An e-mail rumor claims the Spanish fashion store chain Zara "has been openly anti-Semitic for a long time," and that "now they are selling bags with swastikas on them." The much-forwarded message includes a photo of a handbag with colorful flowers and a green swastika sewn on one corner.
The suggestion that Zara is "anti-Semitic" is false. And the "bags with swastikas" reference involves an isolated incident that Zara's parent company quickly remedied two years ago.
Zara stores once carried a line of embroidered handbags produced by an India-based supplier. Unbeknownst to Zara, one of the designs was inspired by a commonly used Hindu symbol that is similar to, but not exactly a swastika. This ancient religious symbol represents the sun, strength and good luck for Hindus and Buddhists.
In September 2007, in response to complaints about the handbags from customers, Inditex, the parent company of Zara, withdrew the entire line from its shelves.