A bug or intentional act? Apple gets embroiled in antisemitism row over Palestinian flag emoji - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

A bug or intentional act? Apple gets embroiled in antisemitism row over Palestinian flag emoji

ByShweta Kukreti
Apr 12, 2024 07:39 PM IST

Apple has found itself entangled in antisemitism controversy after iPhone suggested Palestinian flag emoji to some users when they type “Jerusalem” in text box.

Apple has found itself entangled in a controversy around antisemitism after iPhone users noticed that an emoji of the Palestinian flag gets displayed on the keyboard when they type the word 'Jerusalem'. However, the tech behemoth claimed that it was a result of a bug that will be addressed in the upcoming iOS software upgrade.

Apple is now facing accusations of antisemitism with British TV presenter Rachel Riley, a staunch supporter of Israel, blasting the American tech giant for "showing double standards".(Social Media)
Apple is now facing accusations of antisemitism with British TV presenter Rachel Riley, a staunch supporter of Israel, blasting the American tech giant for "showing double standards".(Social Media)

After millions of customers received an upgrade to their mobile operating system, Apple was accused of "showing double standards" towards Israel.

Unlock exclusive access to the latest news on India's general elections, only on the HT App. Download Now! Download Now!

Generally, when iPhone users enter the name of a country, an emoji flag representing that nation appears. However, this feature does not apply to city names as no flag appears when a user types in New York or Tokyo, no flag appears.

Also Read: Apple, Disney pause ads on X, White House reacts after ‘antisemitic’ Elon Musk post amid Israel-Hamas war

Apple accused of antisemitism: Understanding the context and controversy

The status of Jerusalem remains highly controversial as both Israel and Palestine claim its as their capital.

However, Israel has frequently been accused of exercising significant influence and utilising violence in the region in a bid to seize control. Notably, the city is divided between Israel and Palestine with Israel holding the western portion of the region and the UN recognising the eastern part as Palestinian territory.

Former US President Donald Trump faced intense backlash when he declared Jerusalem as Israel's capital in 2017, escalating the ongoing tensions in the region. The international community and Palestinian leaders denounced his move, calling it "deplorable and unacceptable measures (that) deliberately undermine all peace efforts."

The status of Jerusalem remains highly controversial as both Israel and Palestine claim its as their capital.(AFP)
The status of Jerusalem remains highly controversial as both Israel and Palestine claim its as their capital.(AFP)

Apple is now facing accusations of antisemitism with British TV presenter Rachel Riley, a staunch supporter of Israel, blasting the American tech giant.

In a post on X on Thursday, she highlighted the anomaly and noted that other capital cities usually do not trigger flag suggestions.

"Showing double standards with respect to Israel is a form of antisemitism, which is itself a form of racism against Jewish people," she complains. Riley further called on Apple Support and CEO Tim Cook to explain “whether this is an intentional act by your company or whether you have no control over rogue programmers.”

"In my opinion a multinational company like Apple would not want to admit publicly that this was an intentional act," Riley wrote, adding that she hopes "those responsible will no longer be working for the company".

She signed her post as “a Jewish woman concerned about the global rise in antisemitism.”

Also Read: Brooklyn synagogue tunnel: Jewish man regrets his viral video thread fuelled 'antisemitic propaganda'

Social media reacts as Apple stokes Palestinian flag emoji controversy

Reacting to the blunder, one X user slammed Apple, stating that “your ethics need a bug update”.

“Disgusting. Can you imagine? I mean it’s almost like saying “Israelis don’t exist”, thus denying them their identity in a shameful attempt to discredit and dehumanise them. Thankfully, during this terrible massacre, we are dealing with important stuff. Your ethics need a bug update,” he wrote.

“This was definitely not a bug, this was an intentional act and the culprit should be fired,” a second user wrote.

“This was definitely done deliberately but they will never admit it,” a third user said.

While few users call the move a “disappointment”, others said it is “too coincidental to be a bug”.

Meanwhile, in an interview with The Telegraph, a researcher at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem suggested that the problem could have been the result of "human intervention".

"There is nothing inherently wrong with associating Jerusalem with Palestinian belief, but Apple's choice of default settings warrants justification, especially considering the potential discriminatory implications of this decision," Tom Divon stated.

In retaliation for Hamas' cross-border attack on October 7, 2023, Israel declared war on Gaza. According to Israeli officials, Hamas killed 1,200 people and took nearly 250 people hostage.

Gaza's Health Ministry reported that over 33,000 Palestinians, including children and women, have been killed so far in the conflict.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, May 18, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On