Last week, Lara Alqasem, landed in Isreal with an already granted student visa to study human rights at Israel’s Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She was immediately detained upon arrival and ordered to be deported due to her potentially being in support of a Palestinian-led boycott movement.
Israel has said that she can go back to America. She has chosen to stay and wait for her court appeal. She is being detained with no internet, limited phone access and a bed that was found to be infested with bed bugs based on the people who she has had the chance to speak too.
Alqasem lived in Southwest Ranches, Florida. There she was formerly the president of the University of Florida chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. The group is a branch of the BDS movement, which stands for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against Israel. The group uses nonviolent means to promote businesses to sever ties with Israel for their unjust dealings with the Palestinian people. Israel states that this movement is portrayed incorrectly and that the BDS movement is set out to delegitimize and destroy the Jewish state.
Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said last Wednesday that Israel had the right to protect itself and decide who enters its borders despite growing international criticism. Fast forward a week and Erdan said in a radio interview that he would rethink his decision to expel her if she apologizes and renounces her support for BDS.
It appears that Israel has decided to ruthlessly defend itself at their borders yet again. They have decided that even though they are facing international pressure, they are not obligated to let anyone into their country based off of whatever they deem to be a danger to the Jewish state. They have now denied a student access because of her heritage and her ideology.