• Times of Israel: Did the US downgrade its Palestinian ties by ‘upgrading’ its Jerusalem mission?

    “Lara Friedman (no relation to the ambassador), who served as political officer responsible for tracking settlement activity at the Jerusalem consulate in the 1990s, noted that it had long been the desire of settlers and their advocates to close the consulate. ‘They want to be able to say that all of Jerusalem belongs to Israel and there is only one legitimate grouping between the river and the sea,’ she said. ‘Having any diplomatic representation that is not linked to the government of Israel is a contradiction of that.’ Having to go through the US consulate long annoyed settler leaders, but it was something they adapted to, said Lara Friedman, noting that settler leaders even attended the consulate’s Fourth of July party each year rather than the one held at the ambassador’s Herzliya residence. She noted that even if the Biden administration decides to open a consulate for the Palestinians, so long as the embassy continues the Trump-instituted policy of serving Israelis on both sides of the Green Line alike, Washington will still be ‘de facto treating the West Bank as Israeli sovereign territory.’

    “Friedman, who now serves as president of the DC-based Foundation for Middle East Peace, flatly rejected the former ambassador’s characterization of the merger as an upgrade. ‘This is effectively saying to… [PA President Mahmoud] Abbas that he is now the equivalent of the mayor of Haifa.’ Taking further issue with the Trump envoy’s reasoning for nixing the consul general post, she said, ‘The idea that it is bad for US policy to have more than one viewpoint suggests that the less information you have the better.'”

  • Settlement & Annexation Report: March 25, 2021

    Welcome to FMEP’s Weekly Settlement & Annexation Report. To subscribe to this report, please click here. March 25, 2021 Construction on Extension of “Apartheid Road” Slated…

  • Is Facebook about to crack down on criticism of Zionism? (+972 Magazine)

    “‘There seems to have been a pivot from trying to get Facebook to adopt the IHRA, to Facebook looking at defining the word ‘Zionist’ — used in any critical sense — as indistinguishable from antisemitism,’ said Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace [full disclosure: the foundation financially supports +972 Magazine]. ‘This may be based on a good faith concern, as there are certainly instances of antisemites using the terms ‘Jewish’ and ‘Zionist’ interchangeably,’ Friedman continued. ‘But of course, the issue there isn’t the word but the context. Given the pressure around IHRA, it’s not paranoid to be concerned that this focus on the word ‘Zionist’ is just a back door to get the same impact that you would get if Facebook adopted IHRA in terms of stigmatizing and deplatforming criticism of Israel.’”