The Simon Round interview

Interview: Danny Cohen

By Simon Round, May 7, 2009

For nearly two years, Danny Cohen has held one of the most controversial posts at the BBC. It is not that anyone thinks Cohen is failing in his job as controller of BBC3, but rather that heavyweights, including Jeremy Paxman and John Humphrys, have attacked his channel’s very right to exist.

Needless to say, Cohen disagrees. He claims to know his audience — indeed, until recently he was one of the channel’s targeted viewers in the 16-34 age range. No more, however. He jokes: “I’m 35 now — I left the BBC3 age range in January. It’s all over for me now.”

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Interview: Alan Dershowitz

By Simon Round, April 30, 2009

Alan Dershowitz rose to worldwide prominence as the lawyer who acted for OJ Simpson, Mike Tyson, Mia Farrow and Claus von Bülow in high-profile court cases. But arguably his toughest job is one which has brought him little, if any, financial reward, and precious little respect from many of his peers. Dershowitz is one of Israel’s greatest defenders. It has been, he says, “a very bad career move”.

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Interview: Ron Arad

By Simon Round, April 14, 2009

There is something about Ron Arad which is weirdly reminiscent of Paddington Bear. Maybe it is the hat and scarf he always seems to wear along with his baggy clothes; more likely it is the sense of outsiderness. Paddington, after all, was an immigrant from Darkest Peru, and Arad settled in Britain after being brought up by bohemian parents in Israel.

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Interview: Simon Morris

By Simon Round, April 2, 2009

Being in charge of a large organisation means you have to make tough decisions. Like many bosses over the past few months, Jewish Care chief executive Simon Morris has been staring at a balance sheet which does not add up. As a result, he has had to make 17 per cent of his staff redundant.

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Interview: Yvonne Green

By Simon Round, March 19, 2009

During Israel’s recent campaign in Gaza, many Jews previously supportive towards Israel were appalled and shocked by the stories of wanton slaughter and indiscriminate bombing said to have been carried out against the Palestinian civilian population.

One British woman, prize-winning poet Yvonne Green, was so disturbed by what she saw on the news that she decided to travel to Gaza herself to bear witness to the civilian suffering. However, what Green discovered in Gaza was almost completely at odds with what the news reports said she should be seeing.

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Interview: Stan Greenberg

By Simon Round, March 12, 2009

If you were to ask people for a list of their least favourite professions, traffic wardens would be up there, as would any remaining estate agents and, quite possibly, journalists. Also high up on the list would be spin doctors and pollsters — in other words, unelected political advisers. This troubles Stan Greenberg. For while some of the leaders he has worked for — including Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and Ehud Barak — are thought of as significant, even great figures, they have been seen as diminished by the fact that they employed pollsters such as himself.

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Interview: Olivier Ameisen

By Simon Round, March 5, 2009

Olivier Ameisen believes he has made a major medical breakthrough. Although he trained and practised as a cardiologist, the advance he is so excited about did not come in the field of heart medicine. Rather, he claims that he has found a cure for alcoholism. And the proof that it works? It is the fact he is alive today.

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Interview: Adolf Burger

By Simon Round, February 26, 2009

Adolf Burger is clearly a very tough man. At 91, he is still strong enough to travel to Britain and still able to jump to his feet, deliver a strong handshake and speak through an interpreter in an unwavering voice about his experiences, which underline his simple, uncompromising attitude to life.

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Interview: John Mann MP

By Simon Round, February 12, 2009

Labour MP John Mann is not Jewish. He is a blunt, tough-talking former trade union official from Yorkshire who says he has only ever come across one Jew in his Bassetlaw constituency in Nottinghamshire. There may be nothing Jewish in his background but, according to informed figures, no-one has done more than Mann in recent years to fight hatred against British Jews.

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Interview: Michael Peters

By Simon Round, February 5, 2009

For most people, airport departure lounges are not the most joyful places to spend time — merely the prelude to a holiday or a return home. However, Michael Peters recently had one of his most satisfying moments as he waited to catch a plane from the south of France.

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