Technology giant Apple has removed a controversial application called ‘Jew or Not Jew’ from its App Store in France following objections from activists and religious groups that it is racist and violates French law. The iPhone application which was launched in early August allowed users to identify French celebrities as Jewish by dipping into a database of famous Jews, including movie stars, musicians, Nobel Prize winners and many more. A 35-year-old developer who is himself Jewish and holds both British and French nationality, said that the app was not discriminatory.

The action was initiated after repeated threats of legal action against the company from an anti-racism groups, SOS Racisme, the Union of French Jewish Students (UEJF) and the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF). Johann Levy, a 35-year-old developer who is himself Jewish and holds both British and French nationality, said that the app was not discriminatory. He said that it was a “recreational” tool designed for curious users who wanted an insight into the religious affiliations of famous people.

Explaining the company’s action, Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr, said, “This app violates local law and is no longer available on the app store in France.” According to critics, the iPhone app breaches the French privacy laws that prohibit compiling details about people’s identities and religious beliefs without their permission.

Violates French law:- The iPhone application which was launched in early August allowed users to identify French celebrities as Jewish by dipping into a database of famous Jews, including movie stars, musicians, Nobel Prize winners and many more. According to critics, the iPhone app breaches the French privacy laws that prohibit compiling details about people’s identities and religious beliefs without their permission.

Tom Heneghan, religious editor at Reuters’s Paris bureau, explained, “Not identifying people by an ethnic or religious category is a policy that goes back to the French Revolution, when both the state and the [Catholic] church were being fought against.

“When it comes to the classification of Jews, because of the memory of the Holocaust, it is all the more sensitive. No matter how trivial this app might seem, it goes against a very deep-seated policy.”

Recreational tool:- Meanwhile, Johann Levy, a 35-year-old developer who is himself Jewish and holds both British and French nationality, said that the app was not discriminatory. According to him, it was a “recreational” tool designed for curious users who wanted an insight into the religious affiliations of famous people.

He stated, “I’m not a spokesman for all Jews, but, being Jewish myself, I know that in our community we ask ourselves often if this or that celebrity is Jewish or not. For me, there’s nothing pejorative in saying publicly that this person or that person is Jewish. Instead, it’s something to be proud of.” The action was initiated after repeated threats of legal action against the company from an anti-racism groups, SOS Racisme, the Union of French Jewish Students (UEJF) and the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions.

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