Media

  • Times of Israel: How McDonald’s took the same stance as Ben & Jerry’s but avoided public backlash

    “‘Israel decides to make an issue of people differentiating [between] settlements [and Israel proper] when it feels like it,’ she [FMEP’s Lara Friedman] said, referencing economic agreements former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government signed with the EU and South Korea and China that explicitly do not apply to the settlements. ‘In those cases [Netanyahu] didn’t make a deal of it or accuse them of boycotting Israel.’…FMEP’s Friedman explaining that Jerusalem seized on the public nature of Ben & Jerry’s announcement ‘as an opportunity, rather than a challenge.’ ‘Where McDonald’s is a challenge because [the government would] like to keep their branches in Israel, Ben & Jerry’s has been an opportunity to reframe the issue in terms of BDS and to send a warning message to anyone else who might want to do it,” she posited, noting that the same strategy was employed against Airbnb three years ago.'”

  • JTA: How US laws against Israel boycotts could hit Ben & Jerry’s

    “Following a series of First Amendment challenges to the laws, many states now set a minimum amount of $100,000 in trade before anti-BDS measures can be triggered against a contractor. That would mean that smaller Ben & Jerry’s contracts would remain unaffected, even in states with anti-BDS laws. But Friedman told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that future contracts could be jeopardized. ‘If Ben & Jerry’s bids annually for a contract to provide ice cream for the University of Texas, and the University of Texas has an anti-BDS clause that you have to sign when you’re putting in a bid, that could be a problem,’ she said.”

  • Foreign Policy: Israel Goes to War Again, This Time Against Ben & Jerry’s

    “The effort here is to impose the greatest possible reputational harm and business costs on Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever,” both to reverse the policy and send a chilling message to other companies, Lara Friedman, president of the Washington-based Foundation for Middle East Peace, told Foreign Policy. ‘But this was the point of these anti-BDS laws: redefining support for Israel as support for Israel and its permanent control over the West Bank and East Jerusalem.’”

  • Times of Israel: US states’ fully baked anti-BDS laws could put the freeze on Ben & Jerry’s

    “Lara Friedman, who tracks anti-BDS legislation as president of the Foundation of Middle East Peace, said she expected states to act swiftly. Lara Friedman, who tracks anti-BDS legislation as president of the Foundation of Middle East Peace, said she expected states to act swiftly. ‘For legislators trying to make a really political statement, I don’t see them saying, ‘Well let’s wait and see,’” she said, adding that settlement boycott opponents will likely be “scrubbing the books in the states that have these laws to see if they can take some punitive action.’”

  • Haaretz: Israel Wants U.S. to Enforce anti-BDS Laws Against Ben & Jerry’s. Will It Work?

    “Lara Friedman of the Foundation for Middle East Peace said that while some state-level anti-BDS laws have been called unconstitutional along the way, none of the laws stipulate that boycotting Israel or settlements is illegal, nor will anyone face legal repercussions for boycotting in a state with an anti-BDS law on its books. ‘When people talk about BDS laws barring boycotts, they can’t bar people from boycotting but they can try to attach a punishment. The punishment selected is ‘If you do this, you can’t enjoy the benefits of taxpayer-funded contracts,’ Friedman said. ‘This is an illegal, unconstitutional condition, which is why courts have been so unfriendly to these laws.'”

  • Foreign Policy: What’s Next for Christian Zionists?

    “Lara Friedman, the president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, said there is a big difference between the emergence of young evangelicals expressing greater sympathy for Palestinians and a real change in the evangelical community’s approach to Israel. ‘I don’t yet see the shift in attitudes having any real dent in the effort of evangelicals to shape policy on the ground,’ Friedman said. ‘I trust the polling, but translating these generational shifts into policy change is not a direct line. You still have to get people into office who will promote your issues.'”

  • Middle East Eye: Most Americans oppose unrestricted aid to Israel: Poll

    “Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP), said she was ‘heartened’ by the data, which shows that Americans understand the complexity of the issue and ‘the humanity of both sides’. But she lamented that the shift in public opinion has not moved most politicians in Washington to pursue a balanced approach to Israel-Palestine. Despite recent victories for progressive candidates like Jamaal Bowman and Bernie Sanders’ ability to outraise all of his opponents during the Democratic presidential primary last year, Friedman said, the perception that criticising Israel can be costly politically remains. ‘Those perceptions become reality; if politicians believe they cannot move on this, regardless of what the grassroots says, regardless of what their constituents want, then they don’t,’ Friedman said.”