Surge in Sales of Palestinian Keffiyehs in the US Despite Suppressive Targeting of Wearers

by Asmaa Elwahy

Showing support for the Palestinians, the sales of the keffiyeh, the distinctive patterned scarf that’s closely connected to Palestinian culture, have hiked since the Israel-Hamas war in October, U.S. distributors say, even as security forces have forcibly removed keffiyehs worn by some protests and wearers who faced both verbal and physical abuse.

 All 40 variations on the U.S. website, including many in bright colors and the traditional black and white, are sold out.

Online sales of keffiyeh scarves have risen 75% during the period from October 7th and Dec 2nd on, according to an e-commerce analytics firm Jungle Scout. Women seeking to purchase the Palestinian scarf increased by 159% in the last three months until December 4th, compared with the previous three months.

However, the media documented incidents of violence against the wearers, as the security officers approached protesters at the front of the crowd who had a banner, a Palestinian flag, and one wearing a keffiyeh, and grabbed all three items, taking the keffiyeh from around the neck of the protester.

Three Palestinian college students – two wearing keffiyehs – were shot in Burlington, Vermont, while taking a walk last month.  The Authorities have charged a suspect with attempted murder in the shootings and are investigating whether it was a hate-motivated crime.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations has documented several instances of people targeted for wearing a keffiyeh, from a father assaulted on a Brooklyn playground to a Harvard graduate student who was told she was wearing a “terrorist” scarf.

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