The Diary

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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Eastenders’ taste of Israel

By Simon Rocker, October 8, 2009

The boycott campaign has not reached Albert Square, I am happy to say. In Monday’s episode of EastEnders, character Sam Mitchell could be seen – at least by Hebrew-reading viewers – helping herself to a glass of Israeli orange juice.

(The BBC refused us use of a picture but you can catch it on iPlayer).

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Kindly adjust your wigs

By Simon Rocker, October 8, 2009

London QC Dinah Rose entered the annals last Thursday as the first barrister in England to be televised in action in court. A snatch of her address at the first sitting of the new Supreme Court, which happened to be about the costs of the JFS admissions row, was broadcast by Sky News.

In summer she successfully put the case against JFS at the Court of Appeal, but now Lord Pannick will hope to reverse his defeat there when the Supreme Court hears JFS’s appeal in two weeks. The hearing could be screened — a must for our legal friends, if not exactly Rumpole of the Bailey.

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The Labour loyalist

By Simon Rocker, October 1, 2009

Labour may have lost the Sun but at least it has kept the support of David Abrahams,

The businessman whose donations to it sparked, in 2007, an ultimately fruitless police inquiry.

In Brighton for the Labour conference, a beaming Abrahams felt “back among friends”. So will he dip into his pockets for the election? “The donations issue is history,” he said with a knowing smile before melting into the Labour Friends of Israel throng.

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