Judging by the front end of the Times of Israel, Bibi’s appointment of Ran Baratz as a media adviser, ranks as one of the worst political own goals of all time.
Let us see what this is about, shall we:
- Baratz did not disclose his past problematic social media posts. He should have. He wouldn’t have got the job, but that’s right. (See point number 6, below.)
- It appears nobody checked Baratz’s social media. (How unprofessional is that?)
- Baratz called Obama an anti-Semite. He’s not the only one holding that opinion, and while there is much to say about Obama that is valid and critical, Obama doesn’t deserve that particular label.
- Baratz said John “Kerry can look forward to a flourishing career in one of the comedy clubs in Kansas City.” I’m with him on that one. It’s not a smart thing to say if you are in the media field, but it’s fair comment about that man.
- Baratz criticized his future boss last year for not giving interviews or holding press conferences with Israeli media for more than a year. The criticism seems valid. However, I do not have access to the actual wording. So, for example, it may be a matter of interpretation. He might have written something like he did not agree with the media strategy at that time, and that – since he is in that field – must be perfectly legitimate and acceptable. But if the criticism were unprofessional – abusive, personal, overstated, sniping, or similar – that would be unacceptable conduct.
- Baratz has apologized. In my opinion, that is not good enough. If a professional media adviser is so exposed by his own social media actions, how can he be suitable for the post?
- Given the USA has taken up the issue, this is unlikely to go away. Until Baratz ‘goes away.’
- The last point highlights the unfortunate timing. It exacerbates the damage and makes it worth Bibi and company considering that they never make a new appointment immediately before such a diplomatic trip. It could have waited. There would still have been damage, but it would have been less, and more easily stopped. (Of course, while waiting they could have done something radical, like do a better job of checking the appointee’s background!)
Baratz should go. Those responsible for the nitty-gritty of appointing him are culpable and should, at the very least, be reprimanded with sanctions.