US student refused entry to Israel launches final appeal
JERUSALEM, Oct 14, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – A US student barred from Israel over
alleged support for a pro-Palestinian boycott campaign issued a last-minute
request on Sunday to appeal the decision with the state’s top court, her
Lara Alqasem’s request came the day she was set to be deported from the
immigration facility at Ben Gurion airport, where she has been held for 12
On Friday, the Tel Aviv administrative court upheld the state’s decision to
prevent her from entering the Jewish state under a 2017 law barring
supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Following her request to appeal, the Supreme Court issued a temporary order
preventing her deportation, setting a time on the upcoming Wednesday morning
for a panel to decide whether to enable her to appeal.
Her lawyer, Yotam Ben Hillel, said he hoped the procedure would progress
Alqasem, 22, landed at Ben Gurion on October 2, intending to study for a
master’s degree at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, but was not allowed to
enter despite having a visa.
She chose to challenge the entry ban rather than return to the United
The Israeli academic year began on Sunday.
The Hebrew University meanwhile maintained its support of Alqasem,
reiterating late Saturday that Israel’s decision to expel the student “is a
“This course of action does not contribute to the battle against BDS and
harms efforts by the academic community to encourage students and scholars
from around the world to visit Israel and to study here,” the university said
in a statement.
In March 2017, Israel’s parliament passed a law banning the entry of
supporters of the BDS movement, inspired by an international campaign against
South Africa before the fall of apartheid.
Alqasem, reportedly of Palestinian descent, was president of a chapter of
Students for Justice in Palestine during her undergraduate studies at the
University of Florida.
The group has supported boycott campaigns against Israel.
Alqasem said she left SJP in 2017 and no longer supported the BDS movement,
according to the Tel Aviv court.
“Any self-respecting state defends its own interests and those of its
citizens, and has the right to fight against the actions of a boycott… as
well as any attacks on its image,” the court said in its ruling on Friday.