The Diary

Eliot the antisemite

By Simon Rocker, November 12, 2009

TS Eliot’s antisemitism has been a matter of heated debate in literary circles but fresh evidence of it comes in a new edition of the poet’s letters.

In one, Eliot wrote that he was “sick of doing business with Jew publishers”; in another, he thought that “racial envy” tipped Jews towards Bolshevism. Not to mention his mother having an “instinctive antipathy to Jews, just as I have to certain animals”.

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Tongue-tied Edwina

By Simon Rocker, November 12, 2009

Former minister Edwina Currie has been taking a breather from current affairs in her post-political years. On a JC Any Questions panel at Nightingale House this week, she was asked her view of the JFS case at the Supreme Court and the Goldstone report on Gaza.“Excuse me, what is the Goldstone report?” she was heard to remark, with JFS equally an enigma.

Quick, someone, buy her a JC subscription for Chanucah.

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Stacey's snappy dad

By Simon Rocker, November 12, 2009

While Stacey Solomon sings her way towards TV stardom, her dad David is busy capturing happy memories as a simchah photographer. His speciality is Charedi dos, judging from the smiling couples in his online gallery such as Betzalel and Esty, Moshe and Sheina, Shloimele and Miriam.

Pity they don’t allow women wedding singers at frum functions, because I am sure Stacey does a mean Siman Tov Umazeltov.

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Ross Kemp takes on Israel

By Simon Rocker, November 12, 2009

A few weeks ago we reported a sighting of EastEnders actor Ross Kemp frolicking off the Tel Aviv beach.

But there was more to his visit than may have appeared. Sky have revealed that he is to present a two-part documentary series in January on the political situation in Israel and Gaza.

The programmes will give people “a better understanding of this complex and troubled part of the world”, he hopes.

His TV documentary career has already led him to explore gang warfare and soldiering in Afghanistan.

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Punch and Juju

By Simon Rocker, November 5, 2009

Wanted: four to six “fairly observant” Jewish lads, aged between 16 and 25, willing to spend a weekend in Newcastle next month with some Muslim peers for a video project. Filmmakers Juju Productions want to record the “jovial rivalry” between the two groups, culminating in a trip to watch the world boxing title fight between Muslim Amir Khan and Jewish Dmitry Salita in the city on the night of Saturday December 5.

The young spectators are meant to bond in interfaith fraternity while their light-welterweight role models try to pound each other to a pulp.

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Cohen sings the carols

By Simon Rocker, November 5, 2009

Of course, next month’s Christmas Carol Singalong at London’s Albert Hall had to be led by one Jonathan Cohen.

The festive musician, whose credits include Playschool and Rentaghost, hails from the wouldn’t-have-got-into-JFS branch of Cohens, being of paternal Jewish descent, as well as a former church organist.So little chance of him slipping in Maoz Tzur between the herald angels and merry gents.

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Friend and F.O.

By Simon Rocker, November 5, 2009

Former Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Arens found a warmer reception at the Foreign Office than on his last visit 20 years ago.

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Hats off to Lady Hayman

By Simon Rocker, October 29, 2009

A haimishe start for the Chief Rabbi at the House of Lords. When the new Lord Sacks of Aldgate, who took his seat among his fellow peers for the first time on Tuesday, acknowledged the Lady Speaker with a ceremonial sweep of his hat, Baroness Hayman responded with a greeting yet to be formally recorded in the etiquette books: “Mazeltov”.

The Chief had just come from over the road at the Supreme Court, where he and Lady Sacks had sat in for half an hour or so on the JFS case on some rather grand chairs especially reserved for them.

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Refreshes the peyot

By Simon Rocker, October 29, 2009

Allow me to introduce a beverage of indisputable uniqueness, the world’s first Cornish, organic, vegetarian and kosher-supervised beer.

Mashkeh Gold, brainchild of Emanuel Solinsky of Stamford Hill, has taken its place among Britain’s premier ales complete with Kedassia label.

Lest you wonder why anyone would want kosher, veggie beer, bear in mind that isinglass — from the non-kosher sturgeon — is used as a fining agent in the manufacture of some ales.

So now you know what the Adath Beth Din would settle down with to watch the footie — if they had a TV.

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Boy George back in shul

By Simon Rocker, October 29, 2009

This month’s celebrity shul-goer award goes to former Culture Club chanteur Boy George. Not only was he in synagogue in St John’s Wood over Yom Kippur, but on Sunday he turned up unexpectedly at Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue for a ’60s social evening with friends Philip Sallon and New York singer Coby Koehl.

The visiting George apparently enjoyed the retro fare: hot dogs and fish-paste sandwiches.

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