Israel’s Supreme Court freezes deportation order of American graduate student


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Supreme Court has frozen the deportation order of an American graduate student who has been refused entry to the country over her alleged activity on behalf of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.

Attorneys for Lara Alqasem have appealed to Israel’s Supreme Court to allow her to enter Israel and begin her studies at Hebrew University. The Supreme Court will consider whether it will hear the appeal on Wednesday.

The request for a hearing by the Supreme Court comes after the Tel Aviv District Court on Friday rejected her appeal to be allowed to enter Israel, upholding a lower court ruling from last week.

The Tel Aviv court had postponed her deportation until Sunday. It has now been postponed until the Supreme Court makes a decision on hearing her case.

Hebrew University is expected to join the appeal if the Supreme Court accepts the case, Haaretz reported.

Israel barred Alqasem, a University of Florida graduate, on Oct. 2 due to her alleged support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel. A 2017 law allows Israel to prohibit entry to BDS supporters. Alqasem is being held at Ben Gurion Airport. She was granted a scholarship for the graduate program at Hebrew University and a student visa from Israel’s consulate in Miami.

Israeli authorities say that Alqasem’s college activism shows that she supports a boycott of Israel, and that the country has the right to deny her entry. A lower court had ruled against Alqasem last week, upholding the state’s right to bar Alqasem’s entry due to evidence of her supporting BDS. The district court confirmed that ruling Friday.

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