Media

  • The Forward: Thirty-nine words about antisemitism are splitting the Jewish community

    “critics, including Stern, say that the definition is now being weaponized to shut down legitimate criticism of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and treatment of Palestinians, while doing little to stop the actual threats facing American Jews. ‘It’s been instrumentalized to go after criticism of Israel and pretty much nothing else,’ said Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, which funds left-leaning Israeli human rights groups…Friedman said she believes the major groups like JFNA and the Anti-Defamation League, which signed the Conference of Presidents letter, are rushing to convince Biden that their preferred language represents the desires of American Jews before dissenting voices can be heard.”

  • NYT: Strong Views and ‘Close to the Boss’: How U.S. Envoy Reshaped a Conflict

    “Lara Friedman, an outspoken critic of Mr. Friedman (and no relation) who heads the Foundation for Middle East Peace, noted that some former Obama administration officials who advocate undoing some Trump policies have nonetheless suggested that the Biden administration tolerate or even green-light settlement expansion in parts of the West Bank. ‘David Friedman has every reason to be patting himself on the back,’ she said.”

  • TOI: Set to amend ‘pay to slay,’ PA hopes Biden will shun law deeming PLO ‘terrorist’

    “‘There are forces out there that are going to be looking to exact a political price on Biden for anything that he does that is seen as conciliatory for the Palestinians,’ said Foundation for Middle East Peace president Lara Friedman. ‘The best thing he can do is own his policies.’ She added that heeding the PA’s request regarding the 1987 legislation ‘would be a powerful declaration of independence by Biden from decades of foreign policy-making shackled by logic and legal constructs [imposed by Congress] geared not to promote Israeli-Palestinian peace but to prevent it.’”

    “Aside from declaring the law unconstitutional, Biden has no clear path to allowing the PLO back in Washington,” Friedman said.

  • TOI: Biden hopes to deprioritize Israel-Palestinian conflict but might not be able to

    “…Lara Friedman, an ex-US foreign service officer in Jerusalem and current president of The Foundation for Middle East Peace in DC pointed out that Biden would not be the first president to say he’d tackle the issue when he’s good and ready. ‘If you don’t want to come for Israel-Palestine on your own terms, it’ll make you come on its terms. So pick one,’ she said. ‘In 2021, it is not as if there is a stable status quo there,” she said, highlighting Israeli settlement building on more and more West Bank land that the Palestinians hope will one day be included in their state. Not engaging is engaging, and not engaging is engaging in support of the status quo forces,’ Friedman argued.”

    “…Friedman pointed to the recent decisions by the PA to resume security cooperation with Israel and to once again accept tax revenues from the Jewish state — both domestically unpopular moves. These measures are reportedly being followed by efforts in Ramallah to move away from its payments to Palestinian security prisoners. “These are all really loud statements by the Palestinians saying ‘We’re ready to be constructive partners,’” Friedman argued. ‘A Biden administration that doesn’t take advantage of these openings would be sending a pretty clear message that they’re never going to engage on the issue,’ she said. ‘Because those are the kinds of things that people who say the Palestinians are not partners for peace point to, arguing that ‘If they were partners they’d do X, Y and Z.’ Well they’re doing X, Y and Z. Now what?'”

  • Jewish Currents: Will Biden Undo Trump’s Disastrous Legacy on Israel/Palestine?

    “Even if Biden does intend to reverse Trump’s policies, he will likely face strong Republican opposition. ‘This administration is coming in already on the defensive,’ said Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace and a Jewish Currents contributing writer. ‘There’s a resilient narrative that Democrats have an antisemitism problem because some of them support BDS. To the extent that Biden tries to roll back things that happened under Trump, he and the Democratic Party will face accusations of being anti-Israel and antisemitic at every turn.’ Friedman added. ‘Until they can own their policies and defend the spectrum of opinion on Israel that exists within progressive grassroots of the Democratic party, they will continue to hemorrhage political capital on all of these issues.'”

  • Lara Friedman & Noura Erekat on the Mehdi Hassan Show 11/19/20

    On Peacock TV — Mehdi Hassan interviews Noura Erekat and FMEP’s Lara Friedman regarding Pompeo’s latest shifts in US policy vis-a-vis Israel-Palestine and expectations for the Biden Administration [video clip: https://twitter.com/MehdiHasanShow/status/1329590805565235200].

  • Flawed IHRA antisemitism definition reaches Ontario

    “As Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, has written, the IHRA definition is being used to ‘exclude criticism of Israel from the bounds of acceptable discourse.’”

  • Middle East Monitor: Pompeo in Israel: Three announcements that cement ‘apartheid’

    “Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP), said the move was unprecedented in US policy. ‘This is brand new ground. There’s nothing comparable to it.’ Friedman told MEE that most organisations would not be able to certify that they don’t distinguish between settlements and Israel. ‘There are global NGOs that work around the world – and consistent with international law, with EU policy, with the values of human rights and civil rights, they differentiate between Israel and settlements,’ she said. ‘If this policy is implemented as it’s articulated by the State Department, it means that those organisations will not be able to be partners with the US anywhere in the world.’ …Friedman said Pompeo’s statement, in effect, annexes both the land and the people who live in Area C. ‘This is essentially the US recognising Israeli sovereignty and Area C – all of it.’ She added that the move exposes the two competing positions of pro-Israel advocates in the US who don’t meaningfully oppose annexation as they hold on to the two-state solution and vehemently push back against the idea of a single state with equal rights. ‘Palestinians living in Area C do not enjoy the same rights as Jewish Israelis in Area C – let alone Israelis inside Israel. Full stop. They live under a different legal regime. That is apartheid,’ Friedman said.”

    “I mean it’s the strangest thing: We actually have unprecedented clarity from the US administration in terms of seeing the West Bank as permanently part of Israel and saying it.

  • ‘Til Kingdom Come’: IDFA Review

    “…other warning voices include Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, who sees Israeli settlers and US evangelicals as alike in their ideological pursuit of what they consider a holy agenda…What emerges from the film is not only a disturbing picture of how extremist political and religious agendas are connected, but also a sense of the contradictions involved, including – as Friedman points out – the dubious question for Jews of getting into bed with the far right.”

  • Weaponizing Anti-Semitism, State Department Delegitimizes Human Rights Groups

    “Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, said that US officials were ‘weaponising’ anti-Semitism in a bid to repress human rights organisations critical of Israel. Friedman’s criticism focuses on the prevailing understanding of anti-Semitism adopted by both parties in the US, which was first defined by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). The ‘working definition’, which Friedman says is politicised, states not only that anti-Semitism includes hostility towards Jews, but also ‘applying double standards” to Israel or requiring of Israel “behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.’”