Failed Messiah Banned By Google Adsense

Shmarya Rosenberg got this email from Adsense:

While reviewing your account, we noticed that you are currently displaying Google ads in a manner that is not compliant with our policies. For instance, we found violations of AdSense policies on pages such as failedmessiah.typepad.com. Publishers are not permitted to place Google ads on sites with content advocating against any individual, group, or organization. As a result, we have disabled ad serving to the site. Your AdSense account remains active.

I don’t agree with Google’s decision, but I understand it. Advertisers don’t want to be associated with websites that are dedicated to slamming someone or something and FailedMessiah does seem to be overwhelmingly negative with regard to Chabad in particular and Orthodox Judaism in general (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). An Adsense rep who got a complaint would just have to look at the name of the site and his decision would be easy.

Shmarya responds:

Luke, Thanks for the post. Just realize that advocating against child abuse in haredi communities or against Chabad messianism is not the same thing as advocating against blacks (a la the KKK), or against Jews (a la Storm Front, etc.). Also realize that, unlike the sites Google’s policy was intended for, I have open comments. If you look at them you’ll see a large number of comments from people defending particular child abusers or rabbis who allegedly protected those abusers, for example. My posts do not exist in isolation. Further, I ran an open invitation (a challenge, really) several years ago to Chabad. I offered to publish a detailed guest post rebutting what I wrote about the Rebbe and Ethiopian Jews. My only caveat was that Chabad needed to cite a non-Chabad halakhic source supporting the Rebbe’s contention that the spiritual needs of American Jews came before the very lives of Ethiopian Jews then starving to death in Africa. I had that as a standing invitation for a long time. Chabad never took me up on it.

Advocating against a man that was willing to allow the tortured deaths of thousands of black Jews in order to get you in the comfort of L.A. to don a pair of tefillin is not only the morally correct thing to do – it is the only option I have as an honest person.

As for Google’s alleged concern for how its ads are viewed, remember the large number of ads for Messianic Judaism and Hebrew Christianity that ran on Protocols and dozens of other Jewish blogs? Google refused to filter those ads, just as it refuses to filter other ads site owners find objectionable. And think about how this effected other Jewish advertisers whose ads were placed next to J for J ads.

Google is not taking the high road here. It’s taking the easy way out, punishing a little site like me rather than stand up for the idea that exposing abuse does not equal hate.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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