Who´s who and who´s Jew?
By Hans Olav Arnesen
There´s no question that Jews are an enterprising people and that they seem to be overrepresented amongst notable academics, busenissmen, play-writes, actors and so on. Naturally this is a source of pride amongst Jews, but probably also the cause of a number of discussions and arguments amongst both Jews and gentiles about whether or not a particular public person really is Jewish or not. Johann Levy decided to solve this problem once and for all, by developing an iPhone application where you can determine whether a person is Jewish or not:
«I’m not a spokesman for all Jews, but as a Jew myself, I know that in our community we often ask whether such and such celebrity is Jewish or not.»
Not everyone was as thrilled over this application however. Antisemitic violence is growing in Europe, and a number of virulent conspiracy theories are based on the presumption that an Jewish elite is running the World and manipulating international politics and economic affairs. In connection to the 10 year commemoration of the World Trade Center attacks there has been a number of theories about Mossad being behind the disaster, (last year they were even given the responsibility for shark attacks outside the Red Sea coast of Egypt), and a survey made in 2009 showed that a third of the 3500 Europeans asked thought that Jews were somehow responsible for the economic crisis the World is going through. A stunning 74 % of the Spanish respondents affirmed that they thought Jews held to much sway over economic affairs.
Maybe its these concerns that made the French anti-racism organisation, SOS Racism, threaten Apple with a lawsuit unless the withdrew the application from the market. Which they did. Johan Levy, himself a Jew, disagrees with his application being racist and according to the BBC he claims its recreational:
«For me, there’s nothing pejorative about saying that someone is Jewish or not.»
In France, and many other European countries, the idea of keeping lists on religious minorites is tainted by the experiences from World War 2 however. It is probably these concerns rather than Levys intentions that prompted the ban on the application. French Jews, or gentiles, that are curious about whether a celebrity is Jewish or not can still use this, non-affiliated web-site however, with the almost identical name: Jew or not Jew. This web site might be a little less accurate, but makes up for it with being more humorous and by giving celebrities a «Jew score» according to following criteria:
«We evaluate how Jewish a person is based on three factors. How Jewish they are internally, how Jewish they are externally and how much we want that person to be a Jew in the first place.»