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French anti-racism groups drop lawsuit against Apple

updated 01:40 pm EST, Thu November 24, 2011

Groups say Apple has solved possible anti-Semitism

A coalition of four anti-racism groups said Thursday that it had dropped a lawsuit against Apple in France for hosting a controversial app claimed to be anti-Semitic. Attorney Stephane Lilti said Apple's decision to pull the app, "Juif ou pas Juif" ("Jew or Not Jew"), had solved the issue. While they believed the app was potentially racist in singling out Jewish celebrities, they had cited a French law banning the aggregation of sensitive details about people without permission.

The app had for a time still been available outside of France for some time but was eventually removed in "all countries," Lilti said.

France's law was created to prevent a repeat of ethnic targeting from World War II and has been adapted to discourage homophobia and other practices no longer considered acceptable.

In irony, the app had been developed by a Jew, Johann Levy, who saw it as a joke between fellow Jews who regularly wondered whether or not certain famous people were Jewish. [via AP]

by MacNN Staff



  1. Inkling

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Class bigotry too

    I'm not one to take bigotry lightly, since my great-great-great-grandfather was apparently lynched by the Klan in 1874, when the white supremacists in the Democratic party vowed to retake the South, "By bullets or by ballots." And his murder followed that of his father and sister during the 1860s. My grandmother, a descendant of theirs, was a sad, quiet and somber woman. She'd seen a lot of suffering.

    But unfortunately many of these European laws are woefully inconsistent. In the twentieth century, class bigotry was at least as murderous as racial bigotry, Pol Pot and the killing of Ukrainian "Kulaks" being two grim examples. And the horrors of communism are much closer to our time. Communism, as Reagan's Evil Empire, crushed freedom in Eastern Europe as recently as the late 1980s and several of today's most repressive regimes appeal to Karl Marx for their justification.

    Yet our European friends don't seem to be making any effort to ban class-based hate speech. If Germany bans the sale of Mein Kampf in anything other than heavily commented, critical, scholarly editions, why doesn't it do the same for Das Kapital? The latter is not only responsible for far more deaths, its pseudo-scientific style is more likely to deceive today than Hitler's dreadfully written and horribly dated book ever did.

    The fact that race-based nationalism peaked in appeal in the 1890s and eugenics (a once progressive cause) in the 1920s, while Marxism was most influential among intellectuals during the 1930s shouldn't matter. The evils of each was obvious from the start, as Chesterton's Eugenics and Other Evils (1922) demonstrated. And that evil has been amply proved by history. Europeans claim their censorship of racial speech was a lesson that history taught them, yet they seemed to have learned nothing from the rest of their history.

    Besides, about a decade ago, I watched Neo-n**** and Holocaust deniers on Seattle's open access cable channel. They regard these efforts at censorship as a badge of pride, a demonstration of the rightness of their perverted cause, and proof for them that Jews are too powerful. Blanket censorship rarely achieves its objectives. Disapproval, ridicule, and condemnation are much more effective tools. There's a lot of truth in the Jewish adage, "Keep your friends closer, your enemies closer." Not censoring makes it far easier to find out what those enemies are saying.

    And finally, banning the app seems particularly sad since its developer was a Jew with good intentions. Having lived in Israel for the better part of a year, I learned that ethnic jokes are most often told by the groups themselves as a form of self-criticism. This app seems to have had a healthy purpose, that of encouraging well-known Jews to be more open about their Jewishness. Conceding that Jewishness is something to be hidden is letting the bad guys win.

    And alas, that seems to be a part of my own history. One of my relatives, finding it impossible to trace his family roots past a certain point in the past, decided to have a DNA test for ancestry run. It came back, "Your are Jewish/Israeli." Sometime back in our shared family tree someone immigrated here, decided his Jewish name was a liability, noted that Randolph was a very respectable name at that time, and adopted it as his own.

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