Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Jew or Not Jew?

I saw an article today that disturbed me in the online edition of The Wall Street Journal. The article reported on an app for the iPhone (called "Jew or Not Jew?") that was just banned on France's app store. The application allows someone to identify whether a movie star, politician, key businessperson, journalist, etc. is Jewish.

The developer of the application is himself Jewish, and he is quick to point out he didn't develop the program for any racist or anti-Semitic purpose. On the app site (it's still available at Apple's online app store in the U.S.) he clearly states, "This app is only intended for fun. Nothing more! It does not aim to prove the superiority of any racial group. Remember that for each Jew listed in any one category there are many more equally talented non-Jews! The app simply shows that through hard work many Jews, often from immigrant families, have managed to achieve recognition."

I have no problem with his motives, nor do I have any problem highlighting the achievement of Jews. (Each week we feature an "Amazing Israel" segment on our radio program!) The impact of the Jewish people on the world has been far greater than one would expect from their relatively small population numbers as a percentage of the total world's population. I believe their impact is due, in part, to God's promised blessing on Abraham's descendants and, in part, to their commitment to education and hard work.

What concerns me is the reality that there are many in this world who will see a Jewish conspiracy behind such success. They already argue that the Jews control the media, financial institutions, and even entire governments. My fear is that such conspiracy theorists will use this app to validate their beliefs. This was never the intent of the designer, but it seems like those with anti-Semitic beliefs can use the application to justify their prejudice...and even possibly to identify specific targets for their hatred.

I wish this were not the case, but the sin nature is still alive and well in the human race. We don't need to make it any easier for individuals who might want to identify--and possibly harm--others because of their racial or ethnic background.

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