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Apple Cuts 'Jew or Not?' App in France

The Apple corporation has removed a mobile application called “Jew or Not?” from its online App Store in France.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 9/15/2011, 12:32 PM

The Apple corporation has removed a mobile application called “Jew or Not?” from its online App Store in France. The iPhone application is intended to allow the user to consult a database of public personalities and celebrities to determine whether or not they are Jewish.

SOS Racisme, a French non-governmental organization (NGO), filed a formal complaint with the company, according to the Associated Press, and threatened to sue the firm if it was not removed. The app violated French laws protecting citizens' rights to privacy and banning compilation of their personal information, including religion, without consent, the complaint stated.

Other groups involved in pressuring the iPhone maker to remove the app included a council representing French Jewish institutions known as Crif and the French Jewish students' union.

“This app violates local law and is no longer available on the app store in France,” said Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr in response to inquiries. It is, however, still available in app stores outside of France, including the United States, despite American laws that regulate hate speech.

The creator of the software, engineer Johann Levy, says that he himself is Jewish and wanted to provide a “recreational” tool for people who were curious about the religious backgrounds of those who are famous. He compiled information that he found mainly on the Internet in formulating the app.

The developer was clearly disappointed by the reaction to his app and added that he was unaware that he was doing anything illegal. He told the Wall Street Journal that he had no racist or anti-Semitic intentions.

“Juif ou pas Juif?” was available for download in France until Wednesday at a cost of 0.79 euro cents ($1.08).

Earlier this year, Apple, which also makes the iPad, was forced to remove an anti-Israel app that called for an Arab uprising against the State of Israel. The app was called 'The 3rd Intifada,' and echoed sentiments that reverberated on social networking sites all over the Internet, including numerous pages on Facebook and Twitter.