Videos of popular writers Jordan Peterson and Douglas Murray with Hebrew subtitles were blocked from being advertised on YouTube for being “dangerous and derogatory” this week, before being reinstated.
Books by both Peterson and Murray are due to be published in Hebrew in the coming months by Shibboleth, an imprint of the right-wing Sella Meir publishing house
together with The Tikvah Fund, a conservative Jewish institution.
Earlier this week, two videos by Murray and one by Peterson that had been posted by Shibboleth
were blocked from paid promotion on YouTube,
which is owned by Google, with the claim that they contain “dangerous and derogatory content.”
The ban on advertising the content was lifted on Tuesday, shortly after a producer for commentator Erel Segal on 103FM, which is owned by The Jerusalem Post Group, asked Google about it.
Peterson and Murray are members of the “Intellectual Dark Web,” a group of heterodox academics and writers, most of whom became known through non-traditional media like YouTube, and consider themselves to be outside of the usual right-left political discourse.
Murray is a British political commentator who published The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity Islam last year. He is a critic of Islam and migration, and is on the international advisory board of the Israeli research institute NGO Monitor.
Peterson, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto, gained notoriety after protesting a Canadian law that sought to enforce the use of preferred pronouns, and his filmed lectures, posted on YouTube are very popular. His 2018 book 12 Rules for Life, meant to guide readers to live more ethical and meaningful lives, was a major bestseller.
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Peterson is an outspoken opponent of aggressive political correctness and post-modernism, and publicly criticized Google for firing an engineer who wrote a memo citing scientific studies on differences between men and women that some in the company found offensive.
Shibboleth co-publisher Rotem Sella pointed out that the Peterson video he posted with Hebrew subtitles did not deal with any of his controversial statements.
“There are apparently people living in an echo chamber who only hear a specific set of opinions and seem to think that other legitimate and important opinions are dangerous to society,” Sella said. “This only emphasizes the importance of an Israeli publishing house to deal with conservative literature out of the mainstream that will challenge the existing discourse.”
A source at Google said that blocking the videos from being promoted was a mistake by an automatic system, and that the lifting of the ban had nothing to do with being contacted by the media.
The Peterson and Murray videos did not violate any of Google’s policies, the source said.