The Diary

World Cup Matisyahu

By Simon Rocker, June 10, 2010

Jewish interest in the World Cup may be confined to a couple of players in the USA team and there isn't even an Israeli referee (which may be just as well). But at least we can draw pride from the inclusion of reggae Chasid, Matisyahu, on The Official Fifa World Cup 2010 album.

His song One Day is one of the 12 tracks picked for the charity record and contains the words "It's not all win or lose, We all lose".

A consoling thought when watching England.

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Foxhunting in Hackney

By Simon Rocker, June 10, 2010

If only they had listened to former Mayor of Hackney Joe Lobenstein.

After baby twins in the borough were attacked in their cot by a fox, Mr Lobenstein revealed that he had warned the council of the threat from the creatures years ago.

The local Charedi community has mounted anti-crime patrols: perhaps they should now mobilise against the bushy-tailed menace on the streets.

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On the lawpath

By Simon Rocker, June 10, 2010

QC Roy Amlot joined legal critics of Israel's interception of the Gaza flotilla, co-signing a letter to TheTimes with Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights chairman Daniel Machover suggesting UN sanctions if Israel failed to co-operate with an investigation.

27 years ago, Mr Amlot prosecuted the would-be assassins of Israel's London Ambassador Shlomo Argov: the attempt on the envoy's life triggered the First Lebanon War.

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Tel Aviv, capital of Israel?

By Simon Rocker, June 10, 2010

The Advertising Standards Authority provoked a storm of protests when it ruled an Israeli tourist ad could not display the Western Wall. But should another watchdog, the Press Complaints Commission, expect a knock on the door from the Board of Deputies, too?

The PCC this week rejected a complaint from Geoffrey Alderman against a Sunday Times sub-headline, which he argued wrongly implied that Tel Aviv was Israel's seat of government.

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Split over salmon

By Simon Rocker, June 3, 2010

An argument has been going on among strictly Orthodox rabbis over the past few months about whether wild salmon is unkosher because of a tiny worm that dwells in the fish. I won’t belabour you with the details but one of the most prominent pro-banners happens to be named Rabbi Moshe Karp.

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ebay's star-crossed user

By Simon Rocker, June 3, 2010

You have to marvel at our readers' capacity to take offence.

Online auctioneers eBay use a multi-coloured star system to show people how many other customers think they are good to do business with. The colour of the star shows the level of positive feedback.

But one user was not so chuffed to receive her first star. "I am absolutely disgusted that you refer to it as 'giving me a yellow star'," she complained to the company - as someone "who lost many family members in the Holocaust".

So why not, she suggested, use "gold star" instead?

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Caffeine shutdown

By Simon Rocker, June 3, 2010

It must have been tough for those who turned up for the Zionist Federation's show of solidarity outside the Israeli Embassy in London on Wednesday.

The local Starbucks had been closed in case of trouble because of the anti-Israel protests. How did they manage without their coffee?

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The non-kosher cow

By Simon Rocker, June 3, 2010

A colleague was amused to see that bang opposite the north London headquarters of the United Synagogue and Chief Rabbi is a restaurant called the Golden Calf.

Perhaps the Beth Din ought to consider giving it a kashrut licence and renaming it the Red Heifer.

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Mind your protocols

By Simon Rocker, June 3, 2010

A whiff of antisemitism? "The Israelis are extremely clever and cunning," a woman in the audience at Tuesday's lecture on Gaza at the LSE told her neighbour. "They have wormed their way into every nation and no one has the courage to go for them."

I wish I'd brought an aerosol.

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Unlucky timing

By Simon Rocker, June 3, 2010

You can’t accuse Israel’s Ministry of Tourism of not trying. A full page ad promoting the country as “the ideal year-round destination” appeared in unfamiliar terrain, The Guardian’s Weekend magazine. Just a shame about the timing — a couple of days before the PR disaster on the high seas.

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