The Diary

Top surgeon's royal ascent

By Simon Rocker, June 30, 2011

The Royal College of Surgeons has chosen what I believe is its first Jewish president.

Professor Norman Williams (right), the director of the Centre for Academy Surgery at Barts and the Royal London Hospital, who alluded to his Jewish origins in his acceptance speech, takes up the post on Thursday.

Originally from Leeds, he is a leader in the field of bowel disorders and author of a prize-wi

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Football-mad dad

By Simon Rocker, June 30, 2011

Historian Simon Sebag Montefiore spoke about his new book on Jerusalem at a British Council do in Israel this week, recalling his ancestor Sir Moses Montefiore's obsession with the city. Sir Moses had Jerusalem inscribed on his ring, his cutlery and even above his bed. UK ambassador Matthew Gould remarked that his own father had a similar obsession, but his inscription read Wembley.

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Lush not so fragrant

By Simon Rocker, June 30, 2011

Handmade cosmetics company Lush is about to open a store in Brent Cross, which may not be the best place for it to promote its latest ethical campaign - publicising the Freedom for Palestine single.

The song, produced by the OneWorld coalition of musicians, refers to a "crime against humanity", Gaza as a "prison camp" and the West Bank divided by an "apartheid wall".

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Rees-Mogg's Mideast mission

By Simon Rocker, June 30, 2011

In his forthcoming memoirs, former Times editor Lord Rees-Mogg reveals that he once brought a peace offer from Egyptian president Anwar Sadat to Israeli premier Golda Meir but she rejected the deal in 1971 - two years before the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War.

Her mistrust of the Egyptian leader was "her greatest mistake", Rees-Mogg reflected.

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Blair guru sues Mail

By Simon Rocker, June 23, 2011

Cherie Blair's former lifestyle guru Carole Caplin is suing the Daily Mail over an article allegedly suggesting she might spill the beans on the Blair's marital secrets.

Her lawyer is David Price, who successfully defended Dayan Yisroel Lichtenstein in England's longest slander trial.

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Fox snares a better press

By Simon Rocker, June 23, 2011

Megan Fox was reportedly dropped from the Transformers film series after producer Steven Spielberg learned that she had described its director Michael Bay as wanting to be "like Hitler" on the film set.

But her media fortunes were back in credit later in the week with the news that she has landed a role in Sacha Baron Cohen's new film, which, as irony would have it, is called The Dictator.

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It's the talk of the cabbies

By Simon Rocker, June 23, 2011

The historically large number of Jewish cabbies has left its mark on the trade lingo, as a new guide, London Taxi Driver Slang, demonstrates.

You can hail a droschky (cab) to take you to Goldberg's Green (Golders Green) or Volvo City (Stamford Hill), while you fret at the amount being run up on the zeiger, taximeter.

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Getting shirty for Israel

By Simon Rocker, June 23, 2011

Israeli art student Noam Edry has been so upset by the anti-Israel sentiment she faced on campus in London that she is using her degree show to make a stand on her country's behalf.

She has recruited volunteers to help with her performance of "Coffee Stand", where they will serve Israeli coffee and wear t-shirts she designed with the slogan "I come from the most hated place on Earth", which con

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Guardian travel tips

By Simon Rocker, June 23, 2011

The Guardian, in a travel feature exhorting readers to capitalise on the Arab spring by visiting the Middle East, did manage to include Israel - giving it one paragraph out of three pages.

But do not jump to conclusions: that was the same amount of space also devoted to "Palestine".

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Keeping Winehouse company

By Simon Rocker, June 16, 2011

There will be a little Yiddish-flavoured hors d'ouevre before Amy Winehouse takes the stage in Istanbul on Monday as part of her world tour.

Her support act will be Oi Va Voi, the London band that helped to make klezmer cool in the UK.

Oi Va Voi (above) enjoy a considerable European following - they are headlining at Hungary's equivalent of Glastonbury in the summer and have already played a

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