The Diary

Osborne for Board bash

By Simon Rocker, October 14, 2010

Chancellor George Osborne will join the Board of Deputies for their 250th anniversary dinner next month (one place at least where he can avoid the word "cuts"). Meanwhile, fellow speaker Tony Blair, who can fetch up to £200,000 for a lecture, has waived his fee.

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Chewing over the booker

By Simon Rocker, October 14, 2010

Howard Jacobson may have scooped Britain's top literary prize but, alas, he missed out on the Bunny Booker.

North London journalist Carol Muskoron offered her twist on this week's competition by giving all shortlisted Booker titles to her rabbits Audrey and Harrison to eat.

The book they munched the most would be the winner. But alas, The Finkler Question proved not to be so chewsworthy, coming only third.

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Bicom chair's Exodus link

By Simon Rocker, October 14, 2010

Bicom chairman Poju Zabludowicz was among guests at a launch for Operation Exodus, a new book about the refugee boat intercepted by the British before it reached Palestine in 1947.

The event was arranged by London TV producer Jill Samuels, founder of the charity Films Without Borders, who did the interviews for the book.

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Gay wedding notice banned

By Simon Rocker, October 7, 2010

A Jewish newspaper in New Jersey has banned same-sex marriage announcements, the day after the first happy couple had their nuptials printed. Justin Rosen and Avi Smolen's wedding announcement was in the Jewish Standard, complete with a smiling picture of the couple.

The newspaper said that following "negative comments", other such announcements would not be printed. Editor Rebecca Kaplan Boroson wrote an editorial explaining that it was a "divisive issue". But after outraged comments on the newspaper's website, publisher James Janoff said they were reconsidering their decision.

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Getting their lines crossed

By Simon Rocker, October 7, 2010

A simple tale of a Cardiff mum's anger at yobs on a train took a dark twist when the Press Association sent out an illustration with the news story - a picture of the Auschwitz rail tracks.

Blamed on "human error", the picture appeared alongside the story on local newspaper websites including the Cambridge News. PA apologised and removed the picture, saying in a statement: "We apologise for any offence caused by this unfortunate human error.

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Cricket trip to Dachau

By Simon Rocker, October 7, 2010

England's cricket team have enjoyed a pre-Ashes bonding tour of Bavaria, sampling the local brew, abseiling... and visiting Dachau.

The team and management visited the concentration camp during their five-day trip.

Last year the team visited another site of devastation: Flanders, Belgium. But details of that trip were kept shrouded in secrecy.

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IPhone home to Israel

By Simon Rocker, October 7, 2010

Ditch the guide books. Israel's tourism ministry has launched a new gadget for the tech-savvy traveller. Visitors can download the free iPhone app which will identify your location and show you local events happening on that day.

The app has the bonus of making you fit right in when you're in Israel – you'll spend most of your day with eyes glued to the screen of your iPhone.

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Ed's relative values

By Simon Rocker, October 7, 2010

Many have questioned the influence on Ed Miliband of his mother Marion Kozak, a supporter of Jews for Justice for Palestinians.

But a closer look at his family history reveals an altogether more positive influence. Aunt Nan Keen (nee Miliband) worked for publishers Valentine Mitchell, which was owned by the JC.

The children and relatives of JC staff are clearly destined for greatness. The JC's former advertising manager Tony Mandelson, had a son who was once famous, apparently.

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Amy and Mark make up

By Simon Rocker, September 28, 2010

In the seasonal spirit of forgiveness, Amy Winehouse has made peace after lashing out at fellow Jewish musician Mark Ronson.

The troubled singer, who calls herself the "Jewish lioness", on her Twitter page, got her claws into Ronson after he claimed credit for her album Back to Black, tweeting "ronson you're dead to me."

But the star was quick to explain away her anger, albeit in language the rest of us might struggle with. On her personal Twitter account amyjademermaid she wrote: "Ronson i love you; that make it better? you knoww i love you- it's a jew thingz x whup rza."

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BNP man attacks writer

By Simon Rocker, September 28, 2010

The BNP's ex spokesman has accused a columnist of being part of a Jewish campaign to destroy society. Stuart Russell - also known by his pseudonym Phil Edwards - retired from the BNP in 2007 to "spend time playing piano". But tinkling the keys is now playing second fiddle to sending abusive messages to journalists. He wrote to the Observer's Eva Wiseman after she published a column on lesbianism.

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