The Chabad-Lubavitch news outlet COLLive reported Thursday that advertising for a new adult education course on antisemitism offered by the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute (JLI) has been globally rejected by Facebook.
JLI Marketing Director Rabbi Zalman Abraham told the news outlet that some 50 Chabad emissaries and Chabad centers tried to schedule ads on Facebook to notify their local communities, but all were rejected.
The social media platform labeled the class – which uses history, Talmudic sources, Jewish mysticism, contemporary expert analysis and case studies to discuss the issue and strategies for fighting it – an issue connected to politics and “sensitive social issues.”
Oddly, Facebook had no problem posting at least five articles on fierce criticism and calls for the resignation of New York State Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs over a statement he made referencing former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. Jacobs had said that just as he would not feel compelled to endorse David Duke, were he to move to New York and win the Democratic primary for mayor of, say, Rochester, so too he feels no obligation to endorse India Walton, winner of the recent Democratic primary in the race for mayor of Buffalo and a woman of color.
One assumes that such an issue might be considered “political” as well as a “sensitive social issue,” but articles on the issue were seen posted on Facebook from timesunion.com, Syracuse.com, wnyt.com, democratandchronicle.com and audacy.com during a search Thursday by JewishPress.com.
“While we commend Facebook’s efforts to block hate speech across their platforms, it is frustrating that they have not yet figured out how to discern hate speech from its opposite and instead choose to shut down all conversations on the topic — including silencing the voices of our instructors who are working to educate the public in the struggle against the world’s oldest and longest-running hatred,” Rabbi Abraham told COLLive.
The course, “Outsmarting Antisemitism: How to Beat it with Purpose, Positivity and Jewish Pride,” will take place this November in more than 500 Chabad Centers worldwide.