BDS activist Lara Alqasem's deportation delayed until 5 p.m. Sunday

The delay may be intended to give Alqasem an opportunity to present her case to Israel's High Court of Justice.

US student Lara Alqasem (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/ MAARIV)
US student Lara Alqasem
American student and alleged BDS activist Lara Alqasem has successfully blocked her deportation from Israel until at least 5 p.m. Sunday, according to Israel's Administration of Border Crossings, Population and Immigration.
The delay may be intended to give Alqasem an opportunity to appear her case to Israel's High Court of Justice.
lost an appeal filed with the Tel Aviv District Court last Thursday, which ruled to uphold the ban against her.
After the lower court confirmed the state’s right to prevent her from entering due to support for the BDS campaign against Israel, Alqasem’s lawyer Yotam Ben-Hillel appealed to the Tel Aviv District Court.
Alqasem, an American citizen and Florida University student, could return to the US at anytime. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said that he would let her into the country if she publicly renounced BDS. Erdan praised the appeals court ruling as recognizing that Alqasem was a BDS leader, and that expelling her would not harm Israel’s reputation for openness to foreign visitors.
In 2018, a law was passed to ban BDS supporters from entering the country. Since then, there have been a number of incidents in which activists were barred from the country because of their connections to organizations that are on the Strategic Affairs Ministry’s blacklist.
Alqasem is the former president of her campus chapter of National Students for Justice in Palestine, one of the blacklisted groups, which advocates for a boycott and has created a hostile environment for many Jewish students on college campuses in the US.
Alqasem also interned for Nonviolence International, a “fiscal sponsor” of flotillas seeking to break the naval blockade on Gaza, and a member of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, a major promoter of Israel boycotts.
While some of Alqasem’s defenders argued that she had a change of heart in the past year, government sources said that she showed support for anti-Israel and boycott organizations on social media as recently as May 2018.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, in an interview on Kan, the Israeli public broadcaster, on Sunday morning, blamed Israel's left for the negative fallout following Alqasem's detention.
"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," he said. "This damaged Israel's image. The ones responsible are those who go around the world and criticize a very reasonable decision."
Juliane Helmhold and Yonah Jeremy Bob contributed to this report.