Vucic prevented the Third World War? Propaganda.

Freepik/@ macrovector

Original article (in Serbian) was published on 12/01/2023

Today, numerous pro-regime web portals have shared parts of the text of the Israeli newspaper Jerusalem Post, in which it is claimed that Aleksandar Vucic managed to prevent, no less, than the Third World War with his “efforts to maintain stability in the Balkans” during the crisis in Kosovo. The tabloids intoned the texts in such a way that it could be concluded that it was the opinion of the editors, giving weight to the mentioned claims. However, they were silent about the key thing – the author of the text is not an editor or a journalist, but the Israeli politician Boaz Toporovski, and the text represents his position, not an article based on factography. Until recently, Toporovski was the president of the Parliamentary Group of Friendship with Serbia in the Israeli parliament, and in his public appearances, he expresses his sympathy for Serbia and the local authorities. In an interview with the Serbian telegraph in 2021, he spoke about how “investments from Israel must come to Serbia” and that he had already talked to potential investors from his country. 

“VUCIC PREVENTED THE THIRD WORLD WAR! The famous Israeli newspaper claims: HE SHOWED WHAT IT MEAN TO BE A LEADER”. Several domestic tabloids published this title: Informer, Alo, Novosti, Srbija danas and Objektiv. The Minister of Construction, Goran Vesic, also commented on his Twitter saying that the article was “great”.

The tabloids claim that this is the “main news” in today’s Jerusalem Post, an Israeli daily newspaper, and single out parts of the aforementioned text that mention Vucic’s efforts to calm tensions in Kosovo.

The text presents a hypothetical scenario which, it is pointed out, could have led to the beginning of the Third World War, but it did not, thanks to Vucic.

“Imagine the following scenario: a boy was wounded in Kosovo while carrying a Christmas tree”, begins the author of the text, referring to an event that actually happened. The boy then dies in the hospital as a result of his injuries, he writes, and in response, Serbia sends its army to the border, and NATO its troops. One NATO soldier was accidentally killed in that action.

“NATO has to react, and then Russia intervenes. While the eyes of the world are on Ukraine and Kosovo, China is attacking Taiwan. The third world war begins. Does this sound like a fictional scenario?”, writes the author and then claims that the scenario is not fictional because two Serbs were really wounded on Christmas Day, one of whom was an 11-year-old boy.

In the following text, he underlines that any mistake in Kosovo can escalate and lead to a conflict between other powers, but that “Serbia, unlike Kosovo, is making efforts to prevent the Third World War”.

He then reminds us that during the Serb barricades in December last year in the north of Kosovo, Vucic tried to “resolve the dispute and reach an agreement to prevent the escalation of the conflict”, and that he “showed what leadership is”.

Domestic web portals also published a screenshot of the text from the printed edition of the Jerusalem Post, and it can also be found on the website of this Israeli media. As you can see, the text is located in the “Opinion” column, so it represents the subjective opinion of the author, and not the editorial office, which publishes its views under “JP Editorial”.

Although in the screenshot of the original text quoted by the tabloids, it is possible to read who the author is, his name was never mentioned nor did they explain that he was a politician.

Namely, the author is Israeli MP Boaz Toporovski, who is otherwise very sympathetic to Serbia and President Aleksandar Vucic.

He was the president of the Parliamentary Group of Friendship with Serbia in the 24th convocation of the Parliament of Israel, and during the recent celebration of Hanukkah, he addressed the people gathered in the Assembly of Serbia via video link. Even then, he spoke about the good relations between the two countries and the necessity of improving economic cooperation.

At the end of September 2021, Toporovski was on one of his visits to Serbia, when he spoke enthusiastically about it in an interview for the pro-regime Serbian telegraph. In particular, he pointed out that “investments from Israel must come to Serbia” in the fields of health, IT technologies, defence and agriculture, and he also pointed out that he is working to strengthen economic relations between the two countries. He also stated that he had already spoken with potentially interested investors, such as a private Israeli hospital.

During that visit to Serbia, Todorovski emphasized on his Twitter the importance of friendship between the two countries, praised Vucic and once again expressed his admiration for him.

“I admire and greatly respect the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic. Vucic provides genuine support to Israel and supports cooperation between the two countries”, Toporovski wrote on his Twitter account at the time.