AJA committee has tossed around some non-PC jokes) it’s really not a good look,” the AJA wrote in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. “We suspect some product manager may cause the company some embarrassment [sic]. So we’ve politely written to Wesfarmers corporate suggesting the product be pulled,” the group wrote, referring to Kmart’s parent company in Australia.
In an update posted about an hour after its first post about the subject, the AJA wrote that the organization had been contacted by Kmart senior management and that the ham bag had been taken off store shelves and the Kmart website.
Ham bags, when lightly dampened with water and some vinegar, are used to keep meat fresh. A description on the now-deleted Kmart webpage says the bag costs roughly $2.50, is made of cotton with a drawstring closure, and includes instructions for use. It is also machine washable and can be paid for in installments, the webpage said.
“We got it wrong on this occasion, and we apologise unreservedly,” a spokesperson for Wesfarmers told The West Australian. “When designing this product we clearly didn’t think through all the implications and the product has been removed from sale.”
Check out the special Christmas bag currently available via K-Mart online. Yes, it's real!!
Although this is potentially funny (the AJA committee has tossed around some non-PC jokes) it's really not a good look.
We suspect some product manager may cause the… pic.twitter.com/vGswVvvNG6
— Australian Jewish Association (@AustralianJA) November 8, 2023
David Adler, president of the Australian Jewish Association, said he wanted “to give credit to Kmart management as they acted very quickly.”
“It’s not normal times, there are people that will distort things and will harass the Jewish community,” he told the West Australian. “Of course, there are bigger issues to be addressed, dealing with the actual terrorism is important, but one of the other things we are dealing with is propaganda.”