It appears that Ran Baratz, the recently appointed communications director for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, may be the latest government official to lose a job over controversial Facebook posts. Baratz’s appointment is “under review” after a series of controversial posts, which he made, came to light. These include:
- Accusing President Obama of antisemitism.
- Saying Secretary of State John Kerry has a mental age of 12.
- Describing Israeli President Reuven Rivlin as a “such a marginal figure” that even terrorists wouldn’t want to attack him or hold him hostage.
Prior to his appointment, Baratz was a philosophy lecturer.
The United States state department called the posts “troubling and offensive.” Indeed, the reaction was so severe that Prime Minister Netanyahu also released a statement criticizing the comments, saying, “Those posts are totally unacceptable and in no way reflect my positions or the policies of the government of Israel. Dr. Baratz has apologised and has asked to meet me to clarify the matter following my return to Israel.”
Two thoughts about this particular fail. First, it’s surprising to me that no one checked out Dr. Baratz’s Facebook page prior to his appointment. You would think that, at this point, this would be part of any standard government check, but apparently it did not occur. Additional, for some people, commentary like this may be appropriate. For most, I’d question it’s value. If you ever wish to find yourself in a public position of any consequence, you really need to be careful with what you say on social media. Unfortunately for Dr. Baratz, I suspect he is about to learn that lesson the hard way.
Like the blog? Get the book! Tweets and Consequences: 60 Social Media Disasters in Politics and How You Can Avoid A Career-Ending Mistake is now available on Amazon for purchase or download.