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An Apple application that let users guess which French politicians or celebrities are Jewish was pulled from France’s App Store. but its American equivalent is still available.
French activist groups said the “Jew or Not Jew?” app violated bans on compiling information on people’s religion and revealing that religion without their consent, according to United Press International.
I still remember when Saturday Night Live introduced this as a mock game show almost 30 years ago! Those with long memories will recall that the show was hosted by Kurt Waldheim, then becoming infamous for having lied about his Nazi past. Frankly, I though it was hysterical. But perhaps that’s the point.
What’s funny in America may not be so funny in France, where Antisemitism is a much more prevalent and dangerous fact of life than it is in America. But is that really a sufficient argument?
I do appreciate that in France, far more likely than in the United States, the “Jew or Not Jew” game could be used in ugly ways. I just think that laws which prohibit such things mask very serious underlying problems, much more than they actually address them.
The problem is not the app per se — it is not in and of itself hateful or ugly. The danger lies in how it could be used by hateful and ugly people. Not having this app will not address the problem of their hate and ugliness. Not to mention that the app’s unavailability in the french-based app store does not mean that it will not be readily available in France. That’s one of the blessing and the burdens of the internet, right?
This seems like a well-intentioned, but totally unsophisticated response to a very real problem. And in this case the old adage about the road to Hell and good intentions seems pretty apt.