• NYT: Palestinian Leaders Are Banking on Biden Win Next Week

    “Allowing the reopening of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s diplomatic mission in Washington or restoring much of the aid to projects that directly benefited the Palestinian Authority would require Mr. Biden to overcome a number of legal obstacles, some of which might require Congressional approval. And re-establishing the United States Consulate in Jerusalem, which until 2019 functioned as the American diplomatic mission to the Palestinians, would require Israel’s permission — something it may not be too quick to grant in a city that Mr. Trump himself formally recognized as Israel’s capital. ‘These are all possible but they would require heavy political lifting,’ said Lara Friedman, the president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace and an expert on the role of Congress in the region.”

  • Aiming for regional peace, could normalization deals spark arms race instead?

    “Given that opposition to the F-35 sale has been overwhelmingly Democratic, one might conclude that it has been largely politically motivated. But Foundation for Middle East Peace President Lara Friedman dismissed the assumption. ‘Supporting Israel’s QME is something that members of Congress — even those critical of Israeli policy — take very seriously,’ she said. “The idea that Israel lives in a tough neighborhood and needs these kinds of weapons that others don’t have has been beaten into the psyche of those on the Hill,” the head of the dovish DC-based organization said. ‘So when all of the sudden Congress members are being told by the White House that they need not worry, it’s rattling.’”

  • Beinart predicts a rightward shift on Israel among millennial Jews; Lara Friedman suggests progressive newcomers will bring ‘more backbone’ to Congress on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

    “Friedman focused on potentially significant shifts in the U.S. political environment, including Rep. Eliot Engel’s (D-NY) primary loss to Jamaal Bowman and the resultant race to replace Engel as chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and other similar defeats of longtime House members to upstart progressive challengers. ‘Things are going to be changing in the next Congress,’ she said. ‘We’re going to see some of the old guard departing.’ Friedman noted that outside spending in Engel’s race and other primaries failed to prevent several incumbents from being unseated.
    ‘That sends a really powerful message to members of Congress,’ she said. ‘There is some hope that [in] the next House in particular, you will see more backbone.'” But Friedman said she does not expect much change from the status quo in a potential Joe Biden administration. ‘I think fundamentally it will be an effort to roll it back to the ‘highly successful’ — I say that with sarcasm — policy of the Obama administration,’ Friedman told the panel, adding: ‘Either Trump or Biden… I think it is going to be a more interesting situation next year where you potentially have more progressives willing to hold the line, particularly on constitutional matters.’”

  • Redefining anti-Semitism on Facebook

    “Yet, the people behind this campaign are neither interested in irony nor in justice, and certainly not in justice for Palestinians. As Lara Friedman, the president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace who wrote an expose on the Facebook campaign for Jewish Currents, has pointed out, their letter to the Board of Directors “’represents the latest front in the battle to use the IHRA definition to officially exclude criticism of Israel from the bounds of acceptable discourse’”.

  • Lara Friedman at Jewish Currents: Israel-Advocacy Groups Urge Facebook to Label Criticism of Israel as Hate Speech

    “ON AUGUST 7th, amid broad efforts to get Facebook to clamp down on extremist activity and hate speech, more than 120 organizations sent a letter to the social media giant, urging it to “fully adopt” the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism as the “cornerstone of Facebook’s hate speech policy regarding antisemitism.” This definition, which was adopted by the IHRA in 2016 and has been promoted to governments worldwide, includes several examples of what it describes as “contemporary” antisemitism—including “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor” and “applying double standards” to Israel—that can be interpreted to define much criticism of Israel, Israeli policies, or Zionism as antisemitism. This letter represents the latest front in the battle to use the IHRA definition to officially exclude criticism of Israel from the bounds of acceptable discourse…”

  • The First Draft of Biden’s Israel Policy

    “It will be up to the Biden team to resolve the contradictions between progressive activists and the pro-Israel establishment. Lara Friedman, the president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP) and a Jewish Currents contributing writer, told me she suspects that Biden and Blinken ‘want to avoid making Israel/Palestine an issue in the election.’ The tug of war over the platform, then, may best be understood as a struggle to determine what the campaign considers safe.”

  • The Nation: Will the Left Get a Say in the Biden Doctrine?

    “Lara Friedman…excoriated Blinken for his statement during a webcast in May that ‘Joe Biden believes strongly in keeping your differences—to the greatest extent possible—between friends behind doors,’ referring to how Biden would handle disagreements with Israel. The event was hosted by the Democratic Majority for Israel, a super PAC funded in part by people who have donated to Republicans and that has targeted progressive candidates, including Sanders, with negative ads. ‘It’s quite striking,’ said Friedman. ‘They didn’t put this out in August. They put this out in May, before the July 1 annexation date,’ referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pledge to annex parts of the occupied West Bank this summer, in violation of international law and against pre-Trump US policy. (As of this writing, the process had not formally commenced.) ‘He’s saying aid will never be used as leverage of any kind. He’s promising to protect Israel at the United Nations, which I have a hard time reading as anything other than a shot at Obama’—a reference to Obama’s decision not to veto a UN resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank in December 2016. Friedman was pessimistic about a Biden administration’s willingness to listen to pro-Palestine activists. ‘If they’ve already annexed by the time you come in, how much political capital are you going to spend trying to undo or unwind annexation?’ she asked.”

  • The pro-Israel lobby is smearing Black Lives Matter as a ‘terrorist’ movement

    “In the statement, Greendorfer called for the US government to look into the alleged ties between BLM and Palestinian ‘terror’ groups: ‘We urge the Department of Justice to take action to fully investigate the ties among Black Lives Matter, their BDS partners and foreign terror groups that are promoting violence and unrest in the United States.’ Lara Friedman of the Foundation for Middle East Peace responded to these outrageous smears by saying, ‘If you weren’t expecting this you weren’t paying attention.’ This is clearly part of a pattern.”

  • Slate: A Legal Activist Wants to Use the IRS to Punish an Israeli-Palestinian Peace Group

    “The lawsuit is a longshot, but Abrams does not need to succeed in court to declare victory. As Lara Friedman has detailed at length here, Abrams has used the ambiguous language of ‘material support’ regulations to ‘intimidate and coerce NGOs into abandoning moral, humanitarian, political and financial support for Palestinians.’”

  • The Nation: As Netanyahu Annexes the West Bank, Where Are the Democrats?

    “Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, put Biden’s position in perspective at a recent panel hosted by Jewish Currents magazine. ‘I’d love to see more constructive, more courageous, more visionary thoughts, particularly at a time when Israel is getting set to do something like annexation,’ Friedman said. ‘But essentially what [the Biden camp has] articulated is as close to a status quo [as you get].'”