Culture, Global, Israel, Religion

The Kaffiyeh Yisraelit

The night I came up with my now infamous kaffieyh tzitzit (aka tallit kattan shel Shabbatai Tzvi) one of the thoughts that crossed my mind was to create a blue and white kaffieyh laden with Magen Davids instead of black diamonds. The scope of the project was well beyond my means, but it was one of those brain crack ideas I kept on the back-burner, awaiting the right moment in which I could finally pull it off.
Well, it looks like I’ve been beaten to the punch — and by someone coming from a very different place than I.
Personally, I conceptualized “the Jewish kaffiyeh” as an art piece — a commentary, if you will, on the nature of Jewish extremism in Israel, and what I viewed then as the narrowing gap between Jewish and Muslim extremists in the Occupied Territories.
For Mark Israel, creator of the kaffiyeh yisraelit, “The Khaffiya has become a trendy accessory among students but has obvious connections to the Arab cause preventing Jews from wearing it. Our idea was to produce an Jewish/Israeli version that would allow the wearer to identify themselves with Israel and at the same time be fashionable.” In that, Israel wanted “to allow Jewish people to wear this popular item without any reference to being a supporter of Arab or anti-Israel groups.”
As an art piece, I consider it an intellectual provocation — a think piece, if you will — particularly when contextualized within the safe setting of an art gallery. As a fashion accessory? I find it a somewhat troubling co-optation of a Palestinian symbol of resistance — one with a lot of baggage, as the kaffiyeh rises in ascendancy on the far-Right and the far-Left as a symbol of explicit hostility towards Israel and its supporters.
Let alone the fact that, in hipster enclaves such as Berlin and Brooklyn, the kaffiyeh is so ubiquitous it’s already passe, as a fashion item it is viewed by many in the Palestinian solidarity movement as a trivialization of the Palestinian struggle. As an explicitly pro-Israel rendition of a “fashionable” kaffiyeh? Frankly, I’d be afraid to walk the streets in one of these. You’re just looking for a fight.
That said, I’m still going to get one. But only because I thought of it first. 😉
Pre-orders, props, and hate mail can be directed to mark at bianca-alena dot co dot uk.

50 thoughts on “The Kaffiyeh Yisraelit

  1. If any of you want to join the growing number of Chavereem who wish to purchase and wear the Khaffiya yisraelit.. so get in touch with me for details! as for the Model well she’s still in the Army for while!

  2. If the far left and far right meet somewhere and shake hands, there’s probably something wrong with the people in between that’s pissing both sides off. (I know that from being a libertarian)

  3. Mobious The Khafiyya Yisralit was the idea of Moshe ” Mookie” Harel I was not the creator I meerly gave my design input. so as they say
    ” credit where it’s due, but never give a Jew credit”!
    The responce has been amazing by those who want to buy them, unlike the USA we Jews in Europe face more dangers from Terrorists and Anti Semitic attacks but I have not heard anyone feel scared to wear one and anyway those who choose do wear them in places or situations where conflict may occur I am sure can handle themselves against those who prefer seeing Jews walking about with their heads bowed and keeping a low profile!

  4. I had a Kefiya years ago, got it in 1998 in Argentina. Truth is, they are very practical for winter. I gave it up when I converted, but miss it every winter.
    I might have to grab one.

  5. Prior to the first intifada, many Israelis wore kheffiyehs when venturing out into the desert, and I do remember seeing them back then as middle-eastern “fashion” accessories that connected Israel to its place in the Middle East– much like Mark is envisioning. It was later when it became a political statement.
    I can’t determine how someone else might see it, and I understand all the concerns stated here and on Ortho-Anarchist about trivialization and disrespect, etc., but I define things for myself and I choose “connectedness” not “co-opting” — and I love it.

  6. The Kaffiya is gaining more and more excitement and many Jewish pulications are now proposing to feature it,.
    Surprisingly I have no bad comments or negative remarks in fact many people have stated that it does stand up in it’s own right and hopefully nutralised the current negative identity of the Kaffiiya by winning it back as it was just a middle eastern garment not Arab terrorist garb or Palestinian Arab national costume.
    Arafat made it famous by adopting it from the Beduin He also adopted allot of things from other ” people ” including many realities concerning Jewish national rights and Jewish middle eastern History.
    Fact is Jews are routed in the Middle East and appart from being an attractive accessory it is an expression of our etnic identity.
    Has any one wondered about the origins of a Tallit, that may have been the original Kaffiya!

  7. Not Tzitziot, but A Tallit , as it was supposed to represent what tribe you belonged to by the weave of the stripes.
    As for stealing from the Egyptian I would have put it as got the idea from them or adopted it.
    I have 2 new items coming out soon to accompany the Khaffiya, try and create them before me this time!

  8. This is a new attempt by Israel to steal Palestinian National Heritage, after the stolen Palestinians uniforms ,and folklore and proverbs, which said that the Jewish origin,The Palestinian Popular fast food distributed as a popular Jewish cuisine,but that nuts, olive and switch Palestinian and Arab become distributed nationally as a producer and Israelis.The selection of designer Israeli headdress exciting because it has been the symbol of the Palestinian struggle for Busha rebels Palestinians in 1936 and became a symbol of Palestine in international fora,especially after the milestone of the late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat., which was worn in a form similar to the historical map of Palestine.

  9. Ok. Israel stole arab land, arab food, arab curse words, even arab bellydance, and now the keffiyeh. Its no problem though! immitation is the highest form of flattery and i like this keffiyeh so much that i’m going to get one, wear it, and ‘steal’ our shit right back!
    Great Idea Mark!

  10. To all my Arab Sadiquis who belive that we Jews stole your culture and land, all I can say is look into things a little more closely and you will notice as we are part of the Middle East and have always been, that is why Jews have been a strong contributor to Arab culture too.
    Look at Islam for example where did the idea for that come from? or Christianity for that matter. check out Music, medicine and a host of other subjects, along with Arab invasion and occupation of the lands from other Semitic peoples who also gave you what you consider yours.
    Falafel is an invetion of the Coptic Christians of Eqypt! glass The Phoenicians, Bronze the Assyrians etc not the Arabs.
    3.5 Million Israelis are decended from Jews who onced lived in Arab lands before they were etnic cleansed from them, I wish you guys abopted some of customs such as absorbing the refugese that are left rotting in camps arround the Middle East.
    Have you ever considered what happed to the 1,000,000 Jews from Arab lands or what ever happend to their homes, Land, possessions, Businesses, Synagogues, personal possessions, live stock or graves of family members?
    And you talk about us for stealing!

  11. about time we had somthing to laugh about together,I dont take such things so serious it if anything is a compliment and a well though up idea so lets show how we Arabs can share such a joke as well as anyone

  12. I also want a photo and comment sent to me by those who buy them, to post on my site asa sort of “Khaffiya Club”
    I have sold them all over the Diaspora and Israel, I would love to share these images on my site, the crazier the location the better, I will leave it to you guys
    Shabbat Shalom

  13. heyyyy we love the kaffiya but what has shaptie zvi got to do with it he is the prime example of an evil jew so now we got that out of the way let us know how u intend to supply the kaffiya ,il take a few 4 starters

  14. Thanks to all those who are purchaising the Khaffiya, it is strating to gain allot of popularity and more and more people are showing their interst and wearing them!
    blue and white looks also looks allot better than the red or black with white versions anyway as they look rubbish as they represent terror not national identity!

  15. Mark, you should market the keffiah alot more. Maybe a Google ad. I think VERY many people would be interested in this product that havent heard of it.

  16. Reply to Ari Freek, Steal?, No I invented it, but if your talking about steeling Ali Baba then what about land and homes in Iraq that was taken away along with the land, homes & properties belonging to over 1,000,000 Jews who lived in the Arab world but were ethnic cleansed by the Arabs?
    When Israel was declared there were no Arab refugese, The refugese were created by Arabs who could not accept Jewish self determination.
    We dont keep our people in camps after 60 years and Israeli arabs are better off than Palestinian arabs living in the Arab world!
    dont make me laugh!

  17. This is the rub for me…
    Whether you sympathize with the Palestinian cause or not, wearing a kaffiyeh while sitting in a campus bar in Toronto or LA hardly constitutes activism to me…
    It is so often the case that political issues become fashion statements — Brad Pitt builds houses in New Orleans and adopts children from impoverished countries… you get the idea.
    In my view to really understand an issue you have to physically go to the place where it is taking place; in Israel, for example, things are very, very complicated, and wearing scarves or buttons saying this or meaning that has little effect to my mind.
    And this goes for Westerners, whether they be Jewish, evangelicals, “secular Christians” Muslim or Arab, as well, for that matter for Muslims and Arabs in other countries, who have never been to the Levant itself…

  18. I’ve ordered the Kaffiyah Yisraelit ages ago, and supposedly problems with productions in Israel. What’s the problem??

  19. I’m Israel right now and would like a Kaffiyeh Yisraelit. anyone know where to find one in israel? id rather go their and get it for grushim than have to pay the 12+ euro on the website..

  20. Vous les israĂ©liens vous Ă©tes contre tout ce qui est Arabe ou musulmans, il vous suffit PAS encore de massacrer les enfants de gaza? alors vous commencer a la Keffiah?? vous ĂȘtes bizarre comme peuple franchement.
    au moins les arabes ils ont ici avec nous en Europe, on les connais trĂšs bien, c’est des gens sympa, mais vous les israĂ©liens vous osez mĂȘme pas dire que vous ĂȘtre juif?
    soyez un peu raisonnable et réalistes

  21. they seriously need to mass produce this in Israel. I’m sick of seeing these hipster activists rocking their keffiyahs in solidarity with a people who deny the existance of their brother’s culture. yes, the jews and palestinians are natives to the middle east. except jews are natives to THE LAND OF ISRAEL (biblical) which the palestinians migrated to from surrounding lands (modern day jordan and syria). Desert dwellers wore the keffiyah, then resistance fighters, both jewish and arab. I thought the Israeli keffiyah was pretentious but now I think it is essential to combating ignorance. I hope someone will walk up to me when I have mine on and ask me about it, and I can tell them that the Palestinians are claiming right to something that was never theirs solely to begin with, just like the land…

  22. HI Mark, and all those in support of him.
    Firstly can i say that this is quite frankly the strangest thing i have ever seen. Firstly you are killing these innocent people and now you are stealing the Kaffieyh and turning it into a jewish/israel fashion piece. How hypocrytical is that, or offcourse thats right it was probably yours to begin with. Seriously grow up the world needs peace, not haters, the past is the past, the world is for everyone, not just jews. So please be humain and consider that whilst your wasting your time having fun about stolen fashion pcs, CHILDREN ARE DYING. Perhaps you could donate some of your money to the poor palestinian children that are left with nothing because of your government, have you stopped and thought about that for just 1 second?

  23. The next batch of ” New Improved” khaffiyya are on their way and I appologise to the many hundreds of people who have been awaiting to order them,but the new ones are fantastic, I have listed all those who wish to buy them and you will be hearing from me very soon.
    The responce to them has been tremendous not only from Jews but many more non Jews including many Arabs! Shukaran Sadiqim.
    The new version is made by an Arab factory who already manufacture the traditional Arab versions in Red/white and Black/White so any critism of me exploiting Arabs is a bit missguided as what better proof do people need of Jewish Arab co-oporation and mutual benifit.
    I cant speak for the factory owners but I am sure they contribute funds to worthy Charities, as for me I have been part of a Charity that helps disavataged Jewisgh and Arab children in Israel, so in theory some of the money recieved from Khaffiya sales has infact benifited Arab children.
    I suggest those concerned with the welfare of the polulation of Gaza advise them to go into Khaffiya production and stop producing rockets to fire on Israelis.
    I want to see hundreds of thousands of people wearing the Khaffiya Yisraelit to promote peace and co-existance to show all those out for our destruction that Jewish fashion is stronger than Arab Facsism!
    I look forward in reciving your pre-orders
    Shalom to you all!

  24. Greetings: As a person who has, surprise, both longtime Jewish and Moslem friends here in Canada, I am happy to see an Israeli khaffiyya being produced. How I wish both sides could live together in peace.
    However, my Moslem friends are what I call moderates. They are not extremists in the least.
    Could you please tell me what is changed in the New Improved” khaffiyya Yisralit?
    And how I can I get one or two?
    Many thanks, and best wishes
    Best regards, Rob Williamson

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