American student appeals Israeli detention
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 10/10/18, 11:57 am
Israeli authorities have detained a 22-year-old American student for more than a week amid accusations she supported a pro-Palestinian boycott campaign. Lara Alqasem, whose grandparents are Palestinian, arrived at Ben-Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv last Tuesday with a valid student visa to study human rights at Hebrew University in Jerusalem but was barred from entering the country and ordered deported. Alqasem, who is appealing the decision, formerly served as president of the University of Florida chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, a branch of the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Alqasem insisted in her appeal she never actively participated in boycott campaigns and promised not to promote them in the future. An Israeli court ordered that she remain in custody during the appeals process.
Israel passed a law in 2017 barring any foreigner who “knowingly issues a public call for boycotting Israel” from entering the country. “Lara served as president of a chapter of one of the most extreme and hate-filled anti-Israel BDS groups in the U.S.,” said Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan. “Israel will not allow entry to those who work to harm the country, whatever their excuse.”
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Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.