PR During Wartime: an FAQ

I am Jewish, love Israel, and have friends, family and clients there.

But you don’t have to be Jewish or any of the above to be horrified by the attack on Israel.

The details can leave you speechless.  A client whose daughter was murdered.  Others who were kidnapped.  The horrific videos last week of bodies butchered, strewn, cars torched.

One of my daughters called, very upset because her friends did not seem to acknowledge or care about what’s been happening or respond to her distress. She commiserated with her sister, who was spearheading a fundrasing drive in support of Israelis.

Yes, it can feel lonely being Jewish, others may not react the same way. Worse still are the Jews who think it is a fine time to air anti-Israeli views.

Impact on Communications

It may not feel like a time to focus on business as usual – indeed it isn’t, for the many in Israel who are being called up for reserve duty, or families who have lost loved ones. Yesterday, Fortune’s Data Sheet newsletter wrote about the impact on tech workers there.

Those who stay to tend shop may wonder about the right approach regarding employees, customers, partners and their communities.

Part of this gets to communications, and I am reminded here of some of the challenges we faced in this profession following other disasters like 9/11 and the COVID pandemic

Assuming you are not in a hospital, in a battle or taking time to mourn you are likely working and trying to keep things going, building sales, and earning a salary for your family. To be frozen into inaction serves no one except the enemy. It is their mission to destroy and disrupt.

Some people I speak with are afraid of saying anything, or the wrong thing.  Clearly, priorities have shifted, and that is understandable.


So I thought I’d share this brief FAQ, to offer some guidance on what to do regarding PR and communications. It is intended primarily for Israeli companies, and their partners.

Please note that this is a rapidly developing situation, and the advice will change based on what happens from here. Right now it is white hot.

Should we issue press releases?

Context matters, e.g. some news needs to get out. In general it is not a good time to announce major news that is not time-sensitive. All eyes are on the situation. Even if you are targeting news for overseas markets, many others are hyper-focused on this too.

Should we post on social media?

For company social media channels: Yes. You want to let your partners and customers know you appreciate their concerns. Convey that your company will persist in the face of adversity.

You can go farther if you are up to it and agree – share your company’s position regarding the conflict and express solidarity with the effort.

Call out selfless acts of employees and partners. Thank them for their continued work and sacrifices. Recognize human losses.

There may be more routine posts in support of the business – life and work continues.

The media is reaching out to us – should we respond?

It is not the best time to beat their doors down regarding product news. But if your business services and/or products are relevant to the conflict – sure. Just be ready for it, and strike the right tone. The same can be said for newsjacking.

Not only is it good business – but you have a greater obligation to shine a light on offerings that can help.

What about other PR activities?

They should not stop. Just be respectful of the journalist’s time, strike the right tone, and do so recognizing that interviews and coverage may be pushed off or ignored for now.

It may seem like a low priority, and a lot of work. Your agency, if you have one, should be willing to help with a stepped up effort to compensate for staffing issues.

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