Simon Round

Parade? What parade?

By Simon Round, July 4, 2008

You may have been among the thousands attending the “Salute to Israel” parade in London on Sunday. So how did London’s paper, the Evening Standard, report the event? Well, the paper carried a centre-spread photo showing Spanish football fans celebrating their Euro 2008 triumph  in Piccadilly Circus on Sunday night.

The caption read : “In among the sea of red and yellow is a lone Israeli flag, presumably left lying around after a parade earlier in the day to celebrate 60 years of the state of Israel.”

Yes, that was it.

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Sharansky talks pants

By Simon Round, July 4, 2008

At the Conservative Friends of Israel annual business lunch last week, Shadow Chancellor George Osborne said he had vivid memories of Soviet dissident and retired Israeli politician Natan Sharansky walking across the Glienicke Bridge in West Berlin on his release from prison in 1986.

Mr Osborne said: “When I met him years later, I asked him what he was thinking as he crossed the bridge, and he said: ‘I had lost so much weight, and because my belt had been taken, I was terrified my trousers would fall down’.”

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Israeli - and big in Beirut

By Simon Round, July 4, 2008

Israel and Lebanon may not be on talking terms right now, but Lebanese music fans can’t get enough of an Israeli transsexual singer (and, no it’s not Dana International).

Say No More, a dance track by Aderet, who had the operation 10 years ago, has been at the top of the playlist this month on the Beirut Nights internet radio station devoted to dance music. Said Aderet: “They know I’m an Israeli singer, and that it’s an Israeli song. It feels great.”

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Potty about Zionist plots

By Simon Round, July 4, 2008

The Diary enjoys a preposterous Zionist conspiracy theory, and this week we have two crackers.

Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning D-Day epic, Saving Private Ryan, was Zionist propaganda. According to an Iranian documentary about Hollywood cinema, the eponymous soldier was called Ryan because of the similarity of the name to “Zion”. Moreover, claims the documentary, “prominent films like Saving Private Ryan highlight the role of Jewish soldiers. By exaggerating this role, the Zionists seem to be trying to achieve legitimacy for their post-war actions.”

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How I could look like a frum George Clooney

By Simon Round, July 4, 2008

I noticed while browsing the internet a few days ago that George Clooney has (or certainly very recently had) a beard. So did Keanu Reeves. Does this mean that beards are now in?

Ever since I started shaving, I have been toying with the idea of growing a beard. I haven’t done so for two reasons. I really enjoy shaving and would therefore feel deprived if I couldn’t wield my Bic any more. Also, beards generally look rubbish.

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An inquiry into His Bobness

By Simon Round, July 4, 2008

What’s So Great About... Bob Dylan?
Radio 4, Saturday, June 28

It has been ages since Lenny Henry made a good programme. I think the last one was probably Tiswas, the weekend kids’ show which ran out of steam some time in 1982.

Yet this Radio 4 nugget contained all sorts of things you do not normally associate with Henry — it was intelligent, thought-provoking, articulate — and there was not a single silly voice in the entire half-hour.

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Rabbi... or is that Robbie?

By Simon Round, June 27, 2008

When Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks arrived at BBC Television Centre last week for his Thought for the Day slot, he had problems gaining access to the studio.

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The best correction ever

By Simon Round, June 27, 2008

This correction of a story about Liza Minnelli’s former husband David Gest, published in the Daily Mail last week, is our favourite Jewish celebrity correction. Ever. As a service to readers, we print it verbatim:

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TZIPI’s criminal past

By Simon Round, June 27, 2008

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni revealed this week that her parents had met under rather unusual circumstances: they were robbing a British train at the time.

Livni’s parents Eitan and Sarah were both activists in the hardline Irgun militia in Mandate Palestine when they became acquainted while mounting a raid on a British train.

They were arrested and served time in different prisons, but the spark of romance had been lit.

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The city sale of the century

By Simon Round, June 27, 2008

Strictly Orthodox property developer Eliasz Englander had a problem. His firm, Citywise, is developing a 106,000 ft scheme at 1 Southampton Row in central London. He needed to put a tower crane on the site, but was informed by builders Bovis the crane had to be erected on Saturday to prevent traffic disruption.

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Supershmaltz me!

By Simon Round, June 27, 2008

Our Food editor sets out to discover what effect two weeks of eating only haimishe shtetl food has on his body

I have always enjoyed Jewish food. There is something intensely comforting about a big, fatty salt-beef sandwich slathered with mustard, a bowl of golden chicken soup with lockshen and a kneidl or two, or a fat slice of challah with chopped liver and a pickled cucumber. Comfort food does not get more comforting than this.

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Lawyer outed as Jew... again

By Simon Round, June 20, 2008

Another exclusive in agenda-setting local rag the Jewish Telegraph. It reports that Nick Freeman — the lawyer known as “Mr Loophole” for his ability to help celebrity clients escape driving convictions — “has spoken publicly about his Jewish background for the first time” to the paper.

Actually, it is the first time he has spoken about his Jewish background this month.

Or did they miss his JC interview in which he talked about being a member of the New Kahal Chassidim shul?

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Yossi eats hay for energy

By Simon Round, June 20, 2008

If you want to see Yossi Benayoun in action, try the 2.30 at Ascot.

Yossi Benayoun, the horse, is named after the Israeli international footballer.

The nag is owned by South London man Russell Trew, who tells the Wimbledon Guardian that, as a West Ham supporter, he was a big fan of Benayoun until the midfielder joined Liverpool.

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Dame Shirley beautified

By Simon Round, June 20, 2008

Tel Aviv University’s Insider magazine has a flattering profile of one of its governors, Dame Shirley Porter, which tells her story very much the way the disgraced Westminster City Council ex-leader would want it told.

The magazine gushes: “A quarter of a century ago, as leader and then Lord mayor of the City of Westminster, she spearheaded vast urban beautification and clean-up campaigns.”

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Paddy power’s own goal

By Simon Round, June 13, 2008

Many believe that sacked Chelsea manager Avram Grant was treated harshly by the media because he was Israeli and Jewish. Certainly, he has faced plenty of antisemitic abuse from racist fans.

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Mezuzah crime warning

By Simon Round, June 13, 2008

Your car may be protected by an immobiliser and your house alarmed, but there is another important item you need to protect — your mezuzah. 

Rabbis in southern Israel have warned people to be on the lookout for mezuzah thieves. Dozens of householders in Kiryat Gat, 50 miles south of Tel Aviv, found last week that the parchments from inside their mezuzah cases had been stolen. So if a dodgy geezer offers you a bargain mezuzah, you have been warned.

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Cooked to death - but yummy

By Simon Round, June 13, 2008

New British Kitchen
UKTV Food, Thursday, June 5

In New British Kitchen, John Torode, of Masterchef fame, and Glaswegian presenter Hardeep Singh Kohli investigated Britain’s ethnic food. This week’s episode was on the subject of Jewish cuisine .

While it was fantastic that the wider community got an insight into how we lead our lives, programmes about Jewish food are always faintly embarrassing.

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We’re on the telly

By Simon Round, June 13, 2008

A new BBC series shines a light on Britain’s Jews. Director Vanessa Engle talks to our television critic

There cannot be many more surreal moments in documentary history than the scene in Vanessa Engle’s new film The Prisoner, in which a reformed Chasidic drug-dealer wants to demonstrate how easy it is to swallow a condom packed with grade-A substances. With no cocaine-filled package to hand, he uses the next best thing — a pickled cucumber, which he dispatches in one gulp with the help of a sip of water.

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Passport to a cushy aliyah

By Simon Round, June 13, 2008

First there was The Apprentice. Now there is to be a new show which could well be called The Zionist Apprentice. A production company is hunting for eight young people who will compete against each other on various extreme missions that mirror the challenges undertaken in building the state of Israel.

The winner of Ultimate Oleh will be given a “golden ticket” into Israel — a luxury flat, a new car and a dream job.

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I’m hopeless at maths. You can count on it

By Simon Round, June 9, 2008

I realised this week that I have a debilitating medical condition. Actually I’ve had it for most of my life but I only recognised the symptoms when I was listening to the news on the radio.

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