Apple Kills an App on Behalf of Israel

Apple is becoming a major diplomatic player. The company agreed to remove an iPhone app devoted to Palestinian insurrection, eliciting praise for "swift action" from Israel's public diplomacy minister. This sort of app removal is going to get tricky.

Apple kicked out the "Third Intifada" app at the request of Israel, after diplomats said protests featured in the app were violent. Israel praised Apple for "preventing violent incitement in the new media." But the company is now on a precarious path. What happens when a less palatable regime asks Apple to kill an app over allegations it promotes violent demonstrations? The company is hardly equipped to verify whether a protest halfway around the world is violent. This leaves it with an unsavory choice: risk facilitating bloodshed, or risk snuffing out a sympathetic, Egypt or Libya-style protest movement. And if Apple rebukes any other government, there will inevitably be charges it's biased toward Israel, America's main ally in the Middle East. Cupertino's armchair diplomats are in for a tough ride.

[Image of Intifada app, left, via iTunes. Photo of Apple store via Getty Images]