It’s clear, and has been clear for some time now, that government institutions do not understand the phrase “no such thing as bad publicity.” A letter has been sent by an Israeli minister directly to Apple CEO Steve Jobs himself asking that the company take down an app by the name of “ThirdIntifada” from the Apple App Store. An intifada literally means to jump up in reaction to something, but in this case it is a literal reference to the Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Generally a request to take down an app is done through the App Store’s customer support system, but Public Diplomacy Minister Yuli-Yoel Edelstein has decided in this case to go for a more classical means of communication in a direct letter to Jobs himself.
Writer Ari Rabinovitch has seen the letter in question in Jerusalem, and the publication of information about the letter has been done by Reuters. The letter itself indicates that the minister suspects Jobs of knowing full well what the app is capable of and that he and Apple should, therefor, be held responsible for any negative results the app should incur.
A bit of the letter as reported seen by Rueters reads thusly:
“I am convinced that you are aware of this type of application’s ability to unite many toward an objective that could be disastrous,” – Israel Public Diplomacy Minister Yuli-Yoel Edelstein to Steve Jobs in a letter to Apple
The app itself contains a stream of news bits and editorials that contain information on events such as upcoming protests. Videos and songs called Nationalistic by Rabinovitch have also appeared in the app. Edelstein said that several months ago, a similar setup appeared on Facebook coming from the same collective. This Facebook group has since been taken down by Facebook on the request of Edelstein, or so he says.
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon had a bit of a comment in recent days on the subject, he speaking with Israel Army Radio in the following quote: “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).”
What do you think?