The Diary

Thanks for turning up late

By Simon Rocker, September 22, 2011

It was just as well that Lib Dem peer Lord Palmer arrived late for the Holocaust Educational Trust dinner the other day.

He had been waiting to vote in the Lords in favour of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill, which contains the all-important clause on universal jurisdiction intended to ease the threat of arrest against visiting Israeli politicians.

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First claim on Mr Taub

By Simon Rocker, September 22, 2011

New Israel Ambassador Daniel Taub has been busy doing the rounds, speaking at the UJIA dinner, a Board of Deputies plenary and a Conservative Friends of Israel reception. All three apparently claimed to have been hosting the envoy's first communal appearance. The honour, we think, should go to the CFI.

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Obama appeals to the head

By Simon Rocker, September 22, 2011

President Obama is suffering a backlash from America's largely pro-Democrat Jewish community over his position on Israel.

The Democrats recently lost what looked like a safe congressional seat in New York.

But Obama supporters clearly believe they can turn the tide. They have brought back the "Obamulke" of 2008 with a new logo for next year's presidential race.

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No, Prime Minister

By Simon Rocker, September 22, 2011

Was this just a slip of the tongue or was Piers Morgan trying to plant a subliminal message? Israeli Defence Minister and former premier Ehud Barak was the interviewee this week on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight. But the presenter opened by calling him "Prime Minister". Barak did not rush to correct him.

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Rodents on joint exercise

By Simon Rocker, September 22, 2011

Haifa University researchers have discovered that rats administered with marijuana do not experience post-traumatic stress symptoms. Does that mean that IDF soldiers in future will be issued with spliffs in their kitbag?

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Bowling with the Chief

By Simon Rocker, September 22, 2011

The Chief Rabbi's intellectual buddies for his annual Rosh Hashanah broadcast on BBC1 on Tuesday night (entitled "What is the point of religion?") will be Lord "Blue Labour" Glasman and political scientist Robert Putnam.

Putnam is an expert on community and social connection best known for his 2000 book Bowling Alone.

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Shameless goes to shul

By Simon Rocker, September 15, 2011

Shameless, Channel 4's ribald drama about life on a Manchester estate, is about the last place on TV you'd expect to find a Jewish sub-plot.

But the kippahs popped up on Tuesday in an episode which had the inebriate anti-hero Frank waking up drunk in a local synagogue and ending up being conscripted as a Shabbes goy.

The scene was filmed not in shul, but in a set modelled on Wilbraham Road,

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The scourge of the Beeb

By Simon Rocker, September 15, 2011

Stephen Franklin has struck again.

The Zionist Federation member has proved relentless in his endeavour to hold the BBC to account.

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Just a good jewish boy

By Simon Rocker, September 15, 2011

Danish director Lars von Trier, you may recall, was drummed out of the Cannes Film Festival in spring after ranting that he understood Hitler.

Von Trier was, in fact, raised as a cultural Jew, he told the Sunday Times last weekend, adding: "I want to claim that I'm as good a Jew as any Jew".

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A lapse to pass over

By Simon Rocker, September 15, 2011

Filmmaker Jon Ronson, tweeting about a visit to Israel, recalled his grilling at Ben Gurion Airport.

"You say you're Jewish?" barked his inquisitor. "Name the High Holy Days! Say something in Hebrew."

"I can't rememember the High Holy Days," he pleaded, before venturing "Pesach".

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