Daily Kickoff: Senators slam possible Hamas-Fatah unity | Israel joins countries concerned re Trump’s ‘Buy American’ order | Next Jewish Agency head?

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ON THE HILL — Senators slam potential Hamas-Fatah unity government — by JI’s Aaron Magid: “I think the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) is unifying with a terrorist organization,” Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Jewish Insider yesterday. “I don’t mind a unity government with people who don’t openly call for the destruction of Israel. I would be very concerned about any government that included an unreformed terrorist organization.” Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, echoed Graham. “Hamas has a long history of terrorist behavior and so I am not encouraged by any government that includes Hamas,” he said. “Given their history, I don’t view it as positive.”

Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) noted that a Palestinian unity government with Hamas “would be a very toxic relationship with Israel. They would have even less of a partner to negotiate peace with if the person across the table welcomes individuals who don’t even recognize the existence of the Jewish people there.” [JewishInsider]

Statement from the White House’s Jason Greenblatt on Hamas-Fatah reconciliation: “All parties agree that it is essential that the Palestinian Authority be able to assume full, genuine, and unhindered civil and security responsibilities in Gaza and that we work together to improve the humanitarian situation for Palestinians living there. The United States reiterates the importance of adherence to the Quartet principles: any Palestinian government must unambiguously and explicitly commit to nonviolence, recognize the State of Israel, accept previous agreements and obligations between the parties – including to disarm terrorists – and commit to peaceful negotiations. If Hamas is to play any role in a Palestinian government, it must accept these basic requirements.” [Embassy• According to this statement: does Hamas = terrorists or not?

IN JERUSALEM… Former Israeli Defense Minister criticizes Netanyahu’s decision to boycott Palestinian unity government — by Gil Hoffman: “Former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon accused Netanyahu of giving into pressure from Bennett… “There is no reason to interfere in a Palestinian deal that is bound to fail,” Ya’alon told Army Radio… “The decision proved that politics defeated statesmanship… They proved they care more about politics than leadership.” … Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett… wrote on Twitter Wednesday that he was glad the government adopted the policies of Bayit Yehudi… “I am certain that President Trump does not want us to negotiate with a gang of terrorists,” Bennett said…” [JPost

TOP TALKER: “After Obama, Israel’s Netanyahu relishing in Trump love fest” by Aron Heller: “Widely unpopular around the world, President Donald Trump can take solace in the adulation of Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, who showers him with praise and even holds his tongue over issues Israel might normally complain about… Beyond a confluence of interests, Trump and Netanyahu seem to share a sort-of outsider status and a gift for populist stratagems that outrage their countries’ more liberal establishments while delighting their bases…”

“There is some concern in Israel that although Netanyahu may benefit from the approach, in the long-term Israel might suffer from too tight an alignment with the mercurial American president. “The question is what will happen the day after Trump? How will Israel be perceived by siding so closely with someone who generates such antagonism?” said Yoaz Hendel, a former Netanyahu spokesman. “I’m worried that after Trump we’ll get the Democratic rebound and it may be far less empathetic to Israel.” [AP

US allies air concerns about Trump’s ‘Buy American’ order: “Israel, Hong Kong and Taiwan joined a number of U.S. allies at the World Trade Organization on Wednesday to express concerns over a Trump administration executive order that calls on U.S. authorities to “maximize” use of American-made goods, products and materials in government procurement.” [AP

ELSEWHERE — U.S. and Israeli Officials Continue Economic Cooperation and Agree to Further Deepen Relations: On October 16, U.S. and Israeli officials convened for the 32nd session of the U.S. – Israel Joint Economic Development Group (JEDG), the annual economic policy dialogue between the two countries… Participation in this year’s JEDG included Israeli Finance Ministry Director General Shai Babad (Israel Chair), Dr. Karnit Flug, Governor of the Bank of Israel, and the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer… The U.S. delegation included Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs David Malpass, Acting Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs Brian McFeeters (U.S. Co-Chairs).

KAFE KNESSET — Mr. Liberman Goes to Washington — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman departed last night on a four-day visit to Washington, DC and New York City. This is the second time Liberman has traveled to the US this year for a high-level strategic dialogue. He is slated to meet Secretary of Defense Mattis as well as National Security Advisor McMaster. According to an Israeli official – Iran and Syria will lead the agenda. Yesterday, Liberman said that “The Iranians are trying to take control of Syria, trying to establish themselves there, to be the dominant force, and we will not allow it. We are aware of this and we certainly have all the tools to deal with this challenge.” Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

“Russia sandwiched in Syria between Israel, Iran” by Maxim A. Suchkov: “Israel has been rather loyal to Russia’s military presence — and realizes its own gains from it — and Iran has been crucial to Russia on the ground in Syria… Moscow is, however, wary of each party trying to work Russia’s presence to the detriment of the other… Russia will need to sit down with Israel and seriously talk about whether Israel’s interests can be squared with Russia’s interests, and whether Moscow really has any leverage over Tehran.” [Al-Monitor]

“U.S. Ambassador to U.N. Escalates Confrontation With Iran” by Rick Gladstone: “The United States will not turn a blind eye to these violations,” the United Nations ambassador, Nikki R. Haley, told a Security Council meeting that had been meant to focus on developments in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Ms. Haley used her speaking time instead to deliver a critique of Iran. Her remarks were among the most strident denunciations Ms. Haley has made of Iran since she became President Trump’s ambassador… “Iran hides behind its assertion of technical compliance with the nuclear deal while it brazenly violates the other limits on its behavior,” she said. “And we have allowed them to get away with it. This must stop.” [NYTimes

HAPPENING TODAY — U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley will join former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice at a panel discussion hosted by the George W. Bush Institute at Lincoln Center’s Fredrick P. Rose Hall in New York City. The morning forum is focused on freedom and security. Former President George W. Bush will deliver concluding remarks. [Livestream]

At 11:20am, FDD’s National Security Summit will feature conversations with CIA Director Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster[Livestream]

“Netanyahu’s Challenge: Help Trump Fix or Scrap the Iran Deal” by Jonathan Ferziger and Udi Segal: “The [Israeli] government is making a diplomatic push… to strengthen “snapback” mechanisms to cover sanctions for Iranian activities that aren’t directly connected to its nuclear program… “The goal should be a strategy that wins the support of European and hopefully Russian and Chinese and other international actors, rather than one that is a U.S.-Israel, go-it-alone strategy,” said Dan Shapiro… Beyond contributing intelligence, Israel “should work with the administration on a compelling diplomatic approach that demonstrates that there’s a willingness to work with other countries to build pressure on Iran, not just to dictate terms,” said Shapiro.” [Bloomberg

“Behind Schumer’s shocking switch on the Iran deal” by Seth Lipsky: “Schumer, I’m told, has been sounding out support for a new organization of conservative Democrats that could be similar to the Progressive Policy Institute, which once helped boost Bill Clinton but has been eclipsed by the left. That strikes me as a smart move… What’s the point, though, if Schumer can’t even cross the aisle to oppose an Iran deal he himself voted against?” [NYPost

ANTI-BOYCOTT ACT — Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) tells JI’s Aaron Magid: “I think they (ACLU) raise important claims, but I also know first hand based on what is happening in California that we can’t permit, allow or encourage any kind of activity that encourages hate or division in any way. I think there are some legitimate concerns about the BDS movement that have to be addressed, but obviously, the First Amendment is something that we should protect and the rights people have under the First Amendment should also be protected, so I am taking a look at it.”

SPOTTED THIS AM: Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor delivering remarks at AIPAC’s first annual private equity breakfast [Pic]

MOOCH UPDATE: “Scaramucci’s Holocaust death-poll costing him lucrative speaking gigs” by Emily Smith: “A source says a November Scaramucci speaking appearance at NYC investment firm Neuberger Berman has now been canceled… Our source said the firm feared that it could erupt into a huge commotion. The Mooch… said via e-mail that the event cancellation was due to a “schedule change.” … Of the poll he said, “We were trying to raise awareness . . . Still we made a mistake, we apologized, made a donation to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and we are moving on.”” [PageSix]

“Roy Moore’s Foundation Received A $1,000 Donation From A Nazi Group In 2005” by Paul Blumenthal: “In 2005, the foundation run by Judge Roy Moore, now the Republican nominee for a Senate seat in Alabama, accepted a $1,000 donation from a group founded by Willis Carto, a white supremacist, Nazi supporter and World War II vet who famously said he regretted fighting for the U.S instead of Germany… There is no evidence that the nonprofit returned the check.” [HuffPost

** Good Thursday 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 Editor@JewishInsider.com **

SPOTLIGHT: “Baupost’s Klarman resists calls to wipe out Puerto Rico debt” by Svea Herbst-Bayliss: “Billionaire investor Seth Klarman on Wednesday resisted calls for Puerto Rico’s debt to be wiped out and said the island’s residents will be better off in the long run if obligations are honored. Klarman comments came in an email to investors, offering fresh details about how his $30 billion hedge fund Baupost Group sees its bet on Puerto Rican bonds after Hurricane Maria… “In the case of Puerto Rico, expunging the debt would almost certainly eliminate any ability the Commonwealth would have to borrow money in the future at reasonable rates, which will be critical to the island’s rebuilding efforts,” Klarman wrote in the email.” [Reuters]

“Mayim Bialik Apologizes for Her Controversial Harvey Weinstein Op-Ed” by Tolly Wright: “Mayim Bialik has issued an apology on social media for the New York Times op-ed she wrote last week about being a “nontraditional looking” actress in Hollywood… “Let me say clearly and explicitly that I am very sorry,” Bialik wrote on Twitter. “What you wear and how you behave does not provide any protection from assault, nor does the way you dress or act in any way make you responsible for being assaulted; you are never responsible for being assaulted.”” [Vulture]

WHO WILL BE THE NEXT JEWISH AGENCY HEAD? — by Kafe Knesset team: Nathan Sharansky still has seven months remaining in his term as Jewish Agency director, but the question of who will succeed him has been floating around for some time now. The succession question is likely to dominate the conversation during the Agency’s Board of Governors meeting in Jerusalem next week. On the first day of the conference, Likud minister Yuval Steinitz, who is the most prominent candidate mentioned so far, will be addressing the board as the Israeli government’s representative. Steinitz was invited to the event even though he was reported to be a candidate for the job…

Steinitz’s name as a candidate has been mentioned in recent weeks as part of a Likud speculation of a deal in which coalition chair David Bitan will be appointed minister instead of him. Bitan denied it on the radio, being surprisingly modest for a politician and saying he has not been in the Knesset long enough to warrant the promotion. Other names mentioned for the Jewish Agency job include former UN ambassador Ron Prosor, Mayor of Maaleh Adumim Benny Kashriel, and Israel’s NYC Consul-General Danny Dayan[JewishInsider]

“Jonathan Greenblatt wants to mend the ‘paradox’ of Israeli-Diaspora relations” by Eric Cortellessa: “Next week the ADL will host its first-ever flagship event in Israel — called “Israel 2048: Israel Social Cohesion Summit” — which will address this very theme. It will take place October 24 at the Hangar 11 event space at the Tel Aviv Port. The former Obama administration staffer stressed that the confab would aim to “foment shared understanding between the communities” and bring more of the kind of work the ADL does in the United States — like defending Jewish people and the State of Israel, and advocating policies that reflect a more tolerant, more open society — to Israel.” [ToI]

“A Trove of Yiddish Artifacts Rescued From the Nazis, and Oblivion” by Joseph Berger: “The Nazis occupying Lithuania once collected Yiddish and Hebrew books and documents… They appointed Jewish intellectuals and poets to select the choicest pearls for study. These workers, assigned to sift through a major Jewish library in Vilna, Vilnius in Lithuanian, ended up hiding thousands of books and papers from the Nazis, smuggling them out under their clothing… In 1991, a large part of the collection was found in the basement of a Vilnius church… But months ago curators at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in Manhattan, the successor to the Vilnius library, were told that another trove, totaling 170,000 pages, had been found, somehow overlooked in the same church basement… Among the finds… Two letters by Sholem Aleichem, the storyteller whose tales of Tevye the Milkman formed the core of “Fiddler on the Roof.”” [NYTimes]

“Jann Wenner and His Biographer Have a Falling Out” by Joe Coscarelli and Sydney Ember: “Mr. Wenner, the founder of Rolling Stone magazine, is distancing himself as much as possible from Joe Hagan, the writer who spent four years chronicling Mr. Wenner’s life… “I gave Joe time and access in the hope he would write a nuanced portrait about my life and the culture Rolling Stone chronicled,” Mr. Wenner said on Tuesday… “My hope was that this book would provide a record for future generations of that extraordinary time. Instead, he produced something deeply flawed and tawdry, rather than substantial.” Mr. Hagan said there was no reason Mr. Wenner should have been surprised by the book’s contents. “It was all on the table — there’s nothing he didn’t know,” the writer said. “He’s used to having control, and that’s a difficult thing.” [NYTimes]

SOUND BITE — At CNN Debate, Ted Cruz told Bernie Sanders: “As some might say, ‘curb your enthusiasm’. By the way, the impression Larry David does of you is spectacular.” [Video]

DESSERT: “Dallas Kosher BBQ Championship Returns October 29” by Nancy Nichols: “Kosher barbecue competitions have one obvious difference–no pork–but there are other distinctions… Because no work can be done or fires lit on the Jewish Sabbath, teams prepare the meats on Thursday night, then start cooking after sundown on Saturday. As in all KCBS competitions, the society’s judges will award official trophies for all four meats, as well as crown the grand champion and reserve grand champion, who will share $500 in cash.” [DMagazine]

BIRTHDAYS: Mayor of Jerusalem since 2008, Nir Barkat turns 58. At breakfast this morning with a visiting group of Americans, the Mayor was serenaded with ‘Happy Birthday’ [Video… Born in Vienna, Austria, oceanographer and professor emeritus at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California, Walter Munk turns 100… South African-born developmental biologist, professor emeritus at University College of London, Lewis Wolpert turns 88… Born in Israel during the British Mandate period, he was the long-time CEO of Aramark Corporation (1981-2015), Joseph Neubauer turns 76… Executive Director of “Second Thought: a US – Israel Initiative,” former Israeli diplomat with multiple US postings, Yoram Ettinger turns 72… Founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform, Grover Norquist turns 61… Chief Rabbi of Kiev and all of Ukraine since 1990, he has also served as a VP of the World Jewish Congress since 2009, Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich turns 53… Founding president and CEO of Global Policy Initiatives, he was the White House Jewish Liason in the Clinton administration, Jay Footlik turns 52… DC-based digital micro-targeting analyst, equities trader and financial marketer, Elie Litvin turns 35… Pittsburgh-based digital editor and designer, Lindsay Applebaum turns 32 (h/ts Playbook)… Michelle Fischler turns 69… Shira Moses turns 51… Evan Majzner turns 35… David Ochs turns 34…

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