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'A Jew or Not a Jew’ app may spur suit

Associated Press / September 15, 2011

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PARIS - A French antiracism group has threatened to sue Apple over an iPhone application called “A Jew or Not a Jew?’’ that allows users to consult a database of celebrities and public figures to determine whether they are Jewish or not.

SOS Racisme said the application, sold on the Apple Store France, violates France’s strict laws banning the compiling of people’s personal details without their consent.

Under the French penal code, stocking personal details including race, sexuality, political leanings, or religious affiliation is punishable by five-year prison sentences and fines of up to $411,870.

Such laws were enacted in the decades following the Holocaust, which saw some 76,000 Jews deported from Nazi-occupied France to concentration camps. Fewer than 3,000 returned alive.

In a statement, SOS Racisme called on Apple to remove the app the from its online store. Apple France and its European headquarters did not immediately return calls for comment.

Johann Levy, a 35-year-old Franco-British engineer of Jewish origin, developed the application, according to Le Parisien newspaper. “For me, there’s nothing pejorative about saying that someone is Jewish or not,’’ he said in an interview. “On the contrary, it’s about being proud.’’

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