Simon Round

Thailand's Jewish problem

By Simon Round, June 6, 2008

JC reader Howard Cowan was browsing the thai2english.com website, which translates Thai words to English and English words to Thai. So he keyed in the word “Jew”.

He discovered that the Thai word for Jew is Yiw — which the web-site defined as “stingy, miserly and cheap”.

Can the Thai ambassador tell us please if this is official policy?

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New career? I think I’ve missed the bus

By Simon Round, June 6, 2008

I was shocked to realise this week that I will soon be coming up to my 20th anniversary as a journalist (although I was practically a child when I started, so don’t get the idea that I’m getting on or I need reading glasses or anything like that. Actually, I can still see quite small print if there is good natural light and the page is held precisely 36 cms from my eyes).

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Lara's dream job: shluffing

By Simon Round, June 6, 2008

Shocking news if you thought the JC’s lovely Showbiz Shmooze columnist Lara Lewington leads a glamorous showbusiness lifestyle.

In fact, she told the Independent’s “Five-minute interview” slot this week, she’s a boring stay-at-home type. “Because I interview celebrities occasionally, people always assume I’m constantly out living a wild lifestyle when actually I’m probably at home cooking dinner and not being very sociable at all,” she said. She added that her ideal night out was “one that ends early so I can get home to bed. I’m really boring.”

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Bard was Jew... and female

By Simon Round, June 6, 2008

Is it just possible that William Shakespeare was a nice Jewish girl?

Many have questioned whether Shakespeare’s plays were actually written by the Bard himself, but Shakespeare-ologist John Hudson is among the first to suggest he might have been a female — and a Jewish one at that.

Hudson is claiming that the true author of the works could have been Amelia Bassano Lanier, who lived in England as a Marrano and is thought to be the first woman to publish a book of poetry.

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Giraffe sticks its neck out

By Simon Round, May 30, 2008

Chicago Rib Shack owner Jon Yantin received a roasting from rivals Giraffe after innocently suggesting on our Business page that his place, unlike Giraffe, was not a children’s restaurant. Giraffe director Andrew Jacobs so overreacted that he sent in his PRs demanding corrections, and even prevailed on Yantin to apologise and send the JC a letter stating that Giraffe was actually a “family restaurant”.

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Amy’s rehab: no, no, no, yes?

By Simon Round, May 30, 2008

Last week’s JC report that Amy Winehouse planned to fly to Israel for rehab was followed up by papers around the world. Eliezer Cohen, chairman of the Israel Anti-Drug Administration, told us that Winehouse’s representatives “spoke to a renowned institution and an Israeli professor” who was expecting her arrival within weeks .

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Boots go to Israel. The world gets more boring

By Simon Round, May 30, 2008

So Boots the chemist is on its way to Israel. I am sure there will be plenty of dancing in the streets of Tel Aviv at the news that Boots No 7 cream (with its anti-ageing properties) will now be available there.

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Tonge: Beware the slur

By Simon Round, May 30, 2008

If you wish to lobby Parliamentarians on Israel/Palestine, be wary of “the slur of antisemitism”.

So said Baroness Jenny Tonge in a presentation reported by the Israeli Committee Against House Demol-itions’s May newsletter.

Tonge claimed that MPs were terrified of being accused of antisemitism. Many Labour MPs were supporters of Israel, and the Board of Deputies used its influence wherever it sees it as necessary, she said. 

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Dirt, noise, 36-hour shifts...I love my job!

By Simon Round, May 30, 2008

It’s messy, grubby work helping pregnant women through the contractions. But for Lauren Mishcon, being a ‘doula’ sure beats nine-to-five.

Lauren Mishcon has no idea when she will next be required to work. It could be over the weekend, perhaps on Monday morning, or maybe not for a week or two. When she is called upon, it may be for a few hours, or it could be a marathon 36-hour shift.Mishcon is a birth doula. Her job is to accompany women through the process of giving birth, providing comfort, support and advice.

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Leonard Cohen's funny. No joke

By Simon Round, May 30, 2008

Front Row: Leonard Cohen
Radio 4, May 26

It is strange that Leonard Cohen has a reputation for being miserable when, as this interview with Mark Lawson clearly demonstrated, he is a very funny guy. Anyone who is familiar with the work of the legendary Canadian poet/singer/artist will also know that he is also gifted and enormously interesting.

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I'm happy to be mummy's boy

By Simon Round, May 30, 2008

William Sutcliffe is a novelist concerned to celebrate an important relationship

William Sutcliffe is not anticipating a call from the compilers of the Man Booker Prize shortlist for his new novel, Whatever Makes You Happy (Bloomsbury £10.99). “If you are writing about young people, you are disqualified from every literary prize,” Sutcliffe claims. “You are also disqualified if you are funny, use lots of dialogue, or write about contemporary Britain — everything I tend to do.”

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I was fighting in 1968 - for chocolate biscuits

By Simon Round, May 23, 2008

As you are probably now aware, this year is the 40th anniversary of the cataclysmic events of 1968. There has barely been a newspaper or periodical which has not run lengthy articles about the revolutions and protests of that year. Up to this point I have veered away from telling the story of my part in the events as they unfolded, but seeing as everybody else is telling tales of demonstrations and riots, I don’t see why I should be left out. So here is my untold story of 1968.

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Police arrest crime’s Mr Wig

By Simon Round, May 23, 2008

Police in the Israeli town of Bnei Brak this week apprehended a 20-year-old man who allegedly stole 50 sheitels.

This was no hair-brained scheme. The man, a yeshivah student, could have expected to sell the wigs for £250 each .

However, his scheme was, er, uncovered  when the man hid his stash in the communal storeroom at his block of flats where a neighbour discovered them and reported him to the police.

The man was thought to be acting alone and police are not thought to be looking for the bigwig behind the operation.

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George Bush can ride a bike

By Simon Round, May 23, 2008

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has given President George W Bush a bicycle. The official Israeli explanation for the gift is that the bike was given because the President’s knees are (like his brain) a little knackered and he can’t go jogging any more.

However, given the fact that Bush has a history of falling off bicycles (the last time was in Scotland three years ago), could this actually be a sophisticated and very subtle assassination attempt?

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Goering? What a nice chap

By Simon Round, May 23, 2008

The yacht of leading Nazi Hermann Goering has gone on sale for £151,000 on a Nazi memorabilia website.

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Dawkins shops for atheism

By Simon Round, May 23, 2008

Author Richard Dawkins, who has become the patron saint of atheists since his book The God Delusion was published, has revealed that he bid for a letter by Albert Einstein in which the latter described Judaism as “childish superstition”.

Dawkins could not match the £170,000 the letter fetched at auction in London last week. Maybe there is a God after all.

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How Michael Jackson’s rabbi moved on to Oprah

By Simon Round, May 23, 2008

Minister Shmuley Boteach left Britain nine years ago amid controversy. He talks about embracing fame, TV Judaism and his London appointment with a leading evangelical

Shmuley Boteach is struggling with his chicken kebab. He is sitting outside Reuben’s restaurant in Central London, on a flying visit to Britain — his first in over two years. Such is the velocity of his answers that the special of the day remains largely untouched on his plate. In the short breaks in conversation, he launches into his food like a man possessed, but to no great avail.

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A family reunion you’ll relate to

By Simon Round, May 23, 2008

True Stories: The Reunion
More4, Tuesday, May 20

As Tolstoy might well have written, had he thought of it, families everywhere are all very different — but family reunions are all pretty much the same.

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She forgave a terrorist

By Simon Round, May 16, 2008

Storyville: My Israel
BBC4, Wednesday, May 14

Storyville: Flipping Out — Israel’s Drug Generation

BBC4, Thursday, May 15

BBC4’s Storyville strand celebrated Israel’ s 60th birthday with a season of films analysing different aspects of Israeli life.

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Help! It's the corpsemites

By Simon Round, May 16, 2008

Here’s one more thing to worry about. Richard Morgan’s new fantasy novel, The Steel Remains, features hideous monsters called corpsemites who attack the book’s hero Ringil. The monsters’ position on Jews is not made clear — after all, you don’t meet many Jewish characters in the sword-and-sorcery genre — but the name doesn’t suggest anything good.

And it certainly has the bloggers exercised. One post on the punkadiddle website points out that the presence of the corpsemites “wouldn’t endear the book to the Jewish Chronicle”.

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