The Diary

Stressful elections

By Simon Rocker, July 7, 2011

Haifa University researchers have found that people's stress levels rise significantly before they cast their vote in an election. One line for Arab despots to use against their rebellious citizens; dictatorship is better for your blood pressure.

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Rothschild's west bank

By Simon Rocker, July 7, 2011

Israeli think tank head Danny Rothschild, in London this week, once played a key Ministry of Defence role in the Palestinian Territories. As he used to say at the time, although a Rothschild, the only bank he had was the West Bank.

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Beware killer candlesticks

By Simon Rocker, July 7, 2011

A narrow escape for Marilyn of St John's Wood who was enjoying a peaceful Friday night post- dinner last week. "My husband was in the armchair and I was reading the paper," she recalled, "when suddenly there was a bullet sound."

She looked up to find that one of the small glass holders for her Shabbat candles had shattered from the heat - sending a shard flying across the room.

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Lumley's the ethical pick

By Simon Rocker, July 7, 2011

The Jewish Association for Business Ethics has gone for glamour rather than grey suit with its choice of dinner speaker: campaigning actress Joanna Lumley. A vision of Patsy, the dissolute character she played in Absolutely Fabulous, dispensing ethical tips to our captains of commerce staggers before me....

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A capital comment

By Simon Rocker, July 7, 2011

A choice snippet from the latest volume of diaries of Tony Blair's former press aide, Alastair Campbell: the then Prime Minister once told his then- Israeli counterpart Ehud Barak that he could see how hard it would be for Israel to hand over Jerusalem - it would be "like giving Westminster to Germany".

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Top surgeon's royal ascent

By Simon Rocker, June 30, 2011

The Royal College of Surgeons has chosen what I believe is its first Jewish president.

Professor Norman Williams (right), the director of the Centre for Academy Surgery at Barts and the Royal London Hospital, who alluded to his Jewish origins in his acceptance speech, takes up the post on Thursday.

Originally from Leeds, he is a leader in the field of bowel disorders and author of a prize-wi

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Football-mad dad

By Simon Rocker, June 30, 2011

Historian Simon Sebag Montefiore spoke about his new book on Jerusalem at a British Council do in Israel this week, recalling his ancestor Sir Moses Montefiore's obsession with the city. Sir Moses had Jerusalem inscribed on his ring, his cutlery and even above his bed. UK ambassador Matthew Gould remarked that his own father had a similar obsession, but his inscription read Wembley.

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Lush not so fragrant

By Simon Rocker, June 30, 2011

Handmade cosmetics company Lush is about to open a store in Brent Cross, which may not be the best place for it to promote its latest ethical campaign - publicising the Freedom for Palestine single.

The song, produced by the OneWorld coalition of musicians, refers to a "crime against humanity", Gaza as a "prison camp" and the West Bank divided by an "apartheid wall".

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Rees-Mogg's Mideast mission

By Simon Rocker, June 30, 2011

In his forthcoming memoirs, former Times editor Lord Rees-Mogg reveals that he once brought a peace offer from Egyptian president Anwar Sadat to Israeli premier Golda Meir but she rejected the deal in 1971 - two years before the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War.

Her mistrust of the Egyptian leader was "her greatest mistake", Rees-Mogg reflected.

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Getting shirty for Israel

By Simon Rocker, June 23, 2011

Israeli art student Noam Edry has been so upset by the anti-Israel sentiment she faced on campus in London that she is using her degree show to make a stand on her country's behalf.

She has recruited volunteers to help with her performance of "Coffee Stand", where they will serve Israeli coffee and wear t-shirts she designed with the slogan "I come from the most hated place on Earth", which con

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