• Israel’s assault on Palestinian NGOs is shutting off access to international community (Middle East Eye)

    “;Most people looked at these designations when they first came out 10 months ago and understood this to be an effort to cut off international funding to them. If you cut off international funding to them, they’re no longer able to function,’ Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, told Middle East Eye…”

    “…Friedman said that by not offering a clear rejection of Israel’s actions, ‘it’s like being guilty until proven innocent’. ‘It’s as if we’re [the Unite States] going to basically operate in a space where we’re never going to stand up to Israel on this,’ she told MEE. ‘How long do you keep this process open before these organisations really can’t function anymore? At which point taking a position is irrelevant.'”

  • CIA unable to corroborate Israel’s ‘terror’ label for Palestinian rights groups (The Guardian)

    “According to Lara Friedman, the president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, the US government’s public stance is a mixed one. ‘A lot of us would have liked to see an affirmative rebuttal of the designations,’ she said. ‘They didn’t do that, but there’s been nothing undertaken by this administration that would suggest they are viewing these organizations as terrorist organizations.’ But, she added: ‘The US administration has had ten months to convince Israel’ to reverse the designations. ‘Instead, this is now Israeli law.'”

  • ‘Frightening Escalation’: Palestinian Rights Group Says Director Detained by Israeli Agency (Common Dreams)

    “Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace in Washington, D.C., called Sunday’s incident ‘the inevitable result’ of the Biden administration ‘agreeing to wait for more ‘evidence’ (after admitting ‘evidence’ Israel gave them til now was BS).’ Ned Price, a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, declined to explicitly the West Bank office raids during a Thursday press briefing but said that the administration is ‘concerned’ and had ‘reached out to the Israeli government… for more information.’…
    Friedman highlighted what members of the groups could face based on the past behavior of Israeli authorities. ‘The Kafka-esque example of World Vision’s Mohamed Halabi exemplifies this reality,’ Friedman said of an aid worker’s recent and widely criticized trial. ‘Secret evidence, detention for SIX YEARS with Israel trying to force him to plead to ANYTHING they could use, and then convicting him anyway.'”

  • Biden administration expresses ‘concern’ over Israeli raids, but refuses to condemn them (Mondoweiss)

    “’The Biden Admin has had Israel’s ‘evidence’ for almost a year,’ wrote Foundation for Middle East Peace president Lara Friedman. ‘It clearly knows this ‘evidence’ is BS — otherwise there is zero doubt they would have validated Israel’s designations/designated the groups themself. But knowing the evidence was BS, they appear to have taken the politically & morally cowardly approach of staying silent — an approach that amounts to foreign policy gross negligence/complicity.’ ‘Make no mistake: This is a Chekov’s gun situation,’ she continued. ‘Israel put the gun on the table last October. The Biden Admin saw that gun and decided to do nothing to pressure Israel to remove it. Now, the Biden Admin cannot claim surprise when Israel aims/fires that gun at Palestinian human rights defenders.’”

  • Pro-Israel groups denounced after pouring funds into primary race (The Guardian)

    “Some of Aipac’s supporters have suggested that the focus on Aipac’s funding of campaigns against candidates critical of Israeli government policies is antisemitic because the group is doing no more than other lobby organisations. In response, Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, tweeted: ‘So AIPAC can do it … & AIPAC can brag about doing it … But talking about what AIPAC did (at least in a critical way) is antisemitic. See how that works?'”

  • Biden Gave Bear Hug to Israel During Recent Trip – Atlanta Jewish Times

    “From Israel’s perspective, it was probably a mixed bag. Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, said that the Biden Administration’s intention was to give Israel a ‘bear hug,’ to ‘hug as close as possible, because that is how Biden genuinely feels.’ Friedman, who was a foreign service officer in the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem in the early 1990s, told the AJT that the U.S. didn’t ask for anything from the Israelis – unlike the Saudis – so there were no issues. “

  • Biden says he wants a two-state solution. Why is he silent on Israeli settlements? (Vox)

    “‘What started out as a bunch of pins thrown up on a map became a deep network crisscrossing the West Bank of Israeli Jewish settlements, established in strategic locations,’ Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, told me. Those new informal communities grew into developments and cities, ‘erasing the Green Line, so you can no longer see what is Israel,’ according to Friedman. She says that settlers deliberately sought to ‘prevent the connection and expansion of Palestinian localities in the West Bank.’”…’The political animals around Biden have learned all the wrong lessons from the Obama era,’ Friedman told me. ‘The main lesson they learned was, ‘We don’t want to fight with Israel over settlements, or anything really.’’…For Friedman, a former State Department official who has been monitoring Israeli settlements since she worked at the US consulate in Jerusalem from 1992 to 1994, the Biden administration is simply not doing enough. ‘Since Biden came into office, we have seen a surge in settlement activity in the West Bank, we have seen a surge in settler violence, we’ve seen a surge in targeting in East Jerusalem,’ she told me. ‘And there’s nothing — all you’ll get is the most empty rhetoric. It’s as empty as we had under Trump.’”

  • After Bucking AIPAC Line, Rep. Sean Casten Returned $50,000 to Right-Leaning Pro-Israel Donors (The Intercept)

    “The refunded contributions are part of a larger trend this election season, which has seen unprecedented amounts of spending from pro-Israel organizations upend the playing field in Democratic primaries. ‘This is yet another wrinkle in that story,’ Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, told The Intercept. ‘We know that much of this money has been coming from Republicans, and these refunds provide even more insight into how this money is reshaping the landscape for Democratic politicians.’”

  • Ben & Jerry’s Clashes With Unilever Over BDS (Jewish Currents)

    “…close observers of the Unilever announcement said the reality of what the company did was more complicated than the tenor of Israeli press coverage—which portrayed the move as a full reversal of the Ben & Jerry’s decision—made it seem. Ben & Jerry’s is now out of the business of selling ice cream in Israel, and as the company pointed out in its own response to the Unilever announcement, ‘our company will no longer profit from Ben & Jerry’s in Israel.’ In its place will be Zinger’s version of Ben & Jerry’s, marketed only in Hebrew and Arabic. “If the idea of the anti-BDS campaign is to compel international companies to operate in settlements, this is the opposite of that,” said Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace (and a Jewish Currents contributing writer). ‘This international company is now not operating in Israel or the West Bank.’”

  • The Takeaway: US, Israel to show united front on Iran during Biden visit (Al-Monitor)

    “While the Biden administration is still publicly committed to negotiating a renewed nuclear deal, a ‘Plan B’ if the talks fail is sure to be on the agenda during Biden’s meetings with Bennett and Lapid, as is a likely series of US-led initiatives to strengthen regional deterrence. Outgoing PM Bennett is expected to informally serve as the interim government’s minister in charge of the Iran portfolio. Lara Friedman, president of the president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, expects that Biden and Lapid will put forward a united front on Iran. ‘I think they’re going to just try to be as conciliatory as possible, saying we’re all on the same side trying to do this same thing.’”