Alqasem tied to anti-Israel group later than she claimed

A Facebook invitation to an April 27, 2018 event features a photo of 15 students, including Alqasem, in colorful Middle Eastern dress.

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October 19, 2018 15:49
2 minute read.
US student Lara Alqasem appears at the district court in Tel Aviv, Israel October 11, 2018

US student Lara Alqasem appears at the district court in Tel Aviv, Israel October 11, 2018. (photo credit: AMIR COHEN)

 
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Lara Alqasem continued her affiliation with Students for Justice in Palestine longer than her lawyers Yotam Ben Hillel and Leora Bechor argued, The Jerusalem Post and its sister publication Maariv found Friday.

Landing at Ben-Gurion Airport on October 2, Alqasem, 22, was denied entry to Israel for over two weeks because of her former presidency of the University of Florida chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, which is flagged on a Strategic Affairs Ministry watch list of Israel-boycotting organizations whose leadership should not be allowed into the country.

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On Thursday, the High Court ruled that she may enter Israel, after the ban had previously been upheld by two courts. Alqasem plans to begin graduate studies at Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

During the deliberations in the High Court, Justice Anat Baron asked when Alqasem stopped being involved in SJP. Ben-Hillel said “April 2017 at the latest. Could be maybe February 2017.”

However, a photo on Facebook posted by SJP at University of Florida showed Alqasem participated in an event in September 2017, meaning in the subsequent school year.

A Facebook invitation to an April 27, 2018 event features a photo of 15 students, including Alqasem, in colorful Middle Eastern dress.

Those outfits correspond to ones worn in a Facebook photo album of a “Middle Eastern Fashion Show” on the UF SJP page. The event, according to an invitation on the Facebook page, was on September 28, 2017. Any photos of Alqasem were either not uploaded to the album, or were erased, like her social media accounts, before she came to Israel.

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On Thursday, the High Court allowed Alqasem to enter Israel, in part because the Israeli Consulate in Miami granted her a student visa, and the judges said the standard for revoking a visa should be higher than not granting one. In addition, the justices wondered how she could be an activist for boycotting Israel if she planned to attend Hebrew University. The state alleged Alqasem was a BDS supporter who fit the criteria for belong blocked from entry.


Lara Alqasem at a SJP event at University of Florida September 2017.

However, a photo on Facebook posted by SJP at University of Florida showed Alqasem participated in an event in September 2017, meaning in the subsequent school year.

A Facebook invitation to an April 27, 2018 event features a photo of 15 students, including Alqasem, in colorful Middle Eastern dress.

Those outfits correspond to ones worn in a Facebook photo album of a “Middle Eastern Fashion Show” on the UF SJP page. The event, according to an invitation on the Facebook page, was on September 28, 2017. Any photos of Alqasem were either not uploaded to the album, or were erased, like her social media accounts, before she came to Israel.

Lara Alqasem at a SJP event at University of Florida September 2017 / Facebook

On Thursday, the High Court allowed Alqasem to enter Israel, in part because the Israeli Consulate in Miami granted her a visa, and the judges said the standard for revoking a visa should be higher than not granting one. In addition, the justices wondered how she could be an activist for boycotting Israel if she planned to attend Hebrew University. The state alleged Alqasem was a BDS supporter who fit the criteria for belong blocked from entry.

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