What Is Common To Israel, Serbia, and Russia? My Personal Observation

November 11, 2022




Israel has a terrible public image worldwide. It is seen as an aggressive occupier and is compared to the Nazis. So, too, were the Serbs during their war with Bosnia and Croatia and how they treat Kosovo. Now the Russians face the same charges for how they are fighting in Ukraine. 

The investment in public relations for all three nations is almost nil.  In a war, all parties suffer. It may be not an equal suffering but any suffering should not be ignored and seen only as being one-sided. 

Why are these nations not making a major effort to explain their suffering to the world? Is it arrogance? Despair, caused by repeatedly trying to explain themselves and failing?  Or is it resignation to the notion that they will not be understood anyway? 

I have been involved as an advisor to all three countries. When I challenged them about why their PR actually STINKS, this is the answer I got in all three cases: it is a waste of energy to explain ourselves. They hate us anyway. There is nothing we can do to change that. 

The result is that war photographers have not been allowed, in the case of Russia and Serbia. or encouraged, in the case of Israel, to record the suffering of their own people. Western photographers have not been allowed into the Donbas area. The same with Serbia during the war in Bosnia. There are exhibitions displaying pictures of Serbian atrocities causing suffering to the Bosnian or Croats, but you cannot find pictures of what the Muslim Bosnians or Croats did to the Serbs. Nor can you find many pictures of Israeli mothers crying for their child who was being buried after being knifed to death, in cold blood, by a Palestinian desperado. 

Again, when I challenge the governments in these countries for their inaction, for ignoring world public opinion, I get the same answer: it won’t work. They hate us anyway. 

Or maybe it is something else. I find these three countries have some kind of superiority complex. They won't show their weakness. Letting the media record their suffering and thus their weakness may not be something they like the public to know. 

The bottom line,  for whatever reason, all three countries have an image in the public opinion that can be detrimental to their well-being. Politicians follow public opinion. They like remaining in power. They follow popularity surveys. Ignoring public opinion abroad, especially of powerful countries, puts at peril the country that does so.

Written by
Dr. Ichak Adizes