Forward Thinking

Did Genesis Founder Carry Gun to Meetings?

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Mayor Bloomberg, the recipient of the first Genesis Prize / Getty Images

You know that Jewish charity that gave a $1 million prize to Michael Bloomberg, who can hardly count his billions? A feature in last week’s New Yorker sheds some light on the Russian oligarchs behind the award.

For instance: In the early 2000s, BP executives thought that German Khan was carrying a gun to business meetings.

It wasn’t clear to the executives why he needed the gun. “[H]e had other people with guns,” one told Connie Bruck, as reported in this amazing New Yorker profile.

German Khan and Mikhail Fridman are partners with the subject of the profile, Leonard Blavatnik, in an investment consortium called AAR. They are also among the founders of the Genesis Philanthropy Group, a huge Jewish foundation funding Jewish charities around the world. The new $1 million Genesis Prize, bewilderingly bestowed on Bloomberg in 2013, is funded by the Genesis Philanthropy Group.

Khan and Fridman aren’t actually named on Genesis’s website. The face of the operation is Stan Polovets, AAR’s CEO. But the New York Times, among other outlets, has identified them as two among the five founders of the charity.

Read more


Jonah Lehrer's $20K Mea Culpa

By Anne Cohen

Knight Foundation
Jonah Lehrer

‘I’m sorry’ never felt so good — nor paid so handsomely.

Jonah Lehrer, the disgraced New Yorker writer who quit his job in July after it was discovered he was recycling his own work, for blog posts, acknowledged his plagiarism and fabrications at a February 12 talk in Miami.

It wasn’t just any talk. It came during the Knight Foundation’s prestigious annual Media Learning Seminar, and was accompanied by all the trappings of a big-name performance on the lecture circuit.

And it paid a cool $20,000, Poynter reported.

Lehrer opened his speech by candidly describing himself.

“For those who do not know who I am, let me give you a brief summary: I’m the author of a book on creativity that contained several fabricated Bob Dylan quotes. I committed plagiarism on my blog, taking without credit or citation an entire paragraph from the blog of Christian Jarrett. I plagiarized from myself. I lied to a journalist named Michael Moynihan to cover up the Dylan fabrications,” he said.

Read more


A New Yorker Cartoon Says It All Too Well

By Gal Beckerman

I think I just found an image for the Passover cards I was planning to send to Bill Kristol and Noah Pollak over at the Emergency Committee for Israel.

Read more



Would you like to receive updates about new stories?






















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.