US student denied entry due to involvement in BDS

US student denied entry to Israel remains in detention at airport during appeal process.

JTA, Arutz Sheva Staff,

Ben Gurion International Airport
Ben Gurion International Airport
Yoni Kempinski

A US student was denied entry to Israel due to her involvement in the boycott movement against Israel.

Lara Alqasem has remained in detention at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport since Tuesday as she appeals the decision. The Tel Aviv District Court on Sunday was set to schedule a hearing for her appeal.

A graduate of the University of Florida, Alqasem was granted a student visa from the Consulate General of Israel in Miami to study in a master’s program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. While at the University of Florida, in 2016-17, she served as president of Students for Justice in Palestine, a group which supports the BDS movement against Israel.

She is enrolled as a masters’ student in human rights at the Hebrew University.

Alqasem has an Israeli attorney. On Thursday, the Tel Aviv Court of Appeals determined that border control authorities had properly followed guidelines in ordering her to be sent home.

An official at the US Embassy in Israel told the daily Haaretz on Sunday that the United States was aware of Alqasem’s detention and were providing consular assistance.

Hebrew University has offered its support for Alqasem, calling on the government to allow her to enter to study there and saying the decision to prevent her entry was tantamount to an academic boycott.

Supporters of Alqasem raised nearly $6,500 for her legal fund on a GoFundMe page as of Sunday afternoon.

On Friday, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) said, "No sane country would allow the entry of foreigners who arrive with the intent of harming its citizens in any way. Israel is no exception."

"Belittling the campaigns that Lara and her organization took part in does not change the truth. This is a BDS activist who seeks to harm Israel and the companies that operate within it, and provide thousands of citizens with their livelihoods."




top