US student held in Israel refuses deal from prosecutors

Congressional nominee Alexandria Ocasio Cortez campaigning in NYC. She says she views the Middle East “through a human rights lens.” Getty Images

Congressional nominee Alexandria Ocasio Cortez campaigning in NYC. She says she views the Middle East “through a human rights lens.” Getty Images

Alqasem, whose grandparents are from Palestine, was held in detention at the airport for over a week until she appeared before Tel Aviv district court on Thursday to challenge the ban on BDS supporters.

An Israeli court on Thursday heard the appeal of an American student against a decision to bar her entry to Israel, even though she had a study visa, over alleged activities supporting an worldwide boycott campaign by pro-Palestinian groups.

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has supported her appeal, asking the court to rule against the Interior Ministry's interpretation of the law.

"I have said this in the past and I will repeat it again: The policy that is being implemented now is clearly causing us political damage, so the officials responsible for its enforcement must carefully examine whether Lara Alqasem really does support BDS", Oren said in a statement.

Decision 28 and Decision 29, which were sponsored by Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, Qatar, Oman and Sudan, took just minutes to pass, and called Israel an "occupier", accusing Israel of "army violations against Palestinian universities and schools", and expressing disapproval of Israeli archaeological work in the eastern part of Israel's capital, Jerusalem.

But she was barred from entering the country and ordered deported, based on suspicions that she's an activist in the boycott movement. A lawyer representing the university said that permitting Alqasem to attend the Hebrew University would send a message that "Israel is a democracy and not an apartheid state" as the BDS movement claims.

Israel has come under heavy criticism for its handling of Alqasem's case.

BDS supporters say that in urging businesses, artists and universities to sever ties with Israel, they are using nonviolent means to resist unjust policies toward Palestinians. The group is a branch of the BDS movement, whose name comes from its calls for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel. Alqasem can return to the United States at any time.

Gilad Erdan, Israel's minister for strategic affairs, described Students for Justice in Palestine as an extremist organization.

"The racism of the occupying state has reached the level of fascism in punishing, prosecuting and killing others due to their ideas and beliefs that are fully consistent with worldwide law, global humanitarian law, human rights principles and human values", said the ministry.

A recently passed Israeli law allows authorities to ban entry to anyone it deems to have held a senior position in an organization publicly calling to boycott the State of Israel. Hebrew University has joined her appeal. Israel says the movement is anti-Semitic and masks its motives to delegitimize or destroy the Jewish state.

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said Tuesday that while "we value freedom of expression, also in cases where people don't agree with local policies or even USA policies - ultimately, it is up to the government of Israel to decide who it wants to let into the country". "They really haven't been that active". "We're talking about someone who simply wants to study in Israel, who is not boycotting anything", said lawyer Ben-Hillel. Alqasem, who hails from Southwest Ranches, Florida, outside of Ft.

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