Israel wants Taiwan 7-Eleven to drop Hitler lookalike

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The de facto Israeli embassy in Taiwan Tuesday called on 7-Eleven to remove products sporting a Hitler lookalike, but the convenience store chain said it had not yet decided if it would do so.

The appeal came after key rings and magnets, featuring an Adolf Hitler-style cartoon figure with what appeared to be a short black moustache, emerged at several 7-Eleven outlets across the island.

During an interview with local reporters Tuesday, Simona Halperin, the representative of the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei, said she hoped to see the controversial items removed from the shelves.

President Chain Store Corp, which runs 7-Eleven in Taiwan, said it had not decided if it would remove the products, but denied the images were meant to represent the German dictator.

"It's not a moustache, but a nose," a company official said, referring to the black square in the middle of the figure's face. On Monday, she had described the black spot as a "tooth".

Mark Lee, a blogger who created the cartoon figure, told AFP late Monday that the creation was indeed inspired by Hitler, but said he had no intention of promoting Nazi ideology.

East Asian pop culture and commercial art has a long history of fascination with Hitler and the Nazis.

Occasionally, Hitler turns up in Asian advertisement campaigns, and in the 1990s a pub called "Nazi Bar" was briefly in operation in Taipei.

© 2011 AFP

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