Wessex Scene have found that University-linked clothing company Ixaha have held a tweet for nearly 4 months which is incontrovertibly anti-Semitic in nature. Following contacting by the publication, the University has taken swift action removing two student internships with the company advertised on its careers portal.
Update – Wessex Scene can confirm that as of the evening of Sunday 19th May, both tweets referenced in this article were taken down by the company – while the screenshotted tweet was reported by at least one individual to Twitter on Wednesday, when Twitter removes any tweet it leaves up for 14 days a notice indicating it has removed the tweet. The company has not however replied to our email asking why their statement contained no actual apology or why they hadn’t taken their tweet down when initially highlighted by Wessex Scene.
The tweet reads and can be viewed as follows, prior to the tagging of several profiles and linking to a shirt advertised by the company:
Problem with Jews, whether white, black, red, yellow or arctic, is they’re always picking fights. Been at it for decades in the Middle East. Let’s send them to anger management classes.
After Wessex Scene contacted them, a University of Southampton spokesperson has condemned the tweet and confirmed the removal of two previously advertised social media and digital marketing internship roles with the company:
The University does not tolerate any form of racist or anti-Semitic behaviour.
In light of this social media activity we have withdrawn the advertisements for internship opportunities with Ixaha from our careers website.
Wessex Scene has also contacted the clothing company Ixaha asking how and why an anti-Semitic tweet has existed on their Twitter profile for nearly 4 months. A statement in full from an Ixaha company spokesperson is below – although they have been aware of the tweet since at least 09:22AM this morning, it remains up on their profile:
- Ixaha seeks to be an objective and fact based company, using t shirts to draw attention to major issues.
- Each design is backed up by a story explaining the background to the design, see https://ixaha.com/designs/and click on any one.
- The tweet was written to highlight our “Don’t Wall People Off” shirt, see https://ixaha.com/portfolio/gandhi-wall/evoking the spirit of Gandhi to show that antagonism and walls create blindness and wars. It changes Churchill’s famous quote, to read “we need less wall-wall, more jaw-jaw”. It asks for people to talk and come together, whoever they are, whatever their colour. This is an anti being nasty design, not anti one race.
- Israel does have an aggressive policy towards the Palestinians, particularly under Netanyahu, ignoring world opinion and UN declarations. The Don’t Wall People Off seeks to draw attention to this but also to others, like Putin, Trump and Erdogan, anyone who prefers walls and wars to talk and co-operation. Mexico wall, Israel wall, Irish wall… It is not anti-Jewish.
- Given the objectives and messages of our designs there’s no intention to cause offence but looking at the tweet again I think you’ve raised an important point. If we’d said Israel or Netanyahu needs to go to anger management classes, no problem. Many Israelis won’t be happy, but it’s a fact that people often see a country through its leader, so Israel and Netanyahu are becoming interchangeable. I think it’s also true of the words Jew and Israel, why I don’t know but people frequently say one when they mean the other. So there might be issues with the tweet, not with the intent but in using terminology which is becoming normal, but is not technically correct.
To conclude, we are trying to bring attention to important issues as you can see from the story behind each design, not make cheap inflammatory comments. I don’t know how you’re going to slant your article but it would be interesting to hear what your students think, get a debate going. Have the words Jew and Israel become interchangeable, why is the phrase anti-Semitism only used about Jews when the word Semite refers to both Arabs and Jews?
For the purpose of full transparency, it should be stated that the author of this article came across the tweet as an indirect result of the Gloucestershire-based company contacting them about the possibility of an article highlighting a 40% discount code offered to University of Southampton students as ‘a sort of appreciation of our link with the University’. Ixaha has previously advertised internship roles on the University’s careers and employability service and has been part of the University’s Business and Innovation Programme, which seeks to increase work experience opportunities for Southampton students.
While researching and writing on the discount code, the company’s social media channels were looked at. Very quickly, it was found that Twitter was the only social media account which had been updated this year and Ixaha advocated hard-left political stances – unusual for a company, but in keeping with the political and environment slogans and designs of Ixaha’s t-shirts. However, scrolling approximately a page down the company’s Twitter profile, the anti-Semitic tweet was found. Another tweet, from more recently in February, also suggested the state of Israel was anti-Semitic itself.
In light of the discount code Ixaha were offering to students containing SUSU’s name, the students’ union have confirmed to Wessex Scene that they have had no links to the company in any way.
Wessex Scene have contacted Ixaha again, though very shortly before this article’s publication, to ask both as to why the tweet remains on their profile as of 5PM, and their statement contains no actual apology.