'French iPhone application is arguably anti-Semitic'

Weisenthal Centre slams "Jew/Non-Jew" app, which classifies public figures as "both parents Jewish," "half-Jewish," "convert," or "non-Jew."

September 18, 2011 12:16
1 minute read.
A woman uses her iPhone 4 for Web surfing

iPhone 4 311 R. (photo credit: REUTERS/Truth Leem)


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PARIS - "A new weapon in the war against the Jews is the mobile telephone," said Shimon Samuels, Director for International Relations of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Paris.

"On the heels of last month's Orange-France service provider's, 'Welcome to the Palestinian Territories,' SMS to clients arriving at Tel Aviv airport, now Apple-France has launched an arguably anti-Semitic application on its iPhone," he added.

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"Jew/Non-Jew" has been marketed by App Store, at 79 euro cents, ostensibly, as a census of Jewish personalities. The original file of 3,500 names is growing, as figures are identified as "both parents Jewish," "half-Jewish," "convert," "non-Jew," etc. Its creator, Johann Levy argued that he wished only to show the great contribution of Jews to France.

Former Police Commissioner, Sammy Ghoslan, who is President of National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism (BNVCA),  the Wiesenthal Centre's French affiliate, had protested the Orange network's SMS, leading to an apology and its removal.

In the Apple case - though the App Store claims to have suspended sales as a result of protest - the BNVCA has called upon the National Commission for Information Technology and Liberties (CNL) to launch legal proceedings against Apple-France.

BNVCA is charging that the file is illegal as it is based on "origin". Censuses probing ethnic, religious or other group identities violate French law.

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