Brooklyn City Councilman Steve Levin on Wednesday said a Greenpoint jewelry would stop selling earrings with a swastika design.
"I am pleased that Bejeweled has heeded my call to remove these earrings from their shelves," Levin said. "Any other city retailers who sell these earrings should remove them from your shelves and help us remove the hate from our city.”
Levin was reacting to a report on The Gothamist web site about the earrings. When The Jewish Week contacted the store, Bejeweled, on Tuesday an employee said the earrings represented a Buddhist symbol and referred the call to a manager at another location, Sue, who said that while she had not seen the earrings in question, “it means prosperity and good luck.” Declining to give her full name, she said she would consider removing them when she visited the other store.
Young Sook Kim, the owner Bejeweled, initially defended the earrings claiming that the swastikas represented eternity in Tibetan culture.
"It's not a Nazi symbol," Kim told FoxNews.com. "I don't know what's the problem. My earrings are coming from India as a Buddhist symbol."
Ken Stern, director of the American Jewish Committee's division on anti-Semitism and extremism, disagreed.
"It's a symbol associated with the death of 6 million people," Stern said. " If I were running the shop, I would choose not to sell them."
Kim agreed on Wednesday to stop selling the product after meeting with Levin.
"One of the most discouraging and disgusting examples of hate in our city is the recent rash of anti-Semitic vandalism in Brooklyn and Manhattan,” said Levin Tuesday. “The fact that a young person could walk into a store in Greenpoint and spend $5.99 on a pair of swastika earrings only serves to promote and extend the recent resurgence of anti-Semitism in New York."
The swastika was used by many ancient cultures before the Nazis adopted a version of it for their flag in the 1930s.
JTA contributed to this report.
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