• Al-Monitor: US says Israeli settlements not necessarily illegal

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced today that the US government will no longer hold the position that settlements built in the West Bank are necessarily illegal, saying the decision recognizes reality on the ground…“I don’t think it is a coincidence that this is happening days after the European Court of Justice ruling on labeling,” Lara Friedman, executive director of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, told Al-Monitor from Tel Aviv today. “That is clear. The substantive impact will depend on what flesh we put on the bones” of the decision, Friedman continued. “The President, the State Department can tell Customs and Border to change our policy on labeling [of goods produced from the settlements].”

  • Dealing with a New Reality in Israel-Palestine

    “The president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, Lara Friedman, also spoke at the conference titled “The United States, Israel & Palestine: An Assessment,” as part of a panel that also included University of Maryland Professor Shibley Telhami and former U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem Jake Walles. Friedman stressed the importance of running a reality check by looking at the facts and being realistically strategic. The first certainty is that the Trump team’s promises, stances, and actions on the Israel-Palestine conflict have been almost perfectly aligned, unlike on other issues. “This administration is chaotic and reckless and constantly doing random things on the Middle East, but on Israel-Palestine, they have been coherent, and cogent, and consistent,” she said. But being coherent and producing sound policy are two different things…

  • VOA: Arab Leaders Reject Israel Pledge to Annex Palestinian Land

    Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace explains to VOA the predicament Jordan could face should Israel try to annex this area bordering the kingdom…Declaring annexation really takes away the pretense. It rips away the fig (leaf) that there could be, or that people want there to be, a political solution on the West Bank and Gaza that resolves the claims of the Palestinians. For Arab neighbors, this has different levels of threat involved,” said Friedman. “For Gulf countries, this is an issue of the symbolism of Jerusalem, the symbolism of the Palestinian struggle which is certainly less of a hot issue than it has been in past years, but for the ‘street,’ based on polling, it appears not to have gone away. But for Jordan, this is an immediate existential threat on its border. For Lebanon, which has a population of Palestinian refugees that, simply for Lebanese demographic reasons, cannot be accommodated, it is an existential problem. And for Egypt as well. It’s the argument: What do you do with Gaza? Do we make it Egypt’s problem? Egypt doesn’t want Gaza. At the point where Israel starts announcing annexation and ripping away even the pretense of a political process for those three countries in particular, this becomes an immediate and domestic existential issue.

  • Oxfam faces $160 million legal threat over Palestine aid projec

    In a Twitter thread, Lara Friedman of the think tank Foundation for Middle East Peace said the attempt to define working with the PA as support to terrorism would be an attempt at “tarring” all agencies that engage with it. She wrote: “the entire humanitarian/civil society sector is in the crosshairs.”

  • What John Bolton’s Firing Means For Israel — And Bibi’s Reelection Chances

    But Foundation for Middle East Peace president Lara Friedman said Netanyahu’s pledge should be taken seriously. “I don’t think he’s made any promise nearly as clear as this,” she said. Nevertheless, a White House official said after Netanyahu’s announcement that there was no change in American policy against West Bank annexation.

  • AIPAC May Be Celebrating Now, but the BDS Battles in Congress Have Just Begun

    “But anyone who believes that this resolution will in any way resolve or mitigate the bitter political wrangling over BDS has been drinking too much celebratory champagne, said Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace — a nonprofit that promotes a two-state solution. ‘You’d have to be delusional to think that this is over,’ said Friedman.”

  • Republicans push bill to crack down on ‘hateful’ ‘heinous’ BDS movement

    “‘The resolution is a far-reaching, unambiguous indictment of anyone who boycotts Israel,’ tweeted Foundation for Middle East Peace President Lara Friedman before the bill was passed. ‘Folks who support it are in effect legitimizing the same simplistic narrative that is being used to justify laws quashing free speech…Folks who support it are going to be called hypocrites if they subsequently vote against legislation trying to fight what they have in effect labeled an evil scourge.’

  • Mondoweiss: Why are progressive Democrats backing an anti-BDS bill that was introduced at an AIPAC conference?

    “…So why is Israel’s biggest lobbying organization strongly backing a resolution that doesn’t penalize BDS supporters and is seemingly weak enough to generate support from liberal lawmakers, after years of supporting anti-BDS measures which are much more aggressive?

    Much of their reasoning can presumably be found in a recent Twitter thread on the bill from Foundation for Middle East Peace President Lara Friedman. She notes that the resolution was developed after a Middle East policy bill that was introduced by Florida Senator Marco Rubio got stuck in the Senate. Rubio’s bill contains a provision that would have given states the legal right to punish companies if they boycotted Israel.”

  • Al Jazeera: Boycott, resist, push back: Shifting Israel narratives in the US

    In this special episode of The Listening Post, Richard Gizbert travels across the US to examine some of the key moments that have revealed how the discourse on Israel is shifting. Contributors: Noura Erakat – assistant professor, George Mason University; Batya Ungar-Sargon – opinions editor, The Forward; Rashida Tlaib – US Congresswoman, Representative for Michigan’s 13th district; Rebecca Vilkomerson – executive director, Jewish Voice for Peace; Lara Friedman – President, Foundation for Middle East Peace; Marc Lamont Hill – former CNN contributor and Professor, Temple University; Omar Baddar – deputy director, Arab American Institute; George Hale – reporter, KETR radio