The Diary

UJIA’s dinner dilemma

By Simon Round, July 11, 2008
Word reaches us of a terrible dilemma confronting UJIA. It’s being strongly rumoured that Gordon Brown has been pencilled in as the main speaker for their autumn fundraising dinner. Which, under other political circumstances, would be lovely — except that Mr Brown’s prospects are not currently looking too rosy. So we hear that there has been some concern within the organisation — the word “panic” has been used — about whether they should think again, just in case he is not the PM at that point. A spokeswoman promises to get back to us, but somehow never does. Very politic.

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A novel correction

By Simon Round, July 11, 2008
Two weeks ago, we reported a correction from the Daily Mail apologising for falsely suggesting that David Gest had contracted a sexually transmitted disease and had Liza Minnelli’s dog killed. Here is another beauty from The Guardian concerning a book by The Times’s Jewish editor, James Harding. “James Harding’s book, Alpha Dogs, is not a searing, gripping novel as we said in a diary item. It is a work of non-fiction about a firm of US political strategists.”

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Parade? What parade?

By Simon Round, July 4, 2008

You may have been among the thousands attending the “Salute to Israel” parade in London on Sunday. So how did London’s paper, the Evening Standard, report the event? Well, the paper carried a centre-spread photo showing Spanish football fans celebrating their Euro 2008 triumph  in Piccadilly Circus on Sunday night.

The caption read : “In among the sea of red and yellow is a lone Israeli flag, presumably left lying around after a parade earlier in the day to celebrate 60 years of the state of Israel.”

Yes, that was it.

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Sharansky talks pants

By Simon Round, July 4, 2008

At the Conservative Friends of Israel annual business lunch last week, Shadow Chancellor George Osborne said he had vivid memories of Soviet dissident and retired Israeli politician Natan Sharansky walking across the Glienicke Bridge in West Berlin on his release from prison in 1986.

Mr Osborne said: “When I met him years later, I asked him what he was thinking as he crossed the bridge, and he said: ‘I had lost so much weight, and because my belt had been taken, I was terrified my trousers would fall down’.”

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Israeli - and big in Beirut

By Simon Round, July 4, 2008

Israel and Lebanon may not be on talking terms right now, but Lebanese music fans can’t get enough of an Israeli transsexual singer (and, no it’s not Dana International).

Say No More, a dance track by Aderet, who had the operation 10 years ago, has been at the top of the playlist this month on the Beirut Nights internet radio station devoted to dance music. Said Aderet: “They know I’m an Israeli singer, and that it’s an Israeli song. It feels great.”

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Potty about Zionist plots

By Simon Round, July 4, 2008

The Diary enjoys a preposterous Zionist conspiracy theory, and this week we have two crackers.

Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning D-Day epic, Saving Private Ryan, was Zionist propaganda. According to an Iranian documentary about Hollywood cinema, the eponymous soldier was called Ryan because of the similarity of the name to “Zion”. Moreover, claims the documentary, “prominent films like Saving Private Ryan highlight the role of Jewish soldiers. By exaggerating this role, the Zionists seem to be trying to achieve legitimacy for their post-war actions.”

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Rabbi... or is that Robbie?

By Simon Round, June 27, 2008

When Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks arrived at BBC Television Centre last week for his Thought for the Day slot, he had problems gaining access to the studio.

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The best correction ever

By Simon Round, June 27, 2008

This correction of a story about Liza Minnelli’s former husband David Gest, published in the Daily Mail last week, is our favourite Jewish celebrity correction. Ever. As a service to readers, we print it verbatim:

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TZIPI’s criminal past

By Simon Round, June 27, 2008

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni revealed this week that her parents had met under rather unusual circumstances: they were robbing a British train at the time.

Livni’s parents Eitan and Sarah were both activists in the hardline Irgun militia in Mandate Palestine when they became acquainted while mounting a raid on a British train.

They were arrested and served time in different prisons, but the spark of romance had been lit.

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The city sale of the century

By Simon Round, June 27, 2008

Strictly Orthodox property developer Eliasz Englander had a problem. His firm, Citywise, is developing a 106,000 ft scheme at 1 Southampton Row in central London. He needed to put a tower crane on the site, but was informed by builders Bovis the crane had to be erected on Saturday to prevent traffic disruption.

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