Jenni Frazer

How fascinating

By Jenni Frazer, March 2, 2010

According to reports today, the bounding abilities of the Dubai police chief get ever wider and more far-reaching. In a press conference, apparently, "the police chief also said that travellers suspected of being Israeli will not be allowed into the United Arab Emirates even if they arrive with alternative passports.
"He did not explain what procedures would be used to identify the Israeli visitors, except that the police would 'develop skills' to recognise Israelis by 'physical features and the way they speak.'"


Yuli Edelstein: the man to save Israel's PR crisis?

By Jenni Frazer, February 25, 2010

Israel is suffering its biggest public relations crisis for 20 years, according to its information and diaspora minister.

Yuli Edelstein told 400 guests at the Zionist Federation dinner in London this week: "We are facing the 3Ds- deligitimisation, demonisation, and double standards, pretending to be legitimate criticism of Israeli policies."

While it had become "absolutely disgusting not to talk nicely about Jews," such a taboo no longer applied to Israel or its soldiers.


Colonel Richard Kemp blasts media's Israel coverage

By Jenni Frazer, February 25, 2010

A leading defence figure has warned of "dark forces" exploiting the international media, including the BBC, and insisted that some criticism of Israel "is based on antisemitism".
Retired Colonel Richard Kemp told a 400-strong audience at the Zionist Federation's 110th anniversary dinner it had been a "privilege" to work alongside members of the Israel Defence Forces during his 30-year career.


Local hero

By Jenni Frazer, February 22, 2010

Like everyone else in the media world, the BBC PM programme sent a reporter to stand outside Macclesfield train station last week to interview returning commuters about the comments of their local MP, Sir Nicholas Winterton.
For those who don't know, Winterton caused some enjoyable frissons by complaining bitterly that there was no proper funding for MPs only to travel first class, not least because the people in Standard Class - that's you and me - were "different". I.e. noisy and with the temerity to have children who might interrupt Winterton.


Don't it warm the cockles?

By Jenni Frazer, February 10, 2010

So Bricup, the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine, is urging, yet again, that a rock star should not play Israel. This time the target is that well-known highly politicised singer (I jest), Sir Elton John, who has announced that he will give a concert in Tel Aviv this June.
I was immensely amused by Bricup's tactic in which it sought to persuade Elton not to go, and to convince him of Israel's innate unsuitability as a venue. He was recommended to read the Goldstone Report.


As night follows day

By Jenni Frazer, February 8, 2010

How long did it take before Cambridge's Jewish students found out the hard way about throwing the baby out with the bathwater? A whole weekend.
Last week, you may recall, Cambridge's Israel Society withdrew its invitation to Israeli historian Benny Morris, who was due to speak on Thursday night, on the grounds that it did not want "to give racism a platform." Professor Morris had been described by complainants from the university's Islamic and Pakistani societies as "an Islamophobic hate speaker."


Horn of plenty

By Jenni Frazer, February 5, 2010

According to Ha'aretz, which is unlikely to have got this wrong, the Jerusalem Post editor, David Horovitz, has emailed Professor Naomi Chazan, the president of the New Israel Fund, and told her that her column is no longer required in his paper.


Criminal behaviour therapy

By Jenni Frazer, January 21, 2010

Frank Tallis’s sixth adventure for his Viennese psychoanalyst, Deadly Communion, (Century, £12.99) is heavy on the psych and not much cop, frankly, on the analysis — I had the murderer pegged halfway through.

Not only that, but Tallis’s eagerness to pin the crime on the, er, donkey, requires a stunt so wildly improbable that it would be bizarre even if carried out in the present day, let alone in the more staid, 19th-century Vienna.


Holy, holy, holy...

By Jenni Frazer, January 18, 2010

Back from a fast few days in Israel in which, as usual, I saw almost more people in half a week than I do in six months.
Vastly amused at the demographics of the Easyjet flight from Luton: we boarded in a snowstorm where the only people who looked appropriate were those dressed for 19th century Polish winters.



By Jenni Frazer, January 11, 2010

Tony Judt is a man whose name became a trigger for insta-hate in the revisionist nests of right-on Israel supporters. A British-born historian who had led a generally unremarked and probably blameless life in his New York University, Judt set the dovecotes aflutter in 2003 with a trenchantly argued article in the New York Review of Books which called for a one-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.


Medical matters

By Jenni Frazer, January 8, 2010

So there you are, nursing a sore ankle at Limmud, and a man with what may be the worst chat-up line in history offers to massage your back instead.
What do you do?
Apparently you don't reject him out of hand as an opportunist sleazeball.
No, you take a classified ad in the JC - with your phone number - and ask him to call you.
Good luck, girlfriend - in filtering out the loonies.


Cripplingly funny? Just crippling

By Jenni Frazer, January 7, 2010

Maybe you just have to be in the mood for it. Maybe it is not a good idea to discover a whimsical series four books down the line. Maybe I felt a bit short-changed that I did not find Ian Sansom’s writing “cripplingly funny” as did, evidently, a previous reviewer from the Independent.

Basically, I read through the 358 pages of cock-eyed Irish charm that comprise The Bad Book Affair (Fourth Estate, £7.99) desperately searching for a story.


It all went swimmingly

By Jenni Frazer, December 29, 2009

The week's best story is undoubtedly the man from Israel who has even succeeded in astonishing the Jerusalem Beth Din, to the point at which it went as far as issuing a press release.
This was the man who at just 50 years old has managed to get himself divorced 11 times. No, that is not a typo. He has become married and divorced eleven times and says he has no trouble in meeting new women. His lizard-like comment is that he "throws out the hook and the fish come swimming."


Refugee ship 'Exodus' captain dies

By Jenni Frazer, December 24, 2009

Ike Aranne, the captain of the iconic 1947 refugee ship Exodus, has died in Israel, aged 86.

Tributes have flowed in for the man born Yitzchak Aronovitz in Danzig, Poland. He came to pre-state Israel in 1933, aged 10.

The Exodus set sail at Aranne's initiative and Israel's president, Shimon Peres, described him as not only the ship's captain, but "its spirit, who gave the voyage a special character."


When in doubt

By Jenni Frazer, December 22, 2009

Ths morning everyone at work is full of their war stories of how they got home the night before. I once had a colleague who threatened to have a t-shirt printed with the slogan, "I won't tell you about my journey if you won't tell me about yours."
But I can't really resist telling about the heart-warming scene at Blooms in Golders Green last night. Regular readers of the JC will know that Blooms has had a bit of a hard time lately, having been thoroughly smacked by columnist Michael Freedland for its apparent present-day failure to live up to its illustrious past.


No opportunity lost

By Jenni Frazer, December 15, 2009

Today's Guardian letters page carries a letter of near-staggering annoyance. It is from a Diane Langford of Whitstable, complaining about the clue in December 12's Quick Crossword, "part of Israeli capital disputed by Palestinians." The answer that worked in the grid was "east Jerusalem", with which I admit I had some trouble because east Jerusalem, strictly speaking, is not disputed by Palestinians but claimed by them. I forgave the Quick Crossword compilers because they have limited room in which to boil down complicated concepts; but Ms Langford took the irritation to a new level.


Interview: The UK's new Jewish ambassador to Israel

By Jenni Frazer, December 10, 2009

Britain has appointed its first Jewish ambassador to Israel. And Matthew Gould, a high-flying Foreign Office diplomat, is optimistic that his posting — to begin in autumn 2010 — will send out a significant message, both to his hosts and the UK Jewish community.

Mr Gould, 38, is currently Principal Private Secretary to Foreign Secretary David Miliband. Two of his predecessors as PPS to the foreign secretary of the day, Simon McDonald and Sherard Cowper-Coles, also went on to become British ambassador to Israel, so there is an established precedent.


Review: Hello Goodbye

By Jenni Frazer, November 20, 2009

All the international star power of Gerard Depardieu and Fanny Ardant cannot really rescue this thin comedy drama about the perils faced by a smart Parisian couple when they have a joint mid-life crisis which makes them move to Israel.

Alain Gaash ("with two 'a's") is a typical secular Parisian Jew, a well-respected gynaecologist with a gorgeous but apparently not very bright wife, Gisele, who converted to Judaism when the couple married 25 years before.(Quite how Alain, who was never circumcised, got to marry in shul, is not explained at this point.)


Oh, boy

By Jenni Frazer, November 19, 2009

If you wondered, even for a moment, about the near international condemnation of Israel's decision to build 900 new homes in the settlements, then ponder on the support given to the policy by none other than Sarah Palin.


Jewish war heroes get final salute at Rememberance Day

By Jenni Frazer, November 19, 2009

A swirl of scarlet and a skirl of the trumpet; a forest of military standards and a virtual garden of poppied wreaths, laid with great tenderness and solemnity at the Cenotaph. Pin-sharp creases in the uniforms, pin-sharp precision in the marching.