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Sunday, February 13 2005

BBC's deep thoughts

What prompted BBC Radio to remove its February 10 edition of “Thought for the Day?” If you want evidence that presenter John Bell talked about an Israeli-Arab allegedly "conscripted" by the IDF and later “imprisoned for refusing to shoot unarmed schoolchildren,” all that’s left are the comments it generated from angry listeners.

The IDF does not in fact conscript Arab-Israelis (though some serve voluntarily), and Bell's claim that IDF officers are ordered -- under penalty of imprisonment -- to 'shoot unarmed schoolchildren' is simply outrageous and libelous.

Comments to BBC: click here

[UPDATE 2/15: BBC has issued an apology.]

Here's a transcript of Bell's session:

Thought for the Day, 10 February 2005 John Bell

Two years ago, in a Lebanese restaurant in Vancouver, I talked to a
waiter called Adam who was an Arab Israeli.

That means that he was of Palestinian Muslim stock, born in the
state of Israel and, like his Jewish compatriots, he had been
conscripted into the Israeli Army.

There he had distinguished himself as a good soldier and was made a
corporal. He was also imprisoned for refusing to shoot unarmed
schoolchildren. And one day, when off-duty, he saved many lives by
killing a suicide bomber who entered the bus on which he was

At the end of our conversation, he asked 'How old do you think I
am?' I was sure he was 29, but I said 27 to flatter him. 'No,' he
said, 'I am only 19. But this is what happens when you have been
through what I have been through.

It will not be in his singular life that the memory and the pain of
the conflict he has witnessed will die. His stories will be recounted
by his children and by his children's children. And with each
retelling some animosity will surface. For Adam's history will be in
their genes.

I say this today when many people will rightly be celebrating the
accord between Palestine and Israel agreed to on Tuesday.

For as with any peace agreement or truce, it is not so much that the
devil is in the detail. The devil, if we must use that term, is in
memories of hurt and feelings of revenge which will not be requited.

What is sectarianism in Northern Ireland, what is white-settler
animosity in Wales, what is racism in British cities if not the
expression of people on whose memories is etched real and false
information about an enemy which created mayhem in the past and
might do so again in the future?

The sins of the fathers.... as an old scripture says... are visited
on the children.

And in Israel-Palestine where the pain of history is physically
manifest in everything from a ruined temple to a half-built wall, a
handshake and two signatures can never be enough.

There is no quick fix, no kiss and make up opportunity. Dealing with
the genetic and psychological legacies of a brutal past is a spiritual thing.
It cannot be enforced by agreement, predicted by science, or enabled
by logic.

It needs imagination, sensitivity, humility and all the virtues
which cannot be gained through reading or conjecture. And maybe, in
place of the wild war music it needs the kind of mantra which Desmond
Tutu so winsomely taught his hurting compatriots:

Goodness is stronger than evil. Love is stronger than hate. Light is stronger than darkness. Life is stronger than death.

copyright 2005 BBC




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Amazing! Shockingly funny! Such cheek just astonishes. By the way, had this waiter's name not been "Adam" I would have thought he actually existed but was a pathological liar. Given that his name is "Adam", methinks the pathological liar is someone else.

Israeli muslim Arabs are not conscripted into the IDF. They had to have the Israel Supreme Court rule they had the right to inlist in the IDF as a recruit.

'Adam' as a serving member of the IDF unless he was dismissed would not be allowed leave Israel during his term of duty (except for very personnal family matters eg: a family death in an other country).

Come on. It's such a lovely fairy-tale. Why do u try to pry holes in it?:) Ofcourse, after his prison term (you know, for refusing to shoot unarmed schoolchildren - a terrible offence in the evil Israeli army) he might have been discharged.
I think it's inspiring - the way he did so much in so little time.
A. Volunteer to the army (although for some reason it says he was conscripted)
B. Refuse to shoot unarmed school children (tens of thousands of other soldiers just say 'yes, captain').
C. Serve time in prison for his heroic gesture.
D. Be discharged from the army, move to Canada, work as a waiter.
All this before his 20th birthday.

Not only that but somewhere between A and B, he somehow managed to kill a suicide bomber who would have blown up the entire bus he was on (a remarkable feat! Stopping a suicide bomber on a bus is amazing in itself. Killing him is so dramatic. How odd that it all went un-reported).

I'll wager he actually did it with both hands behind his back too! This man is quite remarkable. On top of all this, his name is Adam and I think this just makes his story all the more special and fairy-tale like!

I, for one, am impressed! As someone said about mythology: "these stories never took place yet are always".

Pay attention: he wasn't even on duty when he took care of the suicide bomber! (and he wasn't trying to save his own skin - presumably they were on the same bus - but simply saving lives!

Normally, merely stopping a suicide bomber on a bus would guarentee countless appearences on tv. To actually kill a suicide bomber right on a bus is the stuff films are made of. Such a story is made even more sensational by the fact that the man who killed the would-be bomber is an Arab yet the evil Israeli newspapers refused to report on it because (presumably, anyway it sounds just like them to do so) they want Arabs to have a bad name.

Thank God for people like Adam and John Bell!

Why does Bell assume that "Adam" was of "Muslim stock"? With a name like Adam, he was probably Christian anyway. He couldn't have been conscripted into the IDF. The whole story is a bunch of baloney.

Is John Bell a real person also? Does he really have a job after this farce?

Dear Anonymous,

I'm sure this man's reputation shines brighter now than it did before.

This is what the Palestinian propopaganda machine is all about. In true Joseph Geobbel's tradition you tell the very big lie and don't bother with the proof. There are plenty of dummies out there who will believe -

"He was also imprisoned for refusing to shoot unarmed schoolchildren."

Any decent journalist with the basic skills would have checked for the source of this despicable claim. Is there any evidence of the jailing of this liar "Adam"?

None whatsoever but it obviously doesn't matter to BBC Radio's so called "presenter" John Bell. Another in the long line of low lifes who stoop to repeat blood libels against the Jewish people.

Unfortunately there are tens of thousands of people who believe this stuff. I live in Ireland, and when I try to tell people what’s really going the answer is “ Of course you’d say that, you are Israeli after all.” They find it inconceivable that the BBC or the mainstream media would tell them outright lies. It’s much easier to think that an Israeli, or a supporter of Israel would lie. When I get into those discussions, I look like some paranoid conspiracy theorist after a while trying to explain how the media lie, and how I know what’s really going on.

Believe me those articles are doing incredible damage to Israel, and Israelis all over the world (not to mention Jewish people). Just look what the fictional Muhammad al-Dura case did to Israel.

The BBC is actually not much better than the Iranian TV station which produces that series where Israelis stole Palestinian children’s eyes. They both produce totally unfounded libels against Israel, the difference is that while nobody takes Iranian TV seriously, the BBC is one of the most credible source of news in the world.

Oh Tiferet. I agree.

I lived in England for a while. I too was sure that the BBC is impeccable. The BBC is considered as above reproach. Setting the standards for professionality.

This is why I was so astounded when the Intifada began and I saw all their deliberate tricks. Astounded, astonished, amazed.
I didn't hate the Palestinians, but God, I hated the BBC 'journalists'!!!!!

If I'd been a normal Brit with no way of knowing how the BBC works very hard to distort, then I'd be blissfully ignorant and like all these people around you, I'd assume you're just saying that cause "you're Israeli"...

I notice that the BBC has now posted an 'apology' from John Bell. The 'apology' acknowledges only two factual errors, that of the age of the arab waiter and that he was not conscripted into the Israeli army.
Though it may be factual that this rather unintelligent Reverend gentleman had a conversation with an arab waiter in Vancouver, it is clear that the account he saw fit to broadcast on BBC radio was that of a completely implausible pack of lies which both he and the BBC could not verify.
John Bell in his 'apology' purports to be sensitive to a current climate of antisemitism whilst strongly expressing that not so latent gene.


Can't... stop... laughing...


This character John Bell does deserves his journalistic license revoked! On the other hand, may be he did a great service towards BBC extinsion as a media organization!! Amen!

Arabs do not conscript to the IDF. And I believe they would be refsused even whe attempted to volunteer to the IDF. The exceptions are the Druze and Bedouins who serve at specialized units.

Mr. Bell, you would be better off cross referencing your false information with IDF officials. If you did, you would then learn about the strict orders at the IDF for shooting at unarmed civilians, especially children and women!

But, of course it is easier and more plausible to libel, again, against the Jews and Israelis. Shame on you!

I note the comments of Tiferet from his time in Ireland. To date I have had no conversations with unaligned British people on the Middle East but I can imagine that I would get the same reaction, namely that the BBC MUST be correct because its the BBC.

Two thoughts occur. The first is that lies eventually get found out and although Jenin and al-Dura caused Israel a lot of pain at the outset there will be a reckoning, although it may take a long time coming.

Secondly I do find that the bad propaganda does have a profound effect on Jews. They start to believe it especially if they are close to left wing groups like College or University. Usually these people do NOT play any part or have any connection with Jewish life like synagogue, B'nai B'rith. WIZO etc. Also the further they live from the main pockets of Jewish suburbia the more extreme and anti Jewish/ Israel are their comments. Consequently they are often ill-informed.

What else can one expect from the anti-American, anti-Israel BBC

Everyone goes on and on and on about the allegedly reverend Mr. Bell. He is just a stupid and vicious man who should be barred henceforth from the public arena. What is truly disappointing is not that such monumental fools exist, but that organizations such as the BBC havent either the editorial acumen or the fundamental decency to prevent these kinds of things form happening.

I think it is worth mentioning that Israel has the highest number of human rights activists,in relation to its population than any other country in the world. If an event as described by Bell and the BBC occurred, the soldier giving such an order would have been in prison, not the soldier refusing to carry it out.

Well, one things for certain the BBC once again will NOT be imprisoned for refusing the familiar order, "Shoot yourself in the foot!" Unfortunately, when they do let off indiscriminate rounds that injure themselves it is rarely without doing someone else a good deal of hurt. How much more credibility do they wish to lose? One might think the awful troubles (re MOD/Iraqui WMD) caused a year or two back would have taught them the importance of checking out the validity of a story. And spotting the stupidity of this account is definitely not rocket science.

What a farce! Beyond all of the obviously slanted and prejudiced idiocy (even if this "Adam" was a real person, how could he have experienced all of this in less than two years?), our "beloved" journalist (yeah, right) closes by quoting Bishop Tutu, Mandela's partner in the orchestration of the present and ongoing "pogroms" of South Africa! G-d help any who would buy this trash!

What a farce! Beyond all of the obviously slanted and prejudiced idiocy (even if this "Adam" was a real person, how could he have experienced all of this in less than two years?), our "beloved" journalist (yeah, right) closes by quoting Bishop Tutu, Mandela's partner in the orchestration of the present and ongoing "pogroms" of South Africa! G-d help any who would buy this trash!

The source of the scripture cited by John Bell also says Israel belongs to the Jews, only the Jews, FOREVER!!! I wonder if Mr. Bell realizes that.

This sort of trash is so inherent to the BBC that my surprise is that it actually surprises anyone.

There are no Israeli arabs, Moslem or Christian, or Buddhist, conscripted into the Israeli army...
They don't take Palestinian Jews either I hear.

The "facts" in this little fiction are along the lines of 'welcome to Goebbels inspirational morning light propoganda hour'.

Hello out there in Britainia. Are you all asleep ?? Are any listeners listening ?

Personally, I prefer MONTY PYTHON to the BBC for my Jew News !! Those are some smart Englishmen: Life of Brian, Holy Grail. Now those blokes knew how to cover a holy war, alright, alright.

And why is the BBC so dumb ?
because they are publicly funded. Free money makes the press stupider and stupider. What if the BBC actually had to THINK for a living ?

oh and what a bloody nuisance that would be.

Lisa Chaya,
the Judean National Front for the Liberation Of
the BBC. Better known as the JNFLO-BBC,

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