Computer and mobile-device giant Apple has removed an anti-Israel application from its download offerings after complaints by an Israeli minister and several Jewish organizations.
The ThirdIntifada application, available for free download from the Apple App Store, updates users on anti-Israel protests or allows them to organize their own. It also features anti-Israel articles and photos of terrorists who have attacked Israel or Israelis.
Apple, which initially approved the program, said in a statement to the New York Times on Wednesday that “We removed this app from the App Store because it violates the developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people.”
Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, said in an interview from Israel that he had sent a letter to Apple about the app but did not hear back from the company.
“They should be very conscious about not being in any way involved in promoting violence or hatred,” said Klein. “We’re very pleased they did the right thing and we hope they will be more careful and not allow this to happen again. As we have learned bitterly in the last several months, technology is a double-edged sword and can be used for good or bad.”
Israel’s Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, Yuli Edelstein, sent a letter to Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs, calling the application "anti-Israel and anti-Zionist."
"I believe Apple, as a pioneering and progressive company, places the values of liberty, freedom of expression and creativity as a guiding light. Also, as a leader in its area, I am convinced that you are aware of this type of application’s ability to unite many toward an objective that could be disastrous," Edelstein wrote.
In March, Edelman appealed to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to remove a page called "Third Intifada" that called for a new uprising against Israel. The page was subsequently removed, though copycat pages arose in its place.
Also calling on Apple to remove ThirdIntifda were the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Anti-Defamation League.
“They acted responsibly,” said the ADL’s Abraham Foxman, who was also in Jerusalem, of Apple. “We have to make sure [technology] providers have rules of civility and our job is to monitor and alert the when those rules are being violated. The problem is, even though we have Web monitors on staff, the problem is so widespread that it is very difficult to monitor.”
In a statement, Joel Lion, Israel’s consul for media affaors in New York, said “Apple’s decision to remove an application that is against both their Terms of Service and possibly the law, was clearly the right decision. What is wrong in any other forum is still wrong even in web 2.0”