Facebook censorship targets right-wing publishing house 'Shibolet'

Without warning or explanation, Facebook removed Shibolet's advertising page.

Yehonatan Gottlieb ,

Rotem Sela, director of Shibolet
Rotem Sela, director of Shibolet
Miriam Tzahi

As if the coronavirus crisis wasn’t enough to contend with, publishing house Shibolet now has another struggle on its hands. Facebook, without warning, decided to remove its publicity page, without so much as offering an explanation for its abrupt move, sufficing with a brief notice that the company received last Shabbat.

Shibolet is an unabashedly conservative and right-leaning publishing house which specializes in translations into Hebrew of authors such as Milton Friedman, Roger Scruton, Margaret Thatcher, and Thomas Sowell. Until now, it has been using its Facebook page as its main means of interacting with the public, and company director Rotem Sela told Arutz Sheva that Shibolet has to date invested hundreds of thousands of shekels in creating web content and building assets and clients via its Facebook page.

“They didn’t give us any advance warning of the step they took,” Sela said. “We appealed their decision, for which they provided no reason whatsoever, and were told that ‘due to the coronavirus pandemic’ it could take a long time for them to deal with the complaint.”

This just happens to be a particularly bad time for Shibolet to have their Facebook account taken down – “and it won’t even help much if they change their minds in another few weeks’ time, because right now, we’re in the middle of a campaign in which we invested tens of thousands of shekels, and all that will now go down the drain. But more than just the financial losses is the damage such a move does to the public discourse. It effectively removes a side of the argument from the debate. That’s why we are so determined to take action. We are currently looking into our rights and what the best move is next. What we really want, of course, is to have our page up again, right away.”

According to Shibolet, Facebook’s decision is part of a much larger picture, with the current political crisis in Israel, the upcoming presidential elections in the United States, and the coronavirus pandemic all part of the background that has contributed to a heightened battle between liberals in positions of power and conservative companies, institutions, and individuals who pose a threat to their way of thinking. Foremost among the liberal institutions are social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter. In another example of liberals attempting to shut down discourse, last week, both Facebook and Twitter blocked the publication of an article in the New York Post that related to an investigation into alleged corruption in the family of the Democratic Party’s presidential contender, Joe Biden.

Pending any new developments, Shibolet has published a statement to its subscribers, reading: “There is a war going on right now, a struggle regarding what is permitted to be stated – and now, with the attack on us, which books may be marketed and read. Help us to win this battle.”

Facebook, approached for comment, declined to respond.