American Student Still in Detention for BDS Activity

YERUSHALAYIM -

Lara Alqasem, the Florida university student detained at Ben Gurion airport since last Tuesday for alleged BDS activities was still there on Sunday, as she waited for an appeal hearing against the ruling of the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court to uphold the state’s order to refuse her entry.

An official at the U.S. Embassy in Israel said Sunday that the embassy is handling her case.

“We are aware of the case and our Embassy is providing consular assistance,” the official told Haaretz on Sunday. An appeal will probably be heard later this week.

Alqasem claims that she had ceased her brief active support for boycotting Israel, and her plan to study at Hebrew U. was part of her ongoing efforts to learn more about both sides of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

She decided to pursue the H.U. studies despite local criticism, as enrolling at the university itself constitutes implicit recognition of the state of Israel, according to Florida professors who have voiced support for her.

Neverthless, the Strategic Affairs Ministry remains unconvinced of her good intentions, and suspects Alqasem will use her stay in Israel to further her BDS activity.

Meanwhile, Meretz leaders and teachers from Hebrew University were denied access to Alqasem.

Meretz MKs Tamar Zandberg, Issawi Farig and Musi Raz were told they could not get in to see her at the airport detention facility, according to The Jerusalem Post; and Haaretz reported that the Interior Ministry denied the request of a delegation of lecturers from the HU to visit her there.

Her detention reportedly will continue until a court hears her appeal, probably within the next few days.