Editor’s note: Reebok is now distancing itself from the Israel shoe. It said in a statement today the footwear was “prepared by an independent designer and should not be presented as a product by the company’s international brand.”
A post regarding the online auction for the Israel 68 trainers, which first appeared on Reebok Israel’s Facebook page on May 9, 2016, has since been removed.
Next week Palestinians will memorialize the starting point of their plight as a stateless people, observing the Nakba, literally “the catastrophe” in Arabic. The day is a commemoration of the demolition of more than 500 villages during the 1948 war, and the fleeing and expulsion of at least 700,000 people. At the same time Israelis will picnic and mark their own holiday, celebrating Israel’s Independence Day.
This year the athletic retailer Reebok has designed a special commemorative sneaker for Israel and its 68th independence celebrated on May 12, 2016, coinciding with the Palestinian Nakba, which will be observed three days later because of differences in the Jewish and Gregorian calendars.
Typically Israeli streets are lined with flags of the Jewish-state in the weeks before the celebration. The Reebok shoe follows the motif. It is blue and white and says “Israel 68” on the sole. And “the pump” on the upper.
Reebok will auction the shoes on Facebook though July 7th.
It’s not like we’ll see a “Palestinian Nakba” shoe on the market anytime soon. Most Nakba observances take place in the West Bank, but increasingly Palestinian citizens of Israel and Israeli activists have organized events in Israel’s urban hubs. In years past they drew intense counter-protest and a police presence, often organized by the group Im Tirtzu who produced a pamphlet for the event titles Nakba Harta, or “Nakba is bullshit.”
Otherwise for Israelis the holiday passes without much notice.