Jenni Frazer

Laugh-out-loud? Not.

By Jenni Frazer, March 17, 2009

Jackie Mason, according to reports, went on stage last Thursday night in New York and during his act described President Obama as a "schvartzer". His defence, according to the JTA, was that he was "an old Jew who was raised in a Jewish family where the word was used. I don't have to defend myself."

Apparently, however, in 1991, Mason apologised for calling the then New York mayoral candidate David Dinkins "a fancy schvartze with a mustache."


We too belong to Glasgow

By Jenni Frazer, March 12, 2009

It will come as a surprise to most Glaswegian Jews that they are “epiphytic”. Not being familiar with the term, I discovered it refers to air plants, or parasites: that which has no discernible means of support, but lives off other entities.

I rather hope this is not what Piers Dudgeon had in mind when he gave his attention to the Jews of Glasgow in his enjoyable social history, Our Glasgow, Memories of Life in Disappearing Britain (Headline, £12.99).


Abraham Foxman: The man the Jew haters really hate

By Jenni Frazer, March 12, 2009

If ever a man had the ability to polarise opinion in the Jewish world, it is Abraham Foxman, the instantly identifiable and famously histrionic director of the Anti-Defamation League in New York, who has a justifiably fiery reputation. There is only one Foxman. Those who know him, even only slightly, nod knowingly when they hear I am to speak to him.


Ex-Israeli president faces rape charges

By Jenni Frazer, March 9, 2009

Israel's former president, Moshe Katzav, will be charged with a variety of serious sexual offences, including rape, it was announced yesterday.

Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz's decision brings a new phase to the situation which led to the forced resignation of Mr Katzav, who first faced investigation in the summer of 2006.


Antisemitism key to UK exclusion policy

By Jenni Frazer, March 5, 2009

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said this week that the government is still considering evidence relating to the possible exclusion from Britain of Ibrahim Mousawi, the Hizbollah-linked journalist.

He has been invited to take part in a conference on Islam at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies on March 25.

If admitted from his home base of Beirut, it would be the fourth time that Mr Mousawi, formerly with the Shi’ite TV station Al-Manar, has entered Britain, having previously been invited by the Stop the War Coalition.


We may control the world after all

By Jenni Frazer, March 3, 2009

It is, of course, a nice Jewish girl who is responsible for the big hit look of the new First Lady, Michelle Obama. Israeli-born Ikram Goldman moved to Chicago as a teenager when her mother required medical treatment but for the last several years her eponymous boutique has been the go-to place for Mrs O, whose pared-down image has wowed the fashionistas.


Cheap and nasty

By Jenni Frazer, March 2, 2009

Casually skimming Saturday's letters page in the Guardian I saw that there were two letters relating to the death of David Cameron's son, Ivan. I suppose that I thought that they would relate both to the tragedy itself and more general points about the way in which we treat disability in this country.

Instead, I saw this:

"Gordon Brown is right when he says that the death of a child was an unbearable sorrow that no parent should ever have to endure." So far, so unexceptional.


Seems we don't control the world

By Jenni Frazer, February 27, 2009

Listening to John Prescott this morning speak in his unique brand of Foglish (the meaning is somewhere there but you have to feel your way to it) I could only thank the Deity that - as far as I can establish - Sir Fred the Shred Goodwin, he of the £700,000 a year pension, is not one of the tribe. I can't say Sir Victor Blank, over at Lloyds TSB, is making much of a fist of things, but at least he's not taking £700,000 a year off the taxpayer and thinking that this is not a problem.


Rudolf Kasztner: The hated Shoah hero

By Jenni Frazer, February 26, 2009

The film director and producer Gaylen Ross was working on the film Blood Money: Switzerland’s Nazi Gold, when she first met a Holocaust survivor who said she had been on the Kasztner train. “I had no idea what she was talking about,” says Ross, “but I was fascinated and started to pursue the story.”


Turkey: Enjoy a bazaar experience

By Jenni Frazer, February 18, 2009

How far would you go for a bath? A Turkish bath, that is. If you’re John Travolta, the answer is pretty far. The Hollywood A-lister flew all the way to Istanbul for the opportunity of a shvitz in the Galatasaray Hamam, the city’s oldest Turkish bath, dating from 1481.


Interview: Pinchas Zukerman

By Jenni Frazer, January 29, 2009

He may have just turned 60, but not very far below the surface, the international musician Pinchas Zukerman is still the firebrand enthusiast audiences all over the world have grown to know and admire since his 1961 debut as a prodigy violinist.


Burns Night hots up

By Jenni Frazer, January 29, 2009

Few people could fairly be claimed as a favourite by both Abraham Lincoln and Bob Dylan. And yet 250 years after his birth in rural Ayrshire, the power of the poet Robert Burns still resonates, making him the ideal fund-raising vehicle for Glasgow’s Jewish expatriates.

The self-explanatory charity committee, Glasgow Girls in London, got together two years ago to raise money for education and welfare charities in their home city.


Inauguration Day

By Jenni Frazer, January 20, 2009

I am sitting here listening to Barack Obama's inauguration speech. My colleagues, as doubtless in other offices around the country, are glued to the screen. If oratory and rhetoric could be bottled, and help to relaunch the economy and even bring peace to the Middle East, then surely this man has the capacity to do it. Very few people have the ability to inspire; for once, let us cast aside cynicism, and pray that President Obama can do the job. We will all benefit if that hope comes true.


The performing art

By Jenni Frazer, January 15, 2009

An extraordinary exchange this morning on Radio 4's Today programme between Israel government spokesman Mark Regev and the programme's resident rottweiler, John Humphrys. The latter, in full attack-dog mode, launched proceedings with a terse "Good morning to you!" and it was all downhill from thereon in.


We're so even-handed

By Jenni Frazer, January 12, 2009

The police have had a rough time of it over the last couple of weeks as they attempt - often at considerable personal risk - to maintain public order at the increasingly violent anti-Israel demonstrations in the capital.

However, according to the Evening Standard, Met Police Commander Bob Broadhurst is planning "discussions with both sets of protestors this week to prevent any more violence." He said, again according to the paper, "We will need to sit down and talk to organisers and say 'enough's enough.'"


More unanswered questions

By Jenni Frazer, January 9, 2009

I see from the BBC website that Jeremy Bowen, its Middle East editor, has an online diary which he has called "Unanswered Questions", such as how long the conflict is going to last and why it is that he doesn't know the names of dead Palestinians while simultaneously attending the funeral of an Israeli soldier, Natei Stern.