The Diary

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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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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Israeli horror in Peckham

By Simon Rocker, September 15, 2011

The Jewish Film Festival is screening Israel's first horror movie, Rabies, in which a group of tennis players are stalked by a killer. And where will it be showing? Peckham. Too bloody for Hampstead, I guess.

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Gingertops of the pops

By Simon Rocker, September 8, 2011

Following in the footsteps of Stacey Solomon and Katie Waissel on the X Factor were married couple Brian and Annette Altman, who performed as The Gingertops on this season's show.

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Corrie's special delivery

By Simon Rocker, September 8, 2011

Fans of ITV's Coronation Street will have been surprised to hear the exchange between Rita Sullivan, doughty manageress of newspaper shop The Kabin, and her new newspaper "delivery boy" Dennis Tanner on Sunday night.

Down on his luck Dennis was homeless until his old friend took pity on him, giving him paid employment.

On his first round, Dennis got a little muddled with the deliveries.

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PM's holiday reading

By Simon Rocker, September 8, 2011

David Cameron may prefer Tuscany or Cornwall to Tel Aviv, but for his hols at least, he took a little bit of Israel with him.

His vacation reading included Simon Sebag Montefiore's history of Jerusalem.

Western leaders must have Israel on their minds, because President Obama's summer choices included leading Israeli novelist David Grossman's Until the End of the Land.

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