Quantcast
Connect with us

US student challenges Israeli entry ban in court

Published

on

A US student banned from entering Israel for allegedly having supported a pro-Palestinian boycott of the country appeared in court on Thursday to challenge the decision.

It is the latest in a series of cases drawing criticism of an Israeli law barring boycott supporters that opponents say violates freedom of expression.

Israeli authorities have also come under criticism in recent months over what some have seen as the politically motivated questioning of certain foreigners seeking to enter the country.

Lara Alqasem, 22, arrived at Israel’s Ben-Gurion airport on October 2 to study for a master’s degree at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, but was not allowed to enter.

She has been held at an immigration facility, choosing to challenge the entry ban rather than fly back to the United States.

A hearing was being held on her case in Tel Aviv district court on Thursday.

ADVERTISEMENT

In March 2017, Israel’s parliament passed a law banning the entry of supporters of the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, inspired by measures against South Africa before the fall of apartheid.

Alqasem, reportedly of Palestinian descent, is said to have been president of a chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine while an undergraduate student at the University of Florida.

The group has supported boycott campaigns against Israel.

– US weighs in –

ADVERTISEMENT

Alqasem has reportedly said she has since distanced herself from the movement, and supporters point to her willingness to enter Israel to study as proof.

Israeli media has quoted her mother, Karen Alqasem, as saying that she had enrolled for a one-year master’s course in human rights at Hebrew University, for which she had an Israeli visa.

The university has called on the authorities to allow her in to study, while professors from the University of Florida have also supported her.

A professor of Jewish language and culture who taught Alqasem in Florida wrote in a letter to the editor to Israeli newspaper Haaretz that she was “an outstanding student, curious, with an open mind”.

ADVERTISEMENT

Dror Abend-David added that she was “someone who very much wanted to study international relations in Israel to develop her own opinion on the conflict.”

The United States said Wednesday it supports freedom of expression and that its embassy in Jerusalem was offering Alqasem consular assistance.

“As a general principle, we value freedom of expression even in cases where we don’t agree with the political views expressed and this is such a case,” State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino told reporters.

“Our strong opposition to the boycotts and sanctions of the state of Israel is well-known,” he said.

ADVERTISEMENT

But he added: “Israel is a sovereign nation that can determine who enters.”

Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan has said that he would consider allowing Alqasem to take up her university place if she publicly denounces BDS.

© 2018 AFP

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Facebook

Sailing among the stars: Here’s how photons could revolutionize space flight

Published

on

A few days from now, a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will lift off from Florida, carrying a satellite the size of a loaf of bread with nothing to power it but a huge polyester "solar sail."

It's been the stuff of scientists' dreams for decades but has only very recently become a reality.

The idea might sounds crazy: propelling a craft through the vacuum of space with no engine, no fuel, and no solar panels, but instead harnessing the momentum of packets of light energy known as photons -- in this case from our Sun.

The spacecraft to be launched on Monday, called LightSail 2, was developed by the Planetary Society, a US organization that promotes space exploration which was co-founded by the legendary astronomer Carl Sagan in 1980.

Continue Reading

Facebook

Russians to prod Putin on poverty and his personal life as his ratings tank

Published

on

Russians are set to ask President Vladimir Putin about growing poverty at home and tensions abroad during an annual televised phone-in Thursday, which comes following a fall in his approval ratings.

The leader is also likely to face a degree of grilling on his personal life, according to questions submitted by the public online ahead of the live show.

Set to be held for the 17th time since Putin came to power in 1999, the show starts at 0900 GMT and usually lasts several hours.

Ahead of the carefully choreographed show, more than one million questions had been submitted, organisers told Russian news agencies.

Continue Reading
 

Facebook

Trump could turn on Hope Hicks just like Michael Cohen: Trump family biographer warns

Published

on

Trump family biographer Emily Jane Fox explained that she didn't think that the president would turn on long-time aide Hope Hicks, but then again, it was the same thought about Michael Cohen as well.

In a panel discussion about Hicks' testimony during MSNBC's Brian Williams' Wednesday show, Fox recalled that Micahel Cohen once said that he would take a bullet for the president. Once it appeared that Trump would throw him under the bus, Cohen began looking for a way out.

The same scenario seems to be happening with Hicks now.

"She works at new Fox, which is a company run by a Murdoch son," Fox said. "It's a company that's brand new. She's the head of communications there. And there are shareholders who would take issue with the fact that a senior member of this company is being put in this situation and being thrust on the world stage."

Continue Reading
 
 

Copyright © 2019 Raw Story Media, Inc. PO Box 21050, Washington, D.C. 20009 | Masthead | Privacy Policy | For corrections or concerns, please email [email protected]

I need your help.

Investigating Trump's henchmen is a full time job, and I'm trying to bring in new team members to do more exclusive reports. We have more stories coming you'll love. Join me and help restore the power of hard-hitting progressive journalism.

TAKE A LOOK
close-link

Investigating Trump is a full-time job, and I want to add new team members to do more exclusive reports. We have stories coming you'll love. Join me and go ad-free, while restoring the power of hard-hitting progressive journalism.

TAKE A LOOK
close-link