Welcome to Spiel, the JC’s blog.

  • The big issue: Obama's hair

    Stephen Pollard
    Jul 14, 2009

    Remember that little story last week about President Obama giving a girl the once over at the G8? (Although the video showed - quelle surprise - that Sarkozy's letch was far more pronounced.)

    James Delingpole saw the pics and drew a far more important conclusion: the President is losing his hair. Or, as he writes:

    [I]s the president’s hair starting to come out in funny, tufty little
    packages, almost, one might say, as if the onerous business of
    transforming a once proud free nation into a liberal fascist tyranny
    has started to trouble not just his mind but his scalp too.

  • Er, the horror

    Jenni Frazer
    Jul 13, 2009

    I've just learned, with some consternation, that Prime Minister Gordon Brown was born in the same nursing home in Glasgow as me and my brother. (Brown's older, by the way.)
    I didn't realise that the Orchard Park Nursing Home, now a hotel, was supposedly the Queen Charlotte's of Glasgow. How aspirant of my parents.
    And there was I thinking that the blue plaque in the bar was reserved for us.

  • Potty for poetry

    Jessica Elgot
    Jul 13, 2009

    Ok, yes this is my second Harry Potter related post in my very short time at the JC, but I couldn't resist this.

    The Telegraph reports
    that Daniel Radcliffe is following in the footsteps of his Jewish poetic forefathers like Allen Ginsberg and Isaac Rosenberg by pouring out his little teenage heart into poetry for cult mag 'Rubbish'.

    But Radcliffe decided to keep his anonymity by using the distinctly kosher pen name Jacob Gershon, a combination of his middle name and the Jewish version of his mother's maiden name, Gresham.

  • UK to Israel: Cast Lead means no more gun spares

    Stephen Pollard
    Jul 13, 2009

    This is a story which is going to run and run:

    The UK government has revoked the licenses of five arms companies to
    supply to the Israeli military with spare parts for guns on Sa'ar 4.5

    British officials have confirmed that the ban was imposed because
    the supplies were being used by Israeli battleships which participated
    in the attack on Gaza.

  • Who knew?

    Jenni Frazer
    Jul 13, 2009

    Seth Freedman, writing in The Guardian's Comment is Free, discloses his own, difficult experience in appearing on Press TV, which he now acknowledges was a counter-productive activity. The Iranian-funded TV station Press TV, Freedman says, "pretends to be a reputable, impartial broadcaster. In reality, it is anything but."
    Entertainingly, however, Freedman says the blinkers fell from his eyes when being interviewed on Press TV by Tony Blair's most tiresome relation, his step-sister-in-law, Lauren Booth. Freedman had written an op-ed for the JC, and Booth opened her questioning by saying she had been "surprised to read something in the Jewish Chronicle that was true."
    I am somewhat surprised to find that Booth is such a regular reader. If only that were the case. She might learn something.

  • Let the games begin

    Danny Caro
    Jul 13, 2009

    So the big day is finally upon us. The 18th Maccabiah Games Chai started today, although some competitors find it strange that the Opening Ceremony takes place 24 hours later.

    My whistlestop tour included a one-hour shlep up to Haifa to see the GB Open Ladies Football play Australia. There is nothing better than a bit of competitive banter although Tanya Willman was not best pleased when one of the parents of an Australian player told her to "go home you dirty girl." Whatever happened to Maccabiah spirit?

    The media centre at the Kfar Maccabiah, which I hasten to add is much improved from my last visit a couple of years ago, will be followed by the GB Masters Over 35 futsal opener against Mexico.

  • Maccabiah fever

    Danny Caro
    Jul 10, 2009

    Can anyone tell me if four hours, five minutes from Heathrow to Ben Gurion Airport is a world record? That is how long it took my El Al flight to take me to the Promise Land ahead of the Maccabiah Games.

    The airport was rocking with Maccabiah fever but with no time for jet-lag, I continued my journey with a cab ride to the Wingate Institute in Netanya to interview World Cup winner Sir Bobby Charlton.

    It’s not every day one interviews a legend and credit to the Manchester United man who braved scorching temperatures to stand and deliver hundreds of autographs to the local kids.

  • JFS - 'the dead hand of ecclesiastical authorities'

    Simon Rocker
    Jul 10, 2009

    An outspoken commentary on the JFS court case from the former head of Carmel College, Rabbi Jeremy Rosen. You can read the full version here :

    But here's a taste:

    "Unlike other community Jewish schools throughout the world, the JFS's religious position is controlled by the established Church of Anglo Jewry, the United Synagogue and its ecclesiastical authorities. So that if elsewhere children recognized as Jewish by other denominations and other ecclesiastical authorities are allowed to attend community Jewish schools, in England they are not.

  • Luck of the Irish

    Geoffrey Paul
    Jul 9, 2009

    Perhaps the felon who fought extradition to Ireland because he did not like onions in his food will make do with the multiplicity of cans of Hebrew National soups which have had to be withdrawn because they have unannounced celery, mustard or soya in their content. I myself had a notion of what criminality must feel like when, having trawled through Tesco's fruit and vegetable bargains this morning, I espied a private treat (my wife is a working gal), a tin of Hebrew National barley soup and put it in my trolley for a private, unannounced lunch. You can't have that, said the guy at the checkout desk, it's an “emergency withdrawal.” A what? Not to be sold. Not to you. Not to anyone. But it was on the shelf, together with a host of companions. Were they all to rust alone in some distant landfill? Apparently, yes, because people who couldn't take celery, mustard or soya might have had an allergic reaction and been able, presumably, to sue for thousands. I didn't have a chance, or a thought, to check for onions. But I am sure the Irish can do that.