Israel upholds ban on USA student Lara Alqasem over BDS support

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The lawyer for a USA student who has been barred from entering Israel because of alleged involvement in a Palestinian-led boycott movement says that her appeal to remain in the country has been rejected.

American Lara Alqasem, center, sits in a courtroom prior to a hearing at the district court in Tel Aviv, Israel, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. The court rejected the appeal on Friday.

Several pro-Israel organizations have asked the University of MI to sanction Professor John Cheney-Lippold for telling a student he would not write her a letter of recommendation to study in Tel Aviv because he supports an academic boycott of Israel.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Alqasem - who is of Palestinian descent - was offered entry to Israel if she renounced the BDS movement but Yotam Ben-Hillel, Alqasem's lawyer, is said to have stridently refused the offer.

Alqasem, 22, had a valid student visa to study at Jerusalem's Hebrew University. Under last year's amendment to the Entry into Israel Law, it bars entry to anyone who made a "public call for boycotting Israel" or the Israeli settlements.

Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan has said that he would consider allowing Alqasem to take up her university place if she publicly denounces BDS.

"Israel is a sovereign nation that can determine who enters".

Alqasem was the president of the University of Florida's small group Students for Justice in Palestine, which urged members not to buy the brand Sabra, an Israeli hummus company.

Se viene la serie de Susana Giménez
Lo que todavía no se sabe es quien o quienes interpretarán a la diva en la ficción, que promete ser un gran éxito en los medios de toda América.

One University of Florida student tweeted his support for Alqasem, arguing that no one should be punished for fighting against any country's human rights violations.

He cited contradictions in her testimony, noted that she had wiped her social media history, and found that the state had the right to bar someone who sought to harm the country's economy and image.

Alqasem, whose grandparents are Palestinian, stated in her testimony to the court, "I don't support BDS".

With utmost cynicism, Sabine Haddad, a spokesperson for the immigration authority, denied that Alqasem was being detained against her will, saying, "She can fly back to the United States whenever she likes".

While waiting for her appeal to be heard, Alqasem has been spending her days in a closed area with little access to a telephone, no internet and a bed that was infested with bedbugs, according to people who have spoken to her. She launched an appeal of her pending deportation.

Earlier this week, hundreds of academics signed a letter calling on Israel to allow Alqasem to enter the country.

Canary Mission collects information about thousands of pro-Palestinian students and professors, alongside a handful of profiles of prominent white supremacists that it says "promote hatred of the USA, Israel and Jews on North American college campuses".

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