Israel asks Apple to remove intifada phone app

Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:55pm EDT

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JERUSALEM, June 21 (Reuters) - An Israeli minister has asked Apple Inc (AAPL.O) to remove an Arabic-language application from its iTunes store that calls for a Palestinian uprising.

In a letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Public Diplomacy Minister Yuli-Yoel Edelstein said the application "ThirdIntifada" -- a reference to a future Palestinian uprising

-- passed on information about protests, some violent, planned -- passed on information about protests, some violent, planned against Israel.

"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 the letter seen by Reuters.

The application offers users a stream of news stories and editorials in Arabic, announces upcoming protests, and includes links to nationalistic Palestinian videos and songs.

Edelstein said the developers of the application had opened a similar page on Facebook three months ago that called for an uprising against Israel through the use of lethal force.

Edelstein said he complained to the social network which removed the page.

Israel has faced two large protests in recent months that turned deadly when Palestinians in Syria and Lebanon, spurred on by calls over the internet, tried to breach its borders.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said the creation of the Apple application and the Facebook page marked a new pattern in attempts to provoke violent attacks against the state.

"Companies like this that have a global reach also have a responsibility, and they are aware of this responsibility, and I am sure that Apple will act in the same way (as Facebook)," Ayalon told Israel's Army Radio.

(Writing by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

((ari.rabinovitch@reuters.com; +972 2 632 2202; Reuters Messaging: ari.rabinovitch.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: PALESTINIANS ISRAEL/APPLE

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Comments (4)
llarsen89 wrote:
Thats ridiculous IMO. Here in the USA we have something called “Freedom of Speech” and this falls right under that. Companies/Countries shouldn’t have the right to take any of that away.

Jun 21, 2011 4:49pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Lexifer wrote:
Apple’s going to have a tough time with this one, but there’s a simple answer: ignore them.

Yes – if they don’t do it, Israel supporters will boycott the company and try and smear Apple. They’ll never let it die.

If they do cave, however, they will set a precedent of caving to political pressure and could even be seen as a supporter of Israel – meaning they can kiss their mid-East presence goodbye and will piss off a bigger group of people.

Considering the mid-East (without Israel) is a bigger market than Israel, the good business decision is to ignore this. Their products stand by themselves as the best and they need not cave to anyone.

If Israel supporters want to try and make Apple look bad, they will have a long road. Israeli teens give up iTunes? Methinks not.

Jun 21, 2011 4:54pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
sru571 wrote:
llarsen89 – I don’t think you understand the 1st amendment because it doesn’t allow incitement to violence. Freedom for all is protection from harm also. If someone made an app to come after you and someone acted on that, would you think that is right?

Speech has it’s protections and limits, despite what you think.

Jun 21, 2011 6:26pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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