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Israel Supreme Court overturns entry ban on US student

Alqasem lodged an appeal at Israel's highest court [AFP]

Date of publication: 18 October, 2018

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Israel's Supreme Court has ruled that an American student will be allowed to enter the country, despite her past support for the BDS movement.
Israel's leading judges overturned an entry ban on an American student on Thursday, after courts ruled she would be barred from the country due to her past support for a pro-Palestine boycott movement.

Lara Alqasem is due to take part in a master's degree programme at Jerusalem's Hebrew University, but was barred from entering Israel earlier this month.

Two previous attempts by Alqasem to have the ban overturned were rejected by judges, before she went to Israel's highest court this for a final appeal before her deportation.

A day later and the three-judge panel upheld Alqasem's appeal against the ban, clearing the way for the 22-year-old to take her part in her studies.

Alqasem was president of a chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine - which supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel - when she studied a degree at the University of Florida.

Alqasem said she was no longer part of BDS, which should exclude her from a new law in Israel that bars any member of the BDS movement from entering the country.

Alqasem's lawyer told the Supreme Court that Israel should apply common sense when applying the law against BDS supporters.

"Why would she want to enter Israel to call for a boycott?" Yotam Ben Hillel asked. 

"She committed to not do so, and is aware" she would be deported if she did campaign, the lawyer added.

Israeli liberals have supported Alqasem's case and arguing that by allowing her to study in Jerusalem this would undermine the BDS cause.

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