The Diary

Miliband and the mensch

By Simon Rocker, October 22, 2009

Put David Miliband in a roomful of a Jewish leaders and you would expect the odd sharp word to fly.

Less than a month ago he uncanned the worms by suggesting that the Conservatives had got into bed in Europe with little better than the Polish and Latvian equivalents of the BNP. Cue outraged Tories, whispers of protest from the Board of Deputies, more outraged Tories, and members of the Jewish Leadership Council upset with the Board for upsetting the Conservatives.

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Mary, Mary, very contrary

By Simon Rocker, October 22, 2009

Here’s why the London Review of Books, house mag of left-leaning literati, has little good to say of Israel. Its Jewish editor Mary-Kay Wilmers told the Sunday Times: “I’m unambiguously hostile to Israel because it’s a mendacious state. They do things that are just so immoral and counterproductive and, as a Jew, especially as a Jew, you can’t justify that.”

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No Shnapps for shnips

By Simon Rocker, October 22, 2009

Knesset member Yariv Levin’s proposal to slap a ban on alcohol for minors has not gone down well with Lubavitch, who have never seen a problem with a l’chaim or two.

A Lubavitch website recently reassured youngsters going on shidduch dates that it was fine to enjoy a drink in a general bar – as long as they avoided slices of lemon or lime because they are cut by a non-kosher knife.

Bang go the G&Ts, then.

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Madoff's inside circle

By Simon Rocker, October 22, 2009

He may have had to ditch his yachts and luxury homes but at least Bernie Madoff has some interesting prison company. The billionaire fraudster is, according to US legal papers, hobnobbing inside with ex-Mafioso Carmine Persico and Jonathan Pollard, the naval analyst convicted of spying for Israel.

They certainly have time to get to know each other. Persico and Pollard are doing life, while Madoff has another 149 years to go.

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Library buys figes

October 15, 2009

The British Library has acquired the archive of the writer Eva Figes for £20,000.The German-born author came to Britain as a refugee in 1939.

Her 2008 memoir, Journey to Nowhere, was described by Geoffrey Alderman in the JC as “a peg to hang a rant about Israel and the USA”.

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Magnate bankrupt

October 15, 2009

A former property magnate and director of Leeds FC has been declared bankrupt a year after his business empire collapsed with debts of around £50 million.

Simon Morris, 32, was arrested in October last year on suspicion of fraud and money laundering.

A police investigation is continuing.

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No, it can't be you, Bob

By Simon Rocker, October 15, 2009

At first, I thought I had been the victim of an elaborate hoax, and I still hope I might be, but it’s all turning out to be horribly true.

This week it was announced that Bob Dylan is releasing a Christmas album, Christmas in the Heart. It’s all in a noble cause – the proceeds are going to feed the hungry in the USA and beyond.

But after hearing a YouTube preview featuring the great bard croak his way through such seasonal favourites as Here Comes Santa Claus, Winter Wonderland and Come All Ye Faithful,

I concluded I’d rather stick my head in a bowl of calf’s foot jelly.

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Put a lid on yid, please

By Simon Rocker, October 15, 2009

Saturday’s Telegraph Review chose David Schneider’s Radio Four programme on Yiddish as its radio pick of the day for yesterday. Interviewees included former American Secretary of State Colin Powell who, the magazine informed us, “unexpectedly learned the rudiments of the language while working as a teenager in a Yid-owned toyshop in New York”.

Yid-owned? I know the Telegraph is not exactly a friend of political correctness but...

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Room for a schmooze

By Simon Rocker, October 15, 2009

EasyJet clearly want Jewish customers to feel at home on their new flights to Israel next month. Not only will kosher sandwiches be on offer but they will be using wider-aisled planes which will give passengers room to squeeze past the hostess’s trolley in order to pursue their social rounds.

One easyJet official wondered whether there is some religious requirement to spend half the flight out of your seat.

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The Urban spaceman

By Simon Rocker, October 15, 2009

Media pundits believe that Sir Jeremy Isaacs’s old seat at Channel Four could be filled by UKTV boss David Abraham.

But never mind the programmes, what would he do with the station’s Horseferry Road headquarters should he become chief exec? While at St Luke’s, the ad agency he co-founded, he was once asked about his offices by a potential client. “We don’t have offices,” was his reply, “we have space.”

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