Facebook has banned an advertisement promoting the Jewish High Holidays of Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur saying that the ad is “sexually provocative or overly suggestive”.
The ad, which was promoted by the Ariel Jewish Center, read: “High Holidays, Rosh Hashannah: First Day – Mon., Sept. 30 Yom Kippur: Tues., Oct. 8 (night) Wed., Oct. 9 (day) Register: 410-764-5000 or ARIELCENTER.org/services.”
The ad then linked to the following video:
In response, Facebook flagged the advertisement saying: “This ad isn’t running because it is sexually provocative or overly suggestive”.
To which the center’s Rabbi, Rabbi Belinsky responded facetiously: “Does anyone see anything sexually explicit?”
One commenter suggested: ” I am guessing the words “services”, “high”, “Ariel” set off the AI”.
Censoring innocuous Jewish causes and pro-Israel voices for that matter is nothing new on Facebook and social media in general.
Zahava Englard Shapiro, a pro-Israel activist and previous director of the One Israel Fund organization, told The Jewish Press that the social media site has barred her for allegedly offensive posts so many times that she “can’t even keep track as to how many times.”
“The most outrageous time,” she continued “was when Facebook sent me a notice about a post I had written three years before where I referenced Arab Muslim terrorism, stating a factual account. They claimed it did not conform to community standards, which is the same type of message I receive each time I am banned.
Alan Silver who lives near Jerusalem and runs a pro-Israel Facebook group with nearly 10,000 members – said he has been blocked “at least 15 times” since he registered to Facebook. He believes that he’s “been a target by organized Muslim groups” that bombard the social media site with complaints.
Right before Israeli elections in April, Facebook blocked the account of Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) Party member Itamar Ben-Gvir, claiming that he repeatedly violated the social network’s terms and conditions.