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Rabbinical group seeks anti-Semitic text removal from iTunes

updated 01:20 am EDT, Wed August 15, 2012

Controversial 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion' in app form

The Conference of European Rabbis, representing Orthodox Jewish congregations, is petitioning Apple to remove a mobile app version of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The work is a a historical -- but completely fictional -- "exposť" on a secret Jewish conspiracy to take over the world. The group says that making the text available in this form makes it more likely that it would be misused by conspiracy theorists and bigots.

Egypt-based developer Innovation Group does include a disclaimer that the contents of the application have been described as "a forgery," but does not disavow the work's anti-Semitic nature. The Rabbinical group's leader, Pinchas Goldschmidt, admits the text of the book should be available to academics to study in its proper context, but "to disseminate such hateful invective as a mobile app is dangerous and inexcusable."

Israel's Minister of Public Diplomacy Yuli Edelstein said Apple shouldn't allow such material on the iTunes market. "They wouldn't allow pedophilia and pornography on their networks," he told The Associated Press. "They shouldn't allow xenophobia, anti-Semitism or†racism." Apple has a policy preventing racist, intolerant, or discriminatory content on the App Store, at Apple's sole discretion.

As an example, the "Manhattan Declaration" application authored by an ultra-conservative Christian group was rejected by Apple content monitors (after public pressure over its initial approval), as the app would "expose a group to harm" and the intent of the app was to be "objectionable and potentially harmful to others."

Another example is the "Jew or Not Jew" database application purged from the French App Store for violating Apple guidelines on acceptable application content. Specifically, applications must be legal in the country in which they is sold. While books and songs are lightly curated, Apple has granted itself the power to reject apps "for any content or behavior that we believe is over the line," which it acknowledges is a subjective matter.

The Protocols, which began circulating in Europe at the turn of the 20th century, purports to lift the lid on a secret Jewish conspiracy to take power from non-Jews. The publication has been thoroughly and repeatedly debunked, but it endures as a staple of anti-Semitic rhetoric among neo-Nazis and other anti-Jewish extremists.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. marcoskirsch

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 02-16-11

    The work is a a historical -- but completely fictional -- "exposé" on a secret Jewish conspiracy to take over the world.

    This book has historically been used to justify pogroms against jews throughout the centuries. It is widely quoted or used as a basis for TV shows in the Arab world. It has caused incredible hatred and destruction and suffering. It is historical in the same sense Hitler's Mein Kampf is historical. I don't think you will find Mein Kampf in the App Store.

  1. DrSkywalker

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 03-29-11

    Hrrmm. I don't see it being all that black and white. Hate literature is one thing, but fiction is fiction. Those who have a problem with you, regardless of race, creed or political views, will find (or create) anything to support their claims. This is a consequence of having a free speech society, and it's a slippery slope to start on. I think it more behooves those who feel that they may be slighted to be vocal and make their case for the reality of the situation, and to bring awareness of the realities to the public at large.

  1. reader50

    Administrator

    Joined: 06-01-00

    Here's an idea. A bookstore or library that does not censor, but leaves filter controls solely in the hands of the customer (or parent). We could call this "free speech" or "freedom of the press" - I think it would be a good idea. One might write it something like this:
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    btw, this part needs some work:

    Originally Posted by NewsPosterView Post

    Specifically, applications must be legal in the country [color=red]in which they is sold.[/color]

  1. sunman42

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 11-09-11

    Read Umberto Eco's "The Prague Cemetery," for an equally fictional, but far more entertaining, story of the Protocols' origin. It does, however, contain a number of references to the earlier works of antisemitic vitriol form which the Protocols borrowed extensively.

  1. sunman42

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 11-09-11

    Some countries, due to sad experience, have decided that free speech is not without limits. I believe US Supreme Court Justice O.W. Holmes had a similar opinion: Crying "fire" in a crowded theater when there is no fire is not a legitimate exercise of free speech.

  1. I Wonder Why

    Registered User

    Joined: 02-13-09

    "...As an example, the "Manhattan Declaration" application authored by an ultra-conservative Christian group was rejected by Apple content monitors (after public pressure over its initial approval), as the app would "expose a group to harm" and the intent of the app was to be "objectionable and potentially harmful to others."
    --------
    What a pile of bunk. It was not an "ultra-conservative Christian group," it was a cross-denominational evangelical group led by the late Charles Colson, formerly of Watergate fame. Radical gays mounted a overhyped publicity campaign against the signers of the Declaration, calling it hate speech. Read it for yourself and you will see that it's nothing of the sort: http://manhattandeclaration.org/the-declaration/read.aspx

  1. SegNerd

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 07-27-12

    I applaud Apple's decision to remove this offensive item from iTunes. Free speech does not protect hate speech. I support free speech, but you still don't have a right to make false accusations against Jews and use them to incite anger.

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