• Christian Aid claims it was subject to act of ‘lawfare’ by pro-Israel group (The Guardian)

    “Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP), said she believed the aim of TZAC’s lawsuits was to send a ‘chilling effect’ through the international NGO sector. ‘It’s letting organisations know that: if you stick a toe in this Palestine work, it could take down everything you’re doing worldwide,’ she said. ‘It could end up being a reputational weapon against you. It could end up taking time and money away from everything else. And potentially if one of these cases comes up and somehow you’ve screwed up under US law because US law’s pretty complicated … it could shut you down. So all the good work you do in the world: are you willing to risk it by doing a project in Gaza? And I think what they’re gambling [the answer] is no, you’re not.’ …Friedman has compared aspects of Abrams’ lawsuits to Slapps – strategic lawsuits against public participation – usually deployed by the rich and powerful to harass, silence or intimidate. While Slapp suits were usually brought by billionaire oligarchs or companies and TZAC was very small, she added, the complaints appeared ‘a form of legal intimidation’. ‘Even people that win end up getting dragged through the mud with them,’ added Friedman.”

  • Supreme Court declines to hear challenge to Arkansas state law prohibiting contractors from boycotting Israel (JTA)

    “Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, criticized Jewish groups that celebrated the court’s decision not to take the case. She tweeted that AJC and others like it ‘are celebrating a court ruling that undermines Americans’ right to boycott ANYTHING as a matter of protest/conscience.’ Friedman recently authored a memo arguing that anti-BDS laws were being used as templates for other state laws dealing with different kinds of boycotts, including against the firearms and fossil fuel industries, as well as in state-level efforts to reduce the growing trend of environmental, social and corporate governance investing.”

  • ‘Moderate PAC’ is latest big-money push to keep Democrats in line on Israel (Mondoweiss)

    ” Israel hardly needed Kohelet to disenfranchise Palestinians and deny their rights. But the power of their tactics, and especially the fact that few recognize that an unaccountable organization is responsible for so much policy is considerable. That’s why their connection to right-wing support of Israel in the United States is so important. The head of Kohelet’s international law department, Eugene Kontorovich, is perhaps the leading figure in both writing laws and manipulating existing legislation to support Israel’s interests. As Lara Friedman of the Foundation for Middle East Peace described it, Kontorovich has worked ‘to effectively change U.S. laws so that we no longer view boycotts of Israel or settlements as a legitimate form of protest.’”

  • GOP Megadonor Is Funding a Far-Right Israeli Think Tank — and Establishment Democrats (The Intercept)

    “…Kohelet’s aims are not restricted to Israel’s domestic politics.Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, noted that the group’s director of international policy has supported U.S. legislation that would make boycotts against Israel illegal and has worked ‘to effectively change U.S. laws so that we no longer view boycotts of Israel or settlements as a legitimate form of protest.’” & “Kohelet and the Moderate PAC are both part of a broader project to silence criticism of Israel in Congress and bolster institutional support for the Netanyahu regime, Friedman said. Kohelet has been behind many of Israel’s illiberal policies, she noted, adding that Congress has stifled critiques of the same policies, which have been condemned by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. ‘Now the common refrain in Congress is, ‘Oh, this is antisemitic,’ which is then used to shut down critics of Israel like Ilhan Omar. There’s something rather elegant about this. It suggests that on this issue, we all stand together arm in arm on what it means to be pro-Israel today,’ Friedman said. ‘This is why they’re so worried about progressive candidates coming up in the ranks. You’ve gotta nip this in the bud.’”

  • Republicans push to remove Ilhan Omar from foreign affairs panel (Lara Friedman in Al Jazeera)

    “Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, an advocacy and research group, said Republicans are trying to validate their talking points against Omar by using the statements and actions of Democrats. ‘They own this,’ she said of Democrats who previously attacked Omar. ‘They made a decision in the last few years to jump on board and score political points at Ilhan’s expense … And that decision is now the basis for the resolution that is being used to throw her off the committee.’ Friedman added that Omar and her fellow Muslim-American Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib are held to “different standards” when it comes to addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict… Friedman said attacks on Omar appeal to the Republican base and play well for the party politically. ‘It’s a really handy way to embarrass and corner Democrats because when Democrats vote against this tomorrow, the Republican argument is going to be: ‘I don’t get it. You said all these things [against Omar]. Why are you not holding her accountable?’ Politically, this is just fantastic for them.'”

  • SecState Blinken’s Meeting with Bibi (Lara Friedman on Background Briefing)

    “We begin with Secretary of State Blinken’s meeting today with Prime Minister Netanyahu who leads the most far right government in Israel’s history and like former President Trump who is running for the presidency to stay out of jail, Netanyahu is using the power of his office to strip Israel’s Supreme Court of its authority so that he can be in charge of the law and stay out of jail. Joining us is Lara Friedman, the President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace…”

  • How a Giant of Responsible Investing Agreed to an Israel Exception (Jewish Currents)

    “Just as anti-BDS legislation has become a template for politicians seeking to limit boycotts of fossil fuels or gun manufacturers, the pro-Israel attack on Morningstar could become a model for groups pushing to shield companies from accountability on other issues, according to Friedman. ‘It creates a model of what it looks like for any power-holders to politicize ESG ratings. First it’s Israel, then maybe next we have India or some other country saying, ‘No, this is the wrong standard, we’ll throw a lot of money and public pressure at you,’” she said. As a result, Friedman argues that liberal Jewish communities around the country have aided a right-wing project: ‘The irony is that once again this progressive Jewish community is the cat’s paw for a broader illiberal agenda because their comfort zone demands an Israel exception.’”

  • Unilever has settled its battle with Ben & Jerry’s over West Bank ice cream—but the minefield of doing business in Israel remains (Fortune)

    “‘The point in going after Ben & Jerry’s was to have—no pun intended—a chilling effect on other companies that want to distinguish between Israel and the settlements,’ says Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace…In fact, she says, many international & US companies, like major hotel brands, for example, operate in Israel but not in the West Bank. ‘So long as they do not make a public statement, nobody cares…But if they make a public statement, all hell breaks loose.’”

  • ADL Using Impact Investing to Target BDS (Mint Press News)

    Many quotes from FMEP’s Lara Friedman, including: “According to Friedman, the ADL’s recent decision to absorb JLens is not a new development, but rather something pro-Israel lawfare groups like Reut and the Zachor Legal Institute have advocated for since the early days of conscious investing. ‘So if the idea is we [pro-Israel groups] can’t prevent socially responsible investing from taking off, we have to find a way to subvert it so that it won’t end up being focused on Israel,’ Friedman said. ‘And Israel will be given an exemption effectively.’”