Kmart Australia pulls Christmas 'Merry Ham-Mas' ham bag from shelves after criticism from Australian Jewish Association

The 'Merry Ham-Mas' ham bag against stock image of a Kmart store
The retailer has apologised "unreservedly" for any offense caused. Photo credit: Getty Images / Kmart

Kmart has issued an apology after Australia's Jewish community took issue with a Christmas 'ham bag' that appeared to accidentally promote the terrorist organisation, Hamas.    

The AU$4 Christmas 'ham bag', emblazoned with the slogan, 'Merry Ham-Mas', is now being removed from the retailer's shelves across the ditch.  

Hamas is the Palestinian militant group responsible for the October 7 attack on Israel that resulted in thousands of deaths and saw hundreds taken hostage, including many children. The attacks sparked further conflict, with the Israeli military retaliating with extensive aerial bombardment and ground invasion of the Gaza Strip.   

More than 1400 Israelis, mostly civilians, and more than 10,000 Palestinians, the majority being women and children, have reportedly been killed in the fighting.

On Wednesday, the Australian Jewish Association took to X (formerly known as Twitter) to castigate Kmart for the "embarrassing stuff-up", adding that they had written to Wesfarmers - the owner of Kmart Group - to suggest the product be pulled amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.

"Check out the special Christmas bag currently available via K-Mart online. Yes, it's real!" the tweet read. "Although this is potentially funny (the AJA committee has tossed around some non-PC jokes) it's really not a good look.

"We suspect some product manager may cause the company some embarrassment."

In a statement to 7 News, a spokesperson for Kmart said the retailer apologises "unreservedly" for the offense caused by the product, admitting it "got it wrong on this occasion".

"When designing this product, we clearly didn't think through all the implications and the product has been removed from sale," the spokesperson said.    

In an interview with The West Australian, Australian Jewish Association president David Adler applauded Kmart for their quick response and prompt removal of the product.

The 'Merry Ham-Mas' ham bag
The 'Merry Ham-Mas' ham bag is being removed from Kmart's Australian stores. Photo credit: Kmart

"It's not normal times, there are people that will distort things and will harass the Jewish community," Adler told the outlet. "Of course, there are bigger issues to be addressed, dealing with the actual terrorism is important but one of the other things we are dealing with is propaganda.   

"I want to give credit to Kmart management as they acted very quickly."   

In a tweet on Thursday, one X user said the bag was still available in their local Kmart but couldn't be purchased at the self-checkout.    

At the time of writing, the 'Merry Ham-Mas' bag is not available on Kmart New Zealand's website.