MENUMENU

Over 100 academics, Jewish leaders demand Israel release U.S. student


Minister: If US student held at airport renounces BDS views, we might let her in

Lara Alqasem, US student denied entry into Israel

Edo Konrad writes in +972, “Over 100 academics and Jewish professionals signed a petition demanding that Israeli authorities release a Palestinian-American student they have been detaining for nearly a week and let her enter the country to complete a Master’s degree the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Lara Alqasem, who had already been given a student visa and was accepted by Hebrew University, was detained upon arriving at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport last Tuesday. She was ordered deported for her alleged past membership in a student organization that advocates the boycott of Israel. ”

““Denying entry to foreign students based on political beliefs or ethnic heritage is an attack on academic freedom,” 58 mostly American professors and academics wrote in their petition, expressing dismay at the decision to deport Alqasem and calling on Israeli authorities to reverse their decision. The group of Jewish professionals, representing a broad range of progressive Jewish American institutions, rejected racial profiling and wrote that they “share the concern expressed by Hebrew University rector, Prof. Barak Medina, who wrote in a statement to Alqasem’s lawyer that ‘denying entry to foreign students who have been accepted to such programs, especially when it happens at the airport after they already received a student visa, severely harms the university’s relationships with other universities around the world and causes irreversible damage to international ties that the university cultivates”…

“Earlier in the week, over 500 academics at the Hebrew University signed yet a third petition, also calling on authorities to let Alqasem into the country, and asserting that their university “is a place for exchanging ideas, as well as gaining and creating knowledge. It is not a place that shies from differences and promotes multiple voices” (more…)

Illustrative: Signs calling for the boycott of Israel at an anti-Israel protest in San Francisco

Stuart Winner and Times of Israel staff report, “Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) on Tuesday said a US student of Palestinian descent, who has been held at Ben Gurion Airport for a week and faces deportation for allegedly supporting an Israel boycott, can leave Israel whenever she wants. Erdan, whose ministry is responsible for countering the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement against Israel, known as BDS, also said that if Lara Alqasem were to renounce her past activities and publicly declare that boycott efforts are not legitimate, he would reconsider her case.”…

“The Population Immigration and Border Authority has said the decision to stop Alqasem at the airport was due to her “boycott activity,” while Strategic Affairs Ministry officials said she was a member of the National Students for Justice in Palestine, a campus group that calls for boycotting Israel over its policies toward the Palestinians…’They make a show as if Israel is imprisoning a student,’ Erdan, who is also public security minister, told Army Radio on Tuesday morning. ‘She can go home to her country whenever she wants. This student stood at the head of a branch of an extreme organization, and it is not reasonable that she can come here and enjoy Israel’s academic benefits while she is trying to harm Israeli citizens.’” (more…)

 

 

 

© Copyright JFJFP 2017