The Simon Round interview

Interview: Dan Falk

By Simon Round, June 18, 2009

Dan Falk is bang on time for our interview. This would not normally be a fact worth noting. He is after all an accomplished and almost certainly a very punctual science writer who is used to making and keeping appointments. However, given the nature of our conversation, it is significant – particularly when he reveals that the time is actually different for him than it is for me.

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Interview: Gerald Ronson

By Simon Round, June 4, 2009

If you ever wondered what it takes to become a multi-millionaire, Gerald Ronson’s weekend timetable is a salutary lesson.

From Monday to Friday, he puts in 12-hour days. Then at the weekend, Ronson — who at the age of 70 still heads his Heron International property empire — wakes up early for what he calls his Saturday job.

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Interview: Lord Weidenfeld

By Simon Round, May 21, 2009

Lord Weidenfeld may be nearly 90 years old but he is still a man in a hurry. He is squeezing in our interview before rushing home to pack for an important trip to Israel. This in no way takes away from the warmth of the welcome. His eyes twinkle, his smile is genuine and he gives the impression that this meeting is the highlight of his day — perhaps of his week.

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Interview: Professor Yonatan Halevy

By Simon Round, May 14, 2009

The next time you find yourself waiting for three hours at your local accident and emergency department with a badly sprained ankle, you might wish to compare the experience with that of your Israeli counterpart.

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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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