'For some, Lara Alqasem may be taking a noble stance by insisting that she ought to be allowed to study at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, despite the Israeli government’s effort to deport her.
It is intuitive and natural to stand by any Palestinian, especially when they are in Israeli detention, and to that extent she deserves solidarity.
But her actions merit a closer look from the perspective of their impact on efforts led by Palestinians to hold Israel accountable for catastrophic and ongoing violations of their rights.
From that point of view, Alqasem’s decision to enroll at Hebrew University directly violates and undermines the Palestinian campaign to boycott Israeli institutions complicit in Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid, especially since her case has become an international political issue.
The 22-year-old US citizen with Palestinian grandparents landed at Ben Gurion airport on 2 October and was denied entry despite having a student visa for a graduate program issued by the Israeli consulate in Miami.
The pretext for denying her entry is her previous membership in the University of Florida chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, which supports the BDS – boycott, divestment and sanctions – movement for Palestinian rights.
This is part of an ongoing crackdown, led by Israel’s strategic affairs minister Gilad Erdan, against supporters of Palestinian rights.
“Lara served as president of a chapter of one of the most extreme and hate-filled anti-Israel BDS groups in the US,” Erdan said. “Israel will not allow entry to those who work to harm the country, whatever their excuse.”
The Israeli government has based its case against Alqasem on claims made by the anti-Palestinian website Canary Mission.'
Read more: Is Lara Alqasem undermining Palestinian boycott campaign?
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