Was Apple right in taking down an app calling for Israel’s destruction?
Apple will no longer sell The 3rd Intifada app.
The Intifada, Arabic for “shaking off,” refers to violent uprisings against Israel. The banned app calls for a third revolt, one organizers hope will crush the Israeli State once and for all. That’s obviously not a message Apple can or should condone, as Israel’s Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister pointed out this week.
“Upon review of the stories, articles and photos published by means of the application, one can easily see that this is in fact anti-Israel and anti-Zionist. Furthermore, as is implied by its name, the application calls for an uprising against the state of Israel,” Yuli Edelstein wrote in a letter to Steve Jobs and company.
Apple clearly agreed. They said this week that the app had been removed because it “violates the developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people.” Facebook made a similar decision in March and removed the 3rd Infitada’s page from their site.
This isn’t the first time Apple has succumbed to public pressure and removed an app from its popular store: the company took down the “gay cure” app earlier this year after LGBT activists rallied against the download’s unsafe, unethical recommendations.
In both cases, as with others, there is the ever-pressing issue of free expression and consumption. If technology is indeed going to pave the way for future democratic revolutions, shouldn’t it be open and independent, allowing people the freedom to pick and choose which information they want to consume?
Is Apple right in censoring the Intifada or any other app, or does the virtual realm require the same moral and political policing as the real world, like when Clear Channel yanked pro-Palestinian billboards earlier this year? Or does the Intifada’s intrinsically violent message deserve to be purged from the Internet all together?