Adrian Needlestone

On being a war Junkie

I have never been a gambler and could never really understand the attraction of rolling the dice just one more time. There is a double aim. To recoup lost funds and make a financial killing at the same time.. All of a sudden I have that feeling and I hate it.

I have become a War Junkie and its not money I am mentally playing with but Israeli soldiers lives. With every report bringing fresh news of Israeli dead I feel grimmer and deflated. The deaths are not coming in ones or two but in handfuls. In the mean time if the TV News is to be believed,  I don’t but the general public do, all Israeli soldiers seem to be able to kill is the young and the old, the ill and the infirm with the regularity of a metronome . While the fleet footed Hamas terrorists run rings them.

With every bit of bad news I don’t want the war to end. I will it to go on. Just one more roll of the dice and the superb Israeli army will find all the Hamas tunnels. They will not only destroy the tunnels but smash the Hamas leadership and infrastructure with blows so heavy that if not a haven of peace Gaza will be at least transformed into being no better or worse than the West Bank.

Even using the words  “West Bank,” is pejorative and betrays a frame of mind  I am yet to be convinced I have. The point is how many deaths are worth it to make this wish a reality? I sit at the tables like some latter day James Bond. Like Bond I feel myself sweating and pull at my imaginary bow tie.Though occasionally some of the chips on the table fall my way mostly its a false illusion and  ownership of them is inevitably short and good news fractured by long periods of dismay.

I imagine the lengthy periods of little news from the front is because Israel is going to stun the world with news of some major victory. But none is forthcoming. The brilliant soldiers who once went all the way to Uganda and back and infiltrated PLO head quarters in Beirut  dressed in women’s clothes seem to be stumped at the moment by their  adversaries. Like figures  in a shooting gallery  Hamas terrorists hit the ground only to pop up again somewhere else on the screen. Like the 1973 war I  know the Israeli forces will adapt but when and at what cost by then.

As a retired journalist I split my day between the TV screen and the computer screen. On the TV screen its BBC, ITV, CNN, and Al Jazeera, and on  the computer its The Times of Israel, Y-Net and the Jerusalem Post. There are interesting bits and pieces in some of the Israeli sites which I think would make good news stories in Europe and The States. Its the little things which get missed in the hurly burly of the 24 hour news daily news round. The appetite for “fresh meat,” is voracious.  It has also brought into play a different sort of anchor who does not just report the news but makes it.

England is blessed, if I can use this word tongue in cheek, with cheese cutter front men. Those who don’t just ask questions of those thrust in front of them, like CNN’s Wolf Blitzer ,but go out to humiliate and forensically cut the interviewee  to pieces.

It has been some years since Israel put forward spokes people with a command of English that made you think they came from Mars. Those who today put Israel’s case  now speak cultured English but are still more suited to the old style question and answer of yesterday year. I squirmed as I watched the seasoned PM spokesman Mark Regev go naked into battle with London’s Channel 4 anchor Jon Snow. Undoubtedly Snow will dine out on his victory for some time . But as good as Snow was Regev was equally as bad .

Like  good politicians he should stand his ground and insist on talking about the things that matter to him and his cause. If that means simply saying I am” the Government spokesman  and if you really don’t want to hear what I have to say then why go to such trouble to get me on.My information may well answer your questions.” and so on. To frustrate is better than humiliation.

The army spokesman Lt. Co. Peter Lerner speaks the language like an English gentleman. Not that surprising as he was born in the UK and emigrated to Israel at the  age of 12. But good English should not be the main qualification for the job all be it a vital one. He comes across as nervous with an inability to speak off brief. He only seems confident and in his stride only when questioned by a reporter who is  looking for answers to straight forward questions and not a moral justification of the Israeli position.

Different styles should be used for different out lets. For Al Jazeera, for instance, whose starting point is that Israeli soldiers are little more than a criminal gang of murderers, the following attitude should be adopted to the one sided questions:
“Look I know you have a job to do and masters to appease. Qatar is hardly a bastion of democracy. Coming from a democracy I am willing to speak to you but please stop asking me when did you stop beating your wife questions. If you don’t want to  interview me in a manner that at least implies you are interested in what I have to say then lets end the charade and not  talk at all.”

Israel should also look to embedding some foreign reporters with the army. Empathy always grows in such situations and great sets of pictures and action from the front always make the papers and TV news.

Israel is fighting an enemy that not only has no respect for Jewish life but no respect for life at all.  It seems only Israel and its small band of international supporters around the world realise this. Once again its Jewish blood being spilled for the ultimate good of all. To rid this abomination from the earth has already resulted in too many Shivas. Lets ensure they are not in vain.



About the Author
Adrian Needlestone quit sixth form at 17 to follow his dream to become a journalist. So desperate was he that he accepted a wage of £6 a week for six days work as an office boy at what was then London largest independent news agency, The Fleet Street News Agency. After making tea and buying sandwiches for six months he was given the opportunity to cut his working week down by one day and cover the East London Crown courts in those days known as Quarter sessions Courts. The bread and butter work was the local paper contracts the agency held with the occasional national story being cream on the top. During 18 months covering the courts stories in the nationals became the norm rather than the exception and he was quickly switched back to the main office in Clerkenwell to work with the news team. At the age of 21 came his first big break when Murdoch took over the Sun newspaper and promptly hired the agency’s news editor and most of the senior staff. In a leap of faith the agency head promoted him to news editor but confided many years later that it was the “cheap” option which if he sank that was life and if he swam so much the better. Seven years later after working regular evenings on the Mirror and the Mail he joined the Evening standard on the news picture desk. From there he moved on to the National Enquirer in America, the News of the World, BBC national radio and ran the news section of the Derek Jameson TV magazine programme on Sky. After 25 years in the business he decided to slow down and turn his hand to business but he never enjoyed the success in that world to match his career in Fleet street. Semi retired he has now taken to the internet and is writing a blog as well as simultaneously trying to write three books, one about his time on the News of the World which he hopes to launch through Kindle in about six weeks.
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