Conan's Israel Special Reportedly Omits Controversial West Bank Scene

The alleged segment, featuring a grieving father in Bethlehem whose son was killed by Israeli soldiers, received critical feedback at a pre-screening in Los Angeles

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Conan O'Brien filming in the West Bank during his visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Conan O'Brien filming in the West Bank during his visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories.Credit:

The American comedian Conan O'Brien's Israel special reportedly left out a controversial segment, allegedly featuring a grieving Palestinian father whose son was killed in a clash with Israeli army soldiers. Footage of the funeral procession was reportedly also omitted from the episode, which aired Tuesday night on TBS.

According to the Jerusalem Post, the scene in Bethlehem in the West Bank was included in an original version of the show, which was screened in Los Angeles on Monday night to 200 people. The audience members reportedly expressed criticism, asking questions such as: "What was the context of the killing and who was at fault? And if you're going to show Palestinian sorrow and suffering – what of Israeli suffering? What of Israeli victims of terror, who have watched their families be slaughtered? Or those who live in range of rockets from Gaza?"

According to the report, attendees who gave feedback to the Conan team were thanked in an email which said their responses "will be immensely helpful as we continue to edit this show into its final version." The alleged scene was not part of the aired episode.

Opening with a one-minute history of the region beginning with biblical kingdoms of Israel and Judah, the episode included footage of O'Brien cracking jokes on the streets and beaches of Tel Aviv as well as engaging with Palestinians and activists in the West Bank.

The show was followed by O’Brien’s regularly-scheduled late-night show, which showed clips that didn’t make the final cut, including a visit to Waze headquarters, a workout session with female Israeli soldiers and a chat with two United Nation soldiers – but no Bethlehem scene.

Over the course of his special, O’Brien constantly repeated this mantra: "40 minutes can’t capture all this complexity, and whatever I say, no one will be happy."