The Diary

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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A horse called Mezuzah

By Simon Rocker, May 27, 2010

You may recall reading a few weeks ago of the exploits of Menorah the racehorse. Well, he is not alone in being Judaically named. There is another, called Mezuzah.

His most recent outing was at Sedgefield last week where he came eighth out of ten: as it was Shavuot, perhaps he should have been left in his paddock to graze on cheesecake.

Owner-trainer Jo Foster of Ilkley has yet to return my call so I can't explain how Mezuzah got his name.

But watch out too for Derby contender Brit Milah - a cut above the rest.

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Peter Crouch goes to Israel

By Simon Rocker, May 27, 2010

England skipper Rio Ferdinand is known as a regular visitor to Israel but lanky Spurs striker Peter Crouch recently took a holiday there as well.

He popped into Mike's Place, the celebrated Tel Aviv bar beloved of expats, to watch the FA Cup final, telling fans that he hoped a visit to the Holy Land would bring England luck at the World Cup in South Africa next month.

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The saintly Mr Shapps

By Simon Rocker, May 27, 2010

Is there something new Housing Minister Grant Shapps is not telling us?

Clearly the former BBYO leader enjoys the favour of Prime Minister David Cameron.

But judging from this picture in the Welwyn Hatfield Times, he is in someone's good books even higher up as well.

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Amber cooks for glory

By Simon Rocker, May 27, 2010

I'm pleased to report that 11-year-old Amber, the Junior MasterChef contestant and maker of dream latkes, has made it to the final four. You can see if she gets crowned queen of the young cooks this afternoon at 4.35 on BBC1 or CBBC.

Among her semi-final tasks was preparing the favourite dessert of new Doctor Who Matt Smith: treacle sponge with custard.

Amber's cooking took off after she did a charity barbeque for Chai Cancer Care.

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The 'yid' t-shirt unriddled

By Simon Rocker, May 27, 2010

Last week I showed a Portsmouth fan leaving Wembley after the FA Cup whose t-shirt bore the legend: We've got 99 problems but a yid ain't 1.

It was all perfectly innocent, a reader has written in: he must have had the t-shirt done for the semifinal against Tottenham, whose supporters of course are known as Yids: so all the slogan meant was "at least I'm not a Tottenham fan".

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Wembley's soccer shocker

By Simon Rocker, May 21, 2010

Football's authorities may have tried to kick racism out of the sport but this t-shirt slipped through the Wembley turnstiles at the FA Cup final at the weekend.

Jewish Chelsea supporter Michael Coplans spotted it as spectators left the stadium after the game.

Taking its wearer to be a fan of opposing club Portsmouth, he said; "I can only think the 99 is a reference to their financial problems and the Yid is a reference to [Israeli manager] Avram Grant.

"I was flabbergasted. I sent the picture to a couple of Jewish friends and they were appalled by it, too."

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