The Diary

Daniel in the bloggers' den

By Simon Rocker, March 17, 2011

Indignant bloggers have been quick to pounce on remarks made at the recent J Street conference in Washington by one of the doveish lobby group's co-founders, Daniel Levy (right).

In a filmed discussion, he said that if Israel could only survive by the sword - rejected by its neighbours because "they hate us for what we are" - then "Israel really ain't a very good idea".

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The chief will go to church

By Simon Rocker, March 17, 2011

The newly elected president of the Reform movement, Rabbi Tony Bayfield, took an active part for the first time in the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey on Monday, reciting a prayer he wrote for the occasion about the contribution of women.

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Israel, the new Vienna

By Simon Rocker, March 17, 2011

At least someone likes Israel on Channel 4. Historian Niall Ferguson in his series Civilisation: is the West History? compared Israel to historic Vienna, a "fortified city on the frontier of Western civilisation". In 2008, he observed, Israel created 9,591 patents, compared to Iran's 50.

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Menorah's light dimmed

By Simon Rocker, March 17, 2011

I had hoped to bring you more about the race-winning exploits of Menorah the horse.

But, alas, the 3/1 shot in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham on Tuesday could only muster a poor fifth.

Given the time of year, perhaps they should have renamed him Megillah.

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Spare our meat, Mr Wilders

By Simon Rocker, March 17, 2011

Holland's Party for Freedom, led by the combative Geert Wilders, is among those backing a new bill which would effectively end shechitah there through compulsory stunning. Mr Wilders was once barred from Britain because of his views on Muslims - he has called for a ban on the Koran - although he was allowed in last year.

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The happiest man in America

By Simon Rocker, March 10, 2011

If you want to be happy, take a cue from Alvin Wong of Hawaii.

According to a formula used by Gallup to measure wellbeing, the paragon of contentment would be a tallish Asian-American Jew who was in his 60s, married with children, living in Hawaii and earning more than £80,000 year.

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Elite company for Mr Blair

By Simon Rocker, March 10, 2011

The Israeli press has taken an interest in the hospitality apparently being shown to the Quartet's Middle East envoy Tony Blair by local businesswoman Ofra Strauss. The glamorous divorcee chairs the Strauss group, Israel's second largest food manufacturer whose products include Elite chocolates.

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The great sports conspiracy

By Simon Rocker, March 3, 2011

You can't fool the Iranians, who have rumbled that the 2012 Olympic Games is a cunning plan to promote the interests of Israel. Their delegation protested to the International Olympic Committee this week that the official logo for the London Olympiad spells the word "Zion".

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Make Dana our diplomat

By Simon Rocker, March 3, 2011

several British-born diplomats have been tipped to replace Ron Prosor as Israel's UK envoy, including Mark Sofer and Daniel Taub.

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The wig that went missing

By Simon Rocker, March 3, 2011

New Channel 4 sitcom Friday Night Dinner got short shrift from Sunday Times critic A A Gill who called it a "sad and feeble leftover thing". He noted there was little Jewish about it besides Tamsin Greig's shtetl? Shtetl? I am reliably informed the gremlins got to his copy and he actually wrote sheitl.

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