Apple pulls ‘Jew or Not Jew’ app from French store


An iPhone app called “Jewish or not Jewish” has been pulled from Apple’s French App Store. (© Paul Hackett / Reuters/REUTERS)
September 15, 2011

Apple has pulled an app that enabled French users to look through a database of celebrities and public figures and identify whether or not they are Jewish.

The app was taken down after drawing protests from a French anti-racism group, SOS Racisme, which said that Apple should be more careful about which apps it approves for sale on its Apple Store France.

The app topped the most-downloaded list, and the group questioned whether the app violated France’s laws about compiling personal information without consent, the Associated Press reported.

Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr told the Wall Street Journal that the company has pulled the app because it “violates local law.”

The application is still available for download in the U.S. App Store, for $1.99.

According to the Journal report, the app was created by a Franco-British developer who identifies as Jewish. “I often ask myself whether this or that celebrity is Jewish or not,” Johann Levy told the paper.

Levy isn’t alone. A post on Reddit last year showed that “Jewish” is a very common auto-suggestion if you type “Is [celebrity]” into Google.

Apple has faced problems with its App Store in the past — a “gay cure” app, anti-Israel app and drunk- driving checkpoint app have all drawn criticism and prompted the company to take down the first two applications.

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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