Do you hate Israel? There’s an app for that.

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Do you hate Israel? Well, there’s an app for that.

Some time ago while preparing more apps for review on Jewish iPhone Community website, I got information that a new and interesting app showed up in App Store. This app was MyIsrael.

“Been there, from there, love there, live there? Show your pride in your heritage, homeland or favorite place to visit with MyIsrael” – recommended the publisher Richard de los Santos – “Share messages and photos with other users. You will also see comments/photos posted by other users. (…) View national news and information. Listen to the national anthem. Access country’s web site” – sounded very encouraging.

Screenshots showed information about the Lag Ba’Omer’s world: “Bonfires will be lit across the country on Saturday night in celebration of Lag Ba’Omer, a popular children’s festival commemorating several events in ancient Jewish history. “ I wouldn’t necessarily describe the holiday this way, but it is accurate enough, though. In the app I read about the “Jerusalem Day” that this is the anniversary “of the unification of Jerusalem”.  In “Messages” section we can find a declaration: “I love and support the nation of Israel… My hear(d)t  belongs  to Israel … God Bless Israel”.

You could think that this app is a cool idea if not for the next sentence from the developer’s notes: “The integrated Abuse button allows you to block anything offensive”. Notes like this can’t often be found in apps descriptions. Strange as it may be, there was completely nothing that could make you consider using this “Abuse button”.

Let’s have a look into developer’s portfolio then.  Splaysoft’s opus magnum is a series of applications called MyNation which, according to their makers, was created “to target the various cultures and people at the world directly. By distinguishing the app with a national identity our hope is to help foster a sense of patriotism and ultimately family”. An ambitious goal that is.

Apart from earlier mentioned MyIsrael app the family of MyNation includes:  MyKorea, MyLebanon, MySaudiArabia, MyKuwait, MySyria, MyEgypt, MyPakistan, MyUSA, MyChina, MyIndia, MyIran, MyIreland, MyRusia and few more. In the majority of those apps you can browse through idyllic holidays photos, parties, pretty oriental girls and smiling faces of good looking dudes. At least this is the kind of a picture that looms from advertising screenshots placed in AppStore.

But there is another reality there, too.  MyPalestine app is a world of terror, fear and hatred. It is not hidden in dark and remote corners of the app but jumps at you straight away on the AppStore website. The very first advertising screenshot vows to Boycott Israel – “Boycott Israel is good”. While installing the app, a pop up informs you that “this product contains material that may be objectionable to children under 17”. This only means that the developer and the AppStore owner know very well what’s inside.

This is just a summary of what you can expect when you open the app on your iPhone (a literal quotation):

“It doesnt matter who will do the Job. The Point is, that someone will do it. It is the only way to a peaceful World. A World without hews, is free World.”

“Israel will go down and get crushed inshallah!!! blood will flow up to the knees.”

“Long live palestine, death to “israel”, palestine will never go under inshallah.”

“Kill israel. Death to israel all jews to concentration camps heil hitler.”

“I hate jews.”

“We should destroy isaerl once and for all.”

You can even find there some “poets”: “From the river to the see, Palestine will be free!”. We can find there also few thoughts posted by the newest “peace activists”  from so called “Freedom Flotilla: “Turkiye filistine = f**k israil!”, “Turkiye=filistine – Allahu ekber!”

I may not be a lawyer, but I think that in the language of Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson would call it “encouraging to violence”. Not only is it against the constitution of USA but it is against the majority of  law systems regulating the life in any democratic communities. From my point of view this goes way beyond the limits of the freedom of speech. The developer may try to temper the points made in the app by occasionally adding statements like: “You are the app. The content is provided by you. The words, pictures and images you choose to share are up to you. Think about how your friends and the world see you.” But that doesn’t change much. The language used by the vast majority of visitors use is the language full of blind hatred.  No logical, historical, political of ethical points are capable of speaking to their minds.

A small number of users try to suggest a different nature of the chat:

“Peace in the Middle East”.

“Palestinians and Israeli’s can live in peace.”

“We must work to help our Israeli brothers and sisters understand us. We have to see each other as human beings, only then can we begin to understand the other side. Calling for the death of Israel only shows as much ignorance as those who classify all Palestinians as terrorists. Let’s work together to encourage more dialogue and understanding of the truth.”

“I can’t believe this is 2010.  Use your iPhones for something good. Like call your mothers”.

The sentence ending the developer’s note: “have some fun, and share your pride and insight about your country (or adopted country) with your fellow countrymen and visitors” what in the whole context of this software sounds like a mean irony.

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I wanted to react with encouraging boycotting the app when I saw it for the first time. But it came to me that it would contradict all my life’s guidelines. The only thing that I need from the developer and Apple, as the owner of the AppStore, is to remove the advertising screenshots which call for Israel boycott, full information about the anti-Israeli contents and moderating of user’s statements, what is a common practice in the majority of self-respecting contemporary media.

Presenting advertising materials of such an app (developer) and their acceptance for publishing (Apple) from my point of view is a clear,  political act.

Let’s end with the following quotation from MyPalestine: “The only thing you get in return for hating others is hate. People will hate you if you hate them.  Why don’t you love your fellow human being? Aren’t we all brothers and sisters? You need to see the world through the eyes of others, not just your own.”

Robert Pass (Mati Szmidt contributed to this report)




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