Facing deportation, alleged BDS activist Lara appeals to High Court

Just hours before her deportation, Alqasem appealed to the High Court of Justice seeking to gain permission to enter the country.

By
October 14, 2018 15:24
1 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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The legal team representing American citizen and alleged BDS activist Lara Alqasem appealed to the High Court of Justice on Sunday, the court's spokesperson confirmed to The Jerusalem Post.

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem announced it will join the appeal, should it take place.

Alqasem was facing deportation from Israel Sunday evening following a decision by the Tel Aviv District Court last Thursday, which ruled to uphold the ban against her.

Alqasem, who holds a valid student visa obtained in the US, was denied entry to the country due to her alleged activity in the University of Florida's chapter of the BDS movement.

Alqasem stated that, while she had been active in the BDS movement in the past, she became interested in learning more about the State of Israel and had come to Israel to study Human Rights at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The decision to prevent Alqasem from entering the country led to criticism by noted supporters of Israel in the Jewish-American community.

Journalist Bari Weiss and Pulitzer Prize-winning opinion writer Bret Stephens published an editorial in The New York Times in which they confessed to being “unhinged Zionists,” and wondered: “Does the Jewish state... really have so much to fear from a 22-year-old graduate student from Florida?”

"The policy that is being implemented now is clearly causing us political damage," said former Ambassador to the US and Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Michael Oren, "so the officials responsible for its enforcement must carefully examine whether Lara Alqasem really does support BDS.”

Head of the Strategic Affairs Ministry, Minister Gilad Erdan, blamed Israel’s left for the negative fallout following the Alqasem affair. 

“The left began an international campaign against their own country, trying to bring someone into the country who led a chapter of one of the most antisemitic boycott organizations [referring to National Students for Justice in Palestine] in all of America,” Erdan said on Sunday morning in an interview on Kan, the Israeli public broadcaster.

An existing law bans anti-Israel boycotters from entering the country at the discretion of the Strategic Affairs Ministry. 

Juliane Helmhold and Yonah Jeremy Bob contributed to this article. 


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