Israeli Supreme Court Rules for Palestinian/American Student

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Israeli Supreme Court Rules for Palestinian/American Student

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman)

The usual rubber-stamp High Court defied expectations, ruling against the Netanyahu regime, upholding Lara Alqasem’s appeal to study at Hebrew University.

Israel granted her visa permission to pursue graduate work in Jerusalem. On arrival at Ben Gurion airport October 2, she was detained under deplorable conditions, and ordered deported for alleged past membership in a student organization supporting BDS.

Hundreds of academics, Jewish professionals and Hebrew University rallied to her defense, criticizing how Netanyahu regime officials mistreated her on arrival in Israel.

Her lower court appeals against deportation were rejected. Israeli strategic affairs minister Gilad Erdan said if she renounces her past activities and publicly calls BDS activism illegitimate, her case would be reconsidered.

Trump’s State Department declined to support her legitimate rights. His regime one-sided supports Israel, ignoring its most egregious offenses, mostly against defenseless Palestinians.

Deputy State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said  “Israel is a sovereign nation that can determine who enters” – no matter how unacceptable its actions.

On Thursday, Israel’s Supreme Court ordered the interior ministry to allow Alqasem entry to pursue her graduate studies.

She’s a former University of Florida Students for Justice in Palestine president. Her lawyers argued that she’s had no involvement in organizations supporting BDS for over a year.

Israeli law against BDS advocacy bans entry into the country for foreign nationals who “knowingly…call for boycotting Israel.”

It pertains to current, not past, activities. “This is a fundamental divergence from the law, which is written in present tense,” attorney Yotam Ben-Hillel argued, adding:

The law is “wrong and harms a lot of basic rights. We challenged how (authorities) interpreted the law.”

Israeli historian Gershom Gorenberg said Alqasem’s case is “part of a trend by (the Netanyahu regime) to turn enforcement and the law into tools for policing opinions.”

In their ruling, High Court justices stressed that Alqasem was granted visa permission to pursue graduate work. Evidence presented by Israel didn’t justify her deportation, calling her visa cancellation unreasonable.

Justice Anat Baron said Alqasem’s actions “do not raise satisfactory cause to bar her entry to Israel,” adding:

“The inevitable impression is that invalidating the visa given to her was due to the political opinions she holds.” 

“If this is truly the case, then we are talking about an extreme and dangerous step, which could lead to the crumbling of the pillars upon which democracy in Israel stands.”

Like America and other Western states, democracy in Israel is pure fantasy. None whatever exists, notably for Israeli Arab citizens and Occupied Palestinians.

Alqasem has been detained for over two weeks at Ben Gurion airport, treated more like a prisoner than student.

Ahead of the High Court ruling, attorney Leora Bechor said her “hearing will address the question of whether (she’s) a BDS activist or simply an intellectually curious student who has found herself the target of politicized thought-policing.”

Following the ruling, Hebrew University said it looks forward to “welcoming our newest student, Lara Alqasem, as she begins her MA in Human Rights & Transitional Justice at our law school next week.”

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Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.