Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: May 23, 2018

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 Author Philip Roth poses in New York September 15, 2010.
Author Philip Roth poses in New York September 15, 2010. Credit: ERIC THAYER/REUTERS
JI Staff

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NEXT GEN: "Revlon just named its first woman CEO" by Pavithra Mohan: "Beauty conglomerate Revlon Inc., whose portfolio includes iconic brands such as Revlon, Elizabeth Arden, and Almay, is promoting Debra Perelman to president and chief executive officer. Perelman, who was named chief operating officer just four months ago, is a daughter of billionaire chairman Ronald Perelman... The younger Perelman, 44 years old, will become one of a small number of women running large, publicly held companies."[FastCompany]

REMEMBERING -- "Philip Roth, Towering Novelist Who Explored Lust, Jewish Life and America, Dies at 85" by Charles McGrath: "Philip Roth, the prolific, protean, and often blackly comic novelist who was a pre-eminent figure in 20th century literature, died on Tuesday. He was 85... In the course of a very long career, Mr. Roth took on many guises — mainly versions of himself — in the exploration of what it means to be an American, a Jew, a writer, a man... “The epithet American-Jewish writer has no meaning for me,” he said. “If I’m not an American, I’m nothing.” And yet, almost against his will sometimes, he was drawn again and again to writing about themes of Jewish identity, anti-Semitism and the Jewish experience in America." [NYTimes]

"Philip Milton Roth was born March 18, 1933,
 in the depths of the Great Depression that forced his father's Newark shoe store into bankruptcy. Herman Roth, the son of Jewish immigrants, then went to work as a salesman for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., despite, according to some reports, open anti-Semitism by his bosses... Critic Joan Acocella, writing in 2004 about "The Plot Against America" for the New Yorker, reported that Roth had said in earlier interviews he never felt the sting of anti-Semitism directly, yet he was "surrounded from birth" with the notion of Jews "as an object of ridicule, disgust, scorn, contempt, derision, of every heinous form of persecution and brutality." Those conflicting senses of safety and persecution would come to define many of his characters, and the specter of anti-Semitism — the revelations of the Holocaust came during his formative years — courses through his novels." [LATimes]

-- "Roth published his first story in The New Yorker, “The Kind of Person I Am,” in 1958;
 the following year, another story in the magazine, “Defender of the Faith,” prompted condemnations from rabbis and the Anti-Defamation League. “His sin was simple: he’d had the audacity to write about a Jewish kid as being flawed,” David Remnick wrote in a Profile of Roth, in 2000." [NewYorker

"Roth went on to publish at least 27 novels and novellas, some of them featuring a novelist named “Philip Roth” and others featuring an autobiographical stand-in called Nathan Zuckerman. Roth took the conceit so far that he insisted in an interview with the New York Times in 1993 that he actually had been an agent of Israel’s spy agency, the Mossad, as depicted in “Operation Shylock” (1993)." [Bloomberg]  Mossad Spy or Man Who Turned Olmert Into a Lefty? Philip Roth's Complicated Relationship With Israel [Haaretz]

"One particularly provocative Roth novel, The Plot Against America, will soon get a new lease of life as a television show, the writer and producer of The Wire, David Simon, adapting the novel into a six-part mini-series."[Independent]

FAUDA RETURNS TOMORROW -- Season 2 of the Middle East thriller available on Netflix starting May 24th. Official trailer [YouTube]

"‘Fauda,’ an Israeli TV Hit, Lets Viewers Escape — Into the Conflict" by David M. Halbfinger: 
"No one in Israel’s television industry was much interested when Avi Issacharoff and Lior Raz first pitched “Fauda,” about a team of undercover operatives hunting Palestinian terrorists across the West Bank. And no wonder... “People don’t want to hear about Palestinians,” said Mr. Issacharoff, a journalist whose beat is Arab affairs... “If I come and say I want to write something about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it’s like ‘Hahahahahahaha!’”

"Fauda's second season, which debuted in Hebrew and Arabic last December in Israel, becomes available on Netflix with English subtitles on May 24. A third is already in the works, though the show’s popularity has also put a target on its back: The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement demanded that Netflix dump the series." [NYTimes]

TALK OF THE REGION -- "Israel court halts immediate expulsion of Human Rights Watch head" by Ruth Eglash: 
"An Israeli court issued an interim injunction on Wednesday temporarily preventing Israel’s Interior Ministry from deporting Omar Shakir, the Israel and Palestine director at Human Rights Watch. Shakir, a U.S. citizen, had his work permit revoked earlier this month based on a recent amendment to the country’s immigration laws aimed at fighting supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement."[WashPost]

"Controversial J'lem photo gifted to U.S. Ambassador Friedman causes storm" by Tamar Ben-Ozer: 
"U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman was caught off guard on Tuesday when he was presented with a poster-sized photo of Jerusalem during a visit to the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) city of Bnei Brak. The seemingly authentic photo of the capital was in fact edited to depict a rebuilt third temple on the Temple Mount, the site where the al-Aqsa mosque currently stands."

"Ambassador Friedman was not aware of the image thrust in front of him when the photo was taken," the US Embassy spokesperson said in a later statement. "He was deeply disappointed that anyone would take advantage of his visit to Bnei Brak to create controversy." The spokesperson then reiterated: "US policy is absolutely clear: we support the status quo on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount."" [JPost

 "White House mulling possible move against Palestinian mission over ICC push" by Eric Cortellessa: "The White House is considering action against Palestinian diplomats in Washington after Ramallah asked the International Criminal Court on Tuesday to investigate alleged Israeli crimes... “We are reviewing this latest development to determine if it requires changes to the operating status of the PLO office in Washington, D.C., which has been limited to activities related to achieving a lasting, comprehensive peace between the Israelis and Palestinians since November 2017,” a National Security Council spokesperson said." [ToINYTimes]

HEARD YESTERDAY -- State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert at a press briefing: 
"As far as I am aware, that is all under consideration – the status of the PLO office, I mean. And I’m not going to get ahead of any additional – potential steps or actions on the part of that office and any determination." 

ULTIMATE DEAL WATCH -- "Trump's Middle East peace dilemma" by Barak Ravid: "The White House "peace team" has essentially finished drafting the administration's Middle East peace plan, but White House officials told me the plan will not be presented during the month of Ramadan. Only when it ends — three weeks from now — will there be a decision regarding if, when and how to launch it... That decision will be made by President Trump, and a White House official tells me they'll wait until "the time and circumstances are right." ... White House officials think the plan is still relevant and that only after it is presented they will be able to determine whether their effort to promote Middle East peace is over or just beginning." [Axios

United Arab Emirates Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba hosted an interfaith iftar at the UAE Embassy in DC. Over 150 religious, community and government leaders attended the event including Rabbi Jack Moline, the AJC's Jason Isaacson, and the ADL's David Weinberg. 

SCENE YESTERDAY IN NYC -- Trump's Mideast Envoy Jason Greenblatt gave an off-the-record briefing on Trump's Middle East policy at Rabbi Shmuley Boteach's World Values Network. [Pic

Tom Friedman writes... "Hamas, Netanyahu 
and Mother Nature: Gazans now dump about 100 million liters of raw sewage into the Mediterranean daily, explained Gidon Bromberg, the Israeli director of EcoPeace Middle East... Because of the prevailing current, most of that sewage flows northward to the Israeli beach town of Ashkelon, the site of Israel’s second-biggest desalination plant... The plant has had to close several times to clean Gaza’s gunk out of its filters... In a few years, the next protest from Gaza will not be organized by Hamas, but by mothers because typhoid and cholera will have spread through the fetid water and Gazans will all have had to stop drinking it. “Then you could see two million coming to the border fence with Israel with empty buckets, begging for clean water,” said Bromberg."[NYTimes]  Egypt Opens a Door, and Gaza Residents Rush for the Exit[WSJ]

REPORT -- “European official said to warn Israel: ‘Trump won’t be president forever’” by Michael Bachner: “Trump won’t be president forever,” Hadashot TV on Tuesday quoted the unnamed official as saying during a recent visit to Israel. “Just like nobody imagined that the Obama legacy would be erased so quickly, it can happen to the other side,” the source added. “You shouldn’t disparage Europe. Look at the numbers: We are still your biggest trade partners. You don’t understand that we are under immense public pressure against Israel.” [ToI

-- "Israeli Energy Minister Blasts EU: Can 'Go to a Thousand Thousand Hells'" by Noa Landau: 
"Let them go to a thousand thousand hells," [Yuval' Steinitz told a local radio... "The EU is now sucking up to Iran and will help against U.S. sanction," he said. Steinitz complained that the EU is "harassing" Israel... "This is an organization that no one is leading and is less friendly to Israel than the European states themselves." [Haaretz

Poland breaks with EU, voices empathy with US stance on Iran: 
"Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Tuesday that Poland wants to be an “informal go-between” and to explain to EU members and U.S. officials the positions of the other. The Polish government’s mediation offer departs somewhat from the united front EU leaders displayed last week in voicing their continued support for the landmark nuclear deal." [AP]

"Netanyahu moves security meetings to underground bunker" by Barak Ravid: 
"Several cabinet members told me [PM Benjamin] Netanyahu moved the security cabinet meetings to the underground bunker because of the fear of leaks from sensitive discussions on Syria and Iran. Staffers of cabinet ministers can't enter the facility and the ministers can't use their phones in the bunker. Another reason is the fear of espionage by foreign intelligence services." [Axios]

NEW IRAN POLICY -- "Treasury Department unveils sanctions on 5 Iranians" by Cristiano Lima: "The Treasury Department on Tuesdayunveiled fresh sanctions on five Iranians it said provided military expertise to Houthi rebels in Yemen "on behalf" of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard... In announcing Tuesday's sanctions, the Treasury Department said the U.S. remains committed to "taking action to neutralize Iran’s campaign of regional aggression."" [Politico]

"Deep in the Desert, Iran Quietly Advances Missile Technology" by Max Fisher: "For weeks, the researchers picked through satellite photos of the facility. They found, they say, that work on the site now appears to focus on advanced rocket engines and rocket fuel, and is often conducted under cover of night... Five outside experts who independently reviewed the findings agreed that there was compelling evidence that Iran is developing long-range missile technology... And there appeared to be heavy vehicle traffic in and out of a tunnel leading underground..." [NYTimes]  Israel Could Use U.S. Warplanes to Hit Nuclear Site—This Time in Iran [DailyBeast

"Trump campaign took just 24 hours to put together foreign policy team" by Geoff Earle: "'I was the person in the middle of March who was asked by Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump to put together the national security advisory committee for the campaign,' [Sam] Clovis said on WHO in Iowa... 'I was given about 24 hours to do that. And I did. I pulled it together. I brought eight people into that particular group,' he said." [DailyMail]

MUELLER WATCH -- Mueller Asked About Money Flows to Israeli Social-Media Firm, Source Says” by Michael Riley and Lauren Etter: 
“FBI agents working with Mueller’s team interviewed people associated with PSY Group’s U.S. operations in February... Though PSY Group is based in Israel, it’s technically headquartered in Cyprus... Shortly after those interviews, on Feb. 25, PSY Group Chief Executive Officer Royi Burstien informed employees in Tel Aviv that the company was closing down.” [BloombergWSJ]

IN THE SPOTLIGHT -- "Michael Cohen’s Business Partner Agrees to Cooperate as Part of Plea Deal" by Danny Hakim, William K. Rashbaum and Vivian Wang: 
"A significant business partner of Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s personal lawyer, has agreed to cooperate with the government as a potential witness... Under the deal reached with the New York attorney general’s office, the partner, Evgeny A. Freidman, a Russian immigrant who is known as the Taxi King, specifically agreed to assist government prosecutors in state or federal investigations..." [NYTimes

"GOP fundraiser subpoenas AP over hacked emails, setting up legal showdown" by Ben Schreckinger: 
"The AP has received the subpoena from Elliott Broidy... and is planning to resist it... While several outlets — including the Wall Street Journal and the Hollywood Reporter — have published articles based on Broidy’s stolen emails, the businessman is singling out the AP for a subpoena because of the lengths the outlet has gone to conceal the identity of its sources, according to a person familiar with Broidy’s thinking... The subpoena comes as part of a March lawsuit Broidy brought in a California federal court against the government of Qatar, Republican operative Nick Muzin and Muzin’s firm Stonington Strategies." [Politico]

2018 WATCH --  "The ex-synagogue president who could decide Senate control" by Burgess Everett and Heather Caygle: "Democrats' slim hopes of taking back the Senate this fall rest with a former synagogue president serving her first term in Congress taking on a battle-tested Nevada Republican who's won four statewide elections. "No pressure there," said Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) with a chuckle... Rosen said she supports Chuck Schumer as Democratic leader and, like Schumer, backed moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem — though not in the unilateral manner in which Trump did it... “The minute I found out she was a synagogue president, I knew she could do anything,” said Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.), who recruited Rosen for the House seat. “There’s nothing like the politics of a synagogue.” [Politico]

** Good Wednesday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI]. Have a tip, scoop, or op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Anything from hard news and punditry to the lighter stuff, including event coverage, job transitions, or even special birthdays, is much appreciated. Email **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Roman Abramovich's Immigration Woes Reach Swiss Supreme Court [Bloomberg]  Comcast CEO Brian Roberts considering an all-cash offer for 21st Century Fox that outbids Disney [BusinessInsider] CBS says it will challenge Shari Redstone's bylaw changes [LATimes]  Behind Leslie Moonves' Crusade to Save CBS From Viacom [HollywoodReporter]  Haim Saban's Univision to name Vincent Sadusky as CEO [LATimes] Elliott Adds Steel to European Bets on Coffee, Property, Telcos [Bloomberg] Barry Sternlicht’s Starwood scores $163M loan for 1 Hotel Central Park [TheRealDeal]

STARTUP NATION --” BP invests $20 million in batteries that can charge electric cars in five minutes” by Ryan Browne: “BP has invested $20 million in Israel's StoreDot, a start-up that claims its batteries can charge electrics cars in five minutes. The oil giant said Tuesday that its venture capital arm BP Ventures was investing in the Tel Aviv-based firm as it looks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its operations.” [CNBC

-- Headline Dept: 
"Macron Vowed to Make France a ‘Start-Up Nation.’ Is It Getting There?" [NYT]

Volkswagen opens Tel Aviv innovation center: “German carmaker Volkswagen opened a Tel Aviv innovation center to promote the development of autonomous vehicles, new mobility services and tailor-made solutions. The VW Group Campus in Tel Aviv will be a co-working space called Konnect, and will provide local partners and mobility based startups close and direct access to the Volkswagen Group.” [Globes

"How Curiosity Propelled the Entrepreneur Behind Justin's to Grow a $100 Million Brand" by Stephen J. Bronner: "Justin Gold, who had been working part-time jobs while building his eponymous nut butter company, says that from about 2006 to 2007, he was "failing, but I didn't realize it yet." "I wasn't making enough profit margin, I wasn't in enough stores, but I was still waiting tables, and it was really a fun activity for me," says Gold, who started the company in Boulder, Colo. A decade later, Gold would sell the company to Hormel for $286 million, makers of Skippy peanut butter, while retaining control. Justin's products... are sold in more than 32,000 stores and were expected to have $100 million of net sales in 2017." [Entrepreneur

HOLLYWOOD -- "Mayim Bialik Signs With Icon PR" by Rebecca Sun: "Mayim Bialik has signed with Icon PR. Her Big Bang Theory character, Amy, wed Jim Parson’s Sheldon in the hit CBS sitcom’s 11th-season finale May 10." [HollywoodReporter]

"How to Turn Failure Into ‘Billions’" by Chris Kornelis: 
"Brian Koppelman is miserable when he doesn’t write. And he didn’t write until he was 30. “My desire to be better than I was, my desire to be perfect on the page, my knowledge that I would fail to be as good as I wished as I was,” he says, “stopped me from doing the work.” Doing the work helped him overcome his fear of it. For two hours every morning, whether he wanted to or not, Mr. Koppelman and his writing partner, David Levien, worked on a movie script about two poker-playing friends... His career changed, too. After many rejections, the script eventually sold and became the 1998 movie “Rounders,” starring Matt Damon and Edward Norton... Showtime is now airing the third season of “Billions,” for which he and Mr. Levien are executive producers, co-creators and showrunners." [WSJ

YouTube's global music head
Lyor Cohen Talks Kanye West, Hate-Content Policies and the Future of Streaming: "Certainly I remember when [Public Enemy's] Professor Griff said all those [anti-Semitic] things. The entire industry told me to drop Public Enemy; they said, refuse to work with Public Enemy. I actually don't believe that. I believe in education and talking through things and trying to bring people on. After [the comments], I invited Public Enemy to tour the Holocaust Museum, so he could see the journey between artists and Jewish people." [RollingStoneRecode]

DESSERT -- New kosher spot Osher Bar & Grill opens its doors in Pico-Robertson: "A new kosher American spot has made its debut in the neighborhood. Located at 8657 W. Pico Blvd. in Pico-Robertson, the fresh arrival is called Osher Bar & Grill." [Hoodline]

BIRTHDAYS: Founding member and chairman of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, a Denver-based law firm -- and the nation's second largest lobbying firm -- celebrating its 50th anniversary, also a long-time proponent of the US-Israel relationship and national board member of AIPAC, Norman Brownstein turns 75... Attorney and philanthropist, he acquired and rebuilt the iconic restaurant in Miami Beach, The Forge, Alvin Malnik turns 85... British fashion retailer and promoter of tennis in Israel, Stephen Marksturns 72... Israeli businessman with holdings in real estate, construction, energy, hotels and media, Ofer Nimrodi turns 61... President of Newton, MA-based Liberty Companies, a real estate development and management firm, Andrew M. Cable turns 61... Best-selling author and journalist, whose works include "Tuesdays with Morrie," he has sold over 35 million books, Mitch Albom turns 60... Senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Reuel Marc Gerecht turns 59... 

Israeli-born entrepreneur, author and former academic, now serving as the president and executive director of the Irvine, California-based Ayn Rand Institute, Yaron Brook turns 57... Vancouver, British Columbia-native, former ski instructor, ordained by HUC-JIR in 1998, now rabbi of the Community Synagogue of Rye (NY), Daniel B. Gropper turns 50... Film and television director, Nanette Burstein turns 48... Prominent NYC matrimonial law attorney, she is a partner in Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP, Casey Greenfield turns 45... Israeli educator and politician, she is a member of the Knesset for the centrist Kulanu party since 2015, Yifat Shasha-Biton turns 45... Professional golfer on the LPGA Tour, she turned pro at age 17 and is the youngest-ever winner of a modern LPGA major championship (the 2007 Kraft Nabisco Championship), Morgan Pressel turns 30... Professional boxer, winner of the California Golden Gloves Championship in 2010, known as "Kid Yamaka" (a phonetic spelling of "yarmulke"), Zachary Wohlman turns 30... Senior associate in social media engagement at United Airlines, Andrea M. Hiller turns 24... Stephanie Liss...