Your blogs

  • A real Wikileak shocker

    Geoffrey Paul
    Dec 2, 2010

    Among the hundreds of thousands of classified US documents put into the public domain this week by Wikileaks, there is one I found particularly shocking. It is a long and comprehensive report on the alleged growth of organised crime in Israel, its increasing sophistication and its overseas connections. Sent last year from the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, it lists names of what are claimed to be Israe’s leading crime families, their territories and their activities. Addressed not only to the State Department but also the immigration and homeland security authorities in Washington, it reports that the US consular authorities in Israel are working hard to prevent any of Israel’s gang members infiltrating into the US. It is the kind of document I might have expected to come out of some unpoliced, third world country. Not Israel. What underscores the shocking nature of the content is the title given by the US Embassy to its report: "Israel, a Promised Land for Organised Crime? " You can read it if you want to be disturbed at:

  • Ahmadinejad's Google Earth nightmare

    Jennifer Lipman
    Dec 1, 2010

    Oh, to have been a fly on the wall when Ahmadinejad last looked at Google Earth.

    There he must have been, going about his daily business – nuclear development, check, threats against Zionism and the Western world, check, attack on psychic sea creature, check – then suddenly...what’s this I see on Google Earth?

    It couldn’t be. It just couldn’t be. But, wait. It is. It really is.

  • How was your shabbat?

    Geoffrey Paul
    Nov 28, 2010

    Another rocket fell in the Negev yesterday. No one killed so not worth more than a line or two in some of the Israeli press and none at all, of course, in the UK media. Not worth it with all that’s going on in the world. It’s different at the receiving end. A close relative who has children in one of the few kibbutzim which still remain in southern Israel e-mailed me after a similar rocketing incident last weekend. I quote his words without comment. There are things I would like to say to mollify him. I haven’t thought of any yet

  • Awaiting the other shoe....

    Geoffrey Paul
    Nov 25, 2010

    I had to admit here recently that I do not get out enough, but unless, I am very deaf, I have not heard the echoes in the national media we might have expected after the JC’s comprehensive report of Mick Davis’s critical comments on some Israeli policies. Those reverberations might come yet, of course, and those who put their hands to their lips and urge “not in front of our neighbours,” may still be right. Mr Davis’s words could still be picked up and used against Mr Netanyahu and Israel. But it’s more than a week now and even a fastidious reporter, who did not wish to soil an ear by holding it close to the ground, must have heard rumblings of a communal controversy. Why, even David Milliband has joined in.

    So why the silence? We know all the media read the JC by the freedom with which regularly they make off with its scoops. My own theory, still in the process of evolution, is that the newspapers, especially, just do not know how to handle this story. Here is a leader of Anglo-Jewry (and forget the Jewish Leadership Council, his role as head of the UJIA makes him a top leader) who speaks critical thoughts about Israels’ policies - or the potential outcome of those policies - which is not unfamiliar fare in the non-Jewish media. He seems to have the support of many of his peers. But Mr Davis and they remain dedicated to Israel, he most practically by heading the top pro-Israel fund in the land. Whoops! What’s going on here?

    It is going to be interesting to see how the press resolves this conundrum. Or maybe they will not even try. And, suddenly, we will find ourselves nonplussed by the fact that it doesn’t really matter what we say in front of our neighbours. They don’t care. Just think what that might follow from that…

  • What was that again?

    Geoffrey Paul
    Nov 24, 2010

    If you have seen this before don’t read on but, last night, at a shiva, the distinctly Orthodox and highly-reputed South Hampstead rabbi, read his prayers (davened for the cognoscenti) from an iphone! It was news to me but, apparently, all the weekday prayers, and the appropriate portions of the Torah, are available for downloading. Suddenly, technology is bringing us startlingly close to that day when you will need only to phone nine other men in order to have an instant minyan. There are some interesting halachic questions there. But I do want to be present on that day when He on High responds to an online prayer with “You called?”.

  • The Kestenbaum phenomenon

    Geoffrey Paul
    Nov 21, 2010

    There is enough top military brass (retired) in the House of Lords almost to furnish a parliamentary detachment of their own, among them former chiefs of staff, supreme commanders and medal-heavy generals. What, I wonder, will they make of the arrival in their midst of an ex-IDF soldier, a holder of the Israel army’s “outstanding soldier award”? That unusual distinction appears nowhere in the media’s biographical notes on last week’s elevation to the peerage of Jonathan Kesternbaum, one-time director of the Chief Rabbi’s office and subsequently holder of some of the most challenging posts in business and technological development in Britain. Most of the newspapers missed something else. too. While he is, as they report, currently executive director of NESTA, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, the largest endowment in the UK exclusively dedicated to fostering innovation, he is about to sit in an even more challenging seat. At the end of the year Kestenbaum - Lord Kestenbaum - will take over Lord Rothschild’s responsibilities as Chairman and Chief Executive of Five Arrows Limited, the investment company controlled by Jacob Rothschild’s family interests, while Rothschild will remain on the board of Five Arrows under Kestenbaum’s chairmanship. Mr Kestenbaum will also work closely with Lord Rothschild on the overall management of his family’s various philanthropic organisations. Howzat for a former mazkir of B’nai Akiva, born, of all places, in Tokyo, and only just 51? Oh, and yes, this - to me - young man, who will sit at the head of one of the most powerful capitalist outfits in the world, will take his other seat on the Labour benches!,

  • Forgettable Sandeesh bows out of the competition as Stuart becomes the recognisable villain of the piece.

    Michael Sophocles
    Nov 17, 2010

    I was discussing only today with a friend of mine how little coverage the Apprentice has received this year from the media. Is this because there is very little scandal surrounding the candidates that can not be embellished and placed emphatically in a red top newspaper?

    Well this is very possibly the case, coupled with the public relations company keeping a tighter reign on the exploits of the competitors, The Apprentice this year seems a little more understated than normal.

    The main contributing factor towards the show feeling a tiny bit more unsung than usual is of course the presence of three major reality television shows challenging for space in the press.

  • Week seven sees the candidates try their hands at selling the cinematic experience

    Michael Sophocles
    Nov 17, 2010

    A movie experience of a lifetime is what is on sale in this week’s episode of the Apprentice as the two teams are instructed to create and sell the big screen experience to an unsuspecting public.

    Both teams will be lead by two candidates who have been flagged up by Lord Sugar as being possible time wasters in the form of Stuart ‘the brand’ Baggs and the very uncontroversial Sandeesh Samra.

    I have a distinct feeling that whichever team loses, unless a member of that team makes an almighty blunder, it will be the manager in charge that will get the boot.

  • Kate and William and chopped liver

    Jennifer Lipman
    Nov 16, 2010

    The wait is over for Waity Katie. A big Mazel Tov to Prince William and his new princess Kate Middleton.

    The natural question now is whether the Royal Wedding of the Century (my copyright) will have any impact on the Jewish world.

    Which Jewish celebs will be invited? Will Lord Sacks be there and will he be eating Hermolis or Tony Paige? When are they going to have a L’Chaim? Will she be heading to Hatton Garden for a diamond ring?

  • The curious case of Google Islam

    Jennifer Lipman
    Nov 12, 2010

    Oh, Americans. Forever doing their best to dispel the myth that they are not, ahem, the brightest of the bunch, a fair few have been rather upset with Google this week. Why?

    As you will probably know, the web giant like to change their logo to mark particular days or events - Sesame Street's anniversary, Halloween - and yesterday they decided to honour Veterans Day (what we call Armistice Day).

    But the graphic they chose, clearly of an American flag against a brightly lit sky, confused browsers, because all but the tail end of the letter “E” was concealed. Meaning, the logo looked – scream – like a crescent.A crescent.