European rabbis as well as Israel's Minister of Public Diplomacy have criticized Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) for publishing and selling an Arabic-language app of "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," probably the best-known anti-Semitic forgery.
"The Protocols" can be downloaded for 99 cents from the App Store maintained by the Cupertino, Calif., company, which is the world's most valuable. Apple shares Monday set their latest record high of $663.08, bringing its market capitalization above $621 billion.
Apple has declined comment. The company reports more than 500,000 apps are available from the App Store for downloading to various models of the iPhone.
The app, produced by the Innovation Group, declares "The Protocols" to be a forgery. One of the most virulent anti-Jewish tracts ever published, it tells of a global Jewish conspiracy for world dominance. Created in the 19th century, "The Protocols" was circulated in Czarist Russia and Nazi Germany and remains a staple of anti-Semitic groups.
The Conference of European Rabbis denounced the sale and urged Apple to stop making it available. "To disseminate such hateful invective as a mobile app is dangerous and inexcusable," said its president, Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, who said it should be studied by academics in its proper context. The conference represents European Orthodox rabbis.
U.S. rabbinical groups as well as their affiliates including the Orthodox Union, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and the Union for Reform Judaism haven't commented on the issue. They didn't respond for comment immediately Monday.
In Jerusalem, Yuli Edelstein, Israel's Minister of Public Diplomacy, urged Apple to stop selling the app. "They wouldn't allow pedophilia and pornography in their networks," he told the AP. "They shouldn't allow xenophobia, anti-Semitism or racism."
Last week, Facebook (Nasdaq: FB), the No. 1 social networking site, removed content posted by Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite Muslim group designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. Department of State after complaints by the Anti-Defamation League in New York.
A Facebook representative said the material that linked to Hezbollah radio station Al-Manar in Lebanon had been taken down because of the group's placement on the terrorist list, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported.
Apple and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), the No. 1 search engine removed Al-Manar apps from their App Stores in July for the same reasons. Al-Manar, though, offered indirect methods to obtain the same materials.
Shares of Apple traded recently at $662.81, up $14.70, while Facebook shares rose 32 cents to $19.37.
David Zielenziger is a veteran editor and journalist who has written for newspapers including the Baltimore Sun, Asian Wall Street Journal and EETimes, as well as for...