Simon Round

Chicken soup, the proof

By Simon Round, October 23, 2008

Hard week at the office? Well, it turns out that chicken soup really is the perfect antidote to stress on a Friday night.

Japanese scientists have found that Jewish penicillin helps to reduce blood pressure. When the soup is made with chicken-leg meat, the broth contains an ACE inhibitor, a chemical which reduces tension in muscles, in turn reducing tension on blood vessels.

Go easy on the chopped liver, and you should be fine.

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In Israel, don’t cross roads

By Simon Round, October 23, 2008

With the reduction in the number of terror attacks, Israel is becoming a safer country. Correct?

Well, visitors to Israel probably are perfectly safe - as long as they don't try to cross the road.

A new report claims that Israel is the second most dangerous country in the world for pedestrians - only North Korea is more hazardous. There has been a 14 per cent rise in pedestrian fatalities in Israel since the start of the year, according to data supplied by the National Road Safety Authority.

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Hamas: Jews caused crisis

By Simon Round, October 23, 2008

You may be under the misapprehension that the global financial crisis was caused by the dodgy dealing of sub-prime-mortgage products in the US market, but now thanks to Hamas we know who was really to blame for the credit crunch. It was the Jews.

According to Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum, the whole problem was the result of "the bad administrative and financial management and a bad banking system put into place and controlled by the Jewish lobby".

With such acute thinking and honed analysis, Barhum could soon be putting Robert Peston out of a job.

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Ties are history — wear pyjamas to work

By Simon Round, October 23, 2008

Two things occurred to me while watching the BBC News last week. The first was that business editor Robert Peston can't be getting a huge amount of sleep these days, because whenever I turn on the television or radio he and his elongated vowels are there - it's almost like he has taken up residence in my living room.

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Silent Witness

By Simon Round, October 23, 2008

BBC1, Wednesday, October 22, Thursday October 23

This warning may be a little late seeing as Silent Witness has been running since 1996 and is now in its 12th series but, if you haven't watched before, do not plan your TV dinner around this programme.

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Now you can look like Palin

By Simon Round, October 17, 2008

Love her or hate her, there is no doubt that Sarah Palin has made a big impression since her introduction to the US presidential race as John McCain's running partner.

The latest evidence of this is the fact that Sheitel.com, a Brooklyn wig shop, has unveiled the "Sarah Palin Wig" for Orthodox (presumably Republican) women.

Boruch Shlanger, one of the shop's owners, said: "It is very easy to maintain, and is a very classic look."
If so, it must be the only thing about Palin which is low-maintenance.

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Chickpeagate: Israel reacts

By Simon Round, October 17, 2008

Last week we told of how the Association of Lebanese Industrialists planned to sue Israel over what it sees as the theft of its national dish - hummus.

This week, the Israelis hit back. Israeli hummus-seller Itzchak Rachmo told The Independent: "Because they [the Lebanese] can't create planes and guns and atomic weapons, they are trying to latch on to something so stupid."

Even the Palestinians are backing the Israelis on this one. Jerusalem hummus-seller Abu Shukri said the foods were part of the whole of the Levant and not just Lebanon.

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Sugar cures antisemitism

By Simon Round, October 17, 2008

The cure for antisemitism has been discovered - it is sugar. According to a new study, sugar helps give the brain the fuel needed to suppress prejudiced opinions.

In the study, a group of students were given lemonade - half were given the sugary variety and the other half drank lemonade sweetened artificially.

They were then told to write an essay about the day of a gay man called Sammy. Those who drank the sugary lemonade were less likely to use gay stereotypes - possibly because the higher glucose levels made them more reasonable.

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The comedy crunch is no laughing matter

By Simon Round, October 17, 2008

The world's financial systems are spiralling towards oblivion, the dark clouds of world economic recession are gathering over us. Suddenly our homes and jobs look insecure and the future is uncertain and worrying. But of course, in any crisis, some people suffer more than others. And no one (with the possible exception of investors in Icelandic banks and newly impoverished pensioners) have fared worse than we humorous columnists.

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Cosmo Landesman

By Simon Round, October 17, 2008

If there was ever a competition to find the world's most embarrassing parents, Cosmo Landesman would be in with a real chance.

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The Shooting of Thomas Hurndall

By Simon Round, October 17, 2008

Channel 4, Monday October 13

On April 11, 2003, Thomas Hurndall, a 21-year-old student photographer and peace activist was shot in the head and killed in the Gaza town of Rafah, near the border with Egypt. The man who pulled the trigger was Sergeant Taysir Hayb, an IDF sniper. Hayb was sentenced to eleven-and-a-half years for the manslaughter of Hurndall.

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Schlep for Barack

By Simon Round, October 16, 2008

As you might have read in the foreign pages last week, The Great Schlep has become part of the US election.

Ari Wallach, the movement's founder, wants young Jews to fly to Florida to persuade their conservative grandparents to vote for Obama. He has persuaded comedienne Sarah Silverman to post a video on YouTube urging young Jews to join the campaign.

Well, the Republicans are fighting back. Jackie Mason has now posted a video urging Florida's Jews to back McCain.

It could come down to hanging chads again.

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Er, Spurs have no Jewish fans

By Simon Round, October 10, 2008

Spurs supporters, many of whom call themselves "The Yids", were instructed by their own website not to attempt to bring any Stars of David to the game the Wisla Krakow Uefa Cup tie, so as not to "make a political statement". A significant section of the Polish team's support is notorious for antisemitic chants.

So in effect, Spurs fans were told not to make the antisemites angry. Wasn't that tried in the 1930s?

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Hurndall drama turn-off

By Simon Round, October 10, 2008

We at the Diary enjoy a conspiracy theory as much as the next column, and therefore are always on the lookout for television programmes with Jewish content programmed for times when Jews cannot watch.
The latest example is The Shooting of Thomas Hurndall - a drama based on the shooting of the British peace activist by the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip five years ago.

The film will be shown next Monday evening, when religious Jews will be observing Succot and therefore cannot watch television.

Coincidence? The truth is out there.

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A Religious wave in LA

By Simon Round, October 10, 2008

They do enjoy unusual blessings in California. Recently the JC reported on the gay San Francisco shul which had come up with a brachah for "unexpected sex".

Meanwhile, down in LA there is a different preoccupation - the surf. A rabbi was among several religious leaders who turned up to "bless the waves".

Explained Carol Weinfeld of Temple Beth David: "Some people pray in forests and others by a calm cool lake."

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So, Israel will eat Iran

By Simon Round, October 10, 2008

Here's a contender for the best newspaper correction of the year.

Israeli daily Ha'aretz explained that, in its interview with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, the minister intended to say that Israel would "hit Iran" before it obtained a nuclear bomb, and not "eat Iran" as published in the newspaper. The transcript of the interview, which was conducted in English, was approved by the minister's aides before publication.

Ha'aretz said it regretted the misunderstanding.

It all leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

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Credit crunch to water crunch

By Simon Round, October 10, 2008

The American Future: A History, by Simon Schama
BBC Two, Friday October 10, 9pm

Irrigation Age sounds like one of the guest publications lampooned every week on Have I Got News to You.

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Interview: Harry Shearer

By Simon Round, October 10, 2008

He's the satirist who helped create spoof rock group Spinal Tap and who provides voices in The Simpsons. Now he's expressing his contempt for George Bush... in song.


Sometimes in showbusiness, an opportunity presents itself which is too good to turn down - a project whose potential is so obvious that everyone instinctively knows that it will succeed spectacularly.

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It is time for a novice, so vote for me

By Simon Round, October 8, 2008

For the past three weeks we have watched political conference after political conference. First Nick Clegg for the Liberal Democrats, then Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown and finally Conservative leader David Cameron (who surely must be related to Clegg, right?) have set forth their visions for the country.

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‘Awan’ Yentob will be angry

By Simon Round, October 3, 2008

The Diary predicts that heads may soon be rolling at the Radio Times.

The creative director at the BBC, Alan Yentob, is one of the corporation's very top men, who may not be amused to see that the listing for his Imagine programme shown on September 27, has him listed as "Awan Yentob".

There is however, a remote possibility that, as Yentob is of Iraqi-Jewish descent, he may have reverted to the Middle Eastern version of his name.

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