US Student Held in Israel for BDS Support

An American student has become the latest victim of Israel’s law targeting supporters of the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Lara Alqasem, 22, has been held since last Tuesday at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport.

Lara Alqasem, a 22-year-old U.S. citizen with Palestinian grandparents, landed at Ben-Gurion Airport last Tuesday with a valid student visa. But she was barred from entering the country and ordered deported, based on suspicions she is a boycott supporter.

Her crime, according to the Strategic Affairs Ministry, is that while studying for her bachelor’s degree in Florida, she was president of an organization that supported the BDS campaign against Israel.

An Israeli court has ordered that she remain in custody while she appeals.

As of Sunday afternoon, supporters of the student have raised nearly $6,500 for her legal fund on a GoFundMe page. On Monday, over 100 academics and Jewish professionals signed a petition demanding that Israeli authorities release the Palestinian-American student.

Alqasem is the latest individual to fall foul of the Israeli law targeting supporters of BDS. In May, US civil rights activists were deported by the Israeli authorities following their detention at Ben Gurion Airport. The law has been slammed by human rights groups, which have denounced the measure as blatantly anti-democratic.

Source: Palestine Chronicle