Hearing set for American student detained by Israel

US student detained in Israel for alleged boycott support

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The State Department said that the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem was offering consular assistance to 22-year-old Lara Alqasem, who has chosen to challenge her ban into Israel and has been held for a week.

Alqasem's case has gripped both the Israeli and global media since she landed in Ben Gurion Airport, where she was promptly taken in for interrogation by the Israeli authorities.

She was also a president of the University of Florida chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine.

But she was barred from entering the country and ordered deported, based on suspicions that she is an activist in the boycott movement.

"The text doesn't comply with what I said", Erdan said.

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.

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

Students for Justice in Palestine cause disruption at pro-Israel event at UCLA.

But he described the university community as being very supportive of Israel and said BDS activity on campus is "rather small". Despite having been issued a student visa to study at Hebrew University, border authorities ordered her deported for her alleged past membership in a student organization that advocates the boycott of Israel.

Israel insists that Alqasem headed "one of the most extreme and hate-filled BDS groups in the United States", according to Erdan.

Attorney Pepi Yakirevich, representing the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, joined Alqasem's legal team in supporting the appeal against the deportation; Yakirevich tried to convince the court that the case is damaging to Israel's image.

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. It said that a better goal would be for foreign students to return to their homes after time in Israel and help fight against the boycott movement.

BDS supporters say that in urging businesses, artists and universities to sever ties with Israel, they are using nonviolent means to resist unjust policies toward Palestinians.

A 22-year-old American graduate student has appealed against her detention at Israel's worldwide airport over her alleged support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Israel says the movement is anti-Semitic and masks its motives to delegitimize or destroy the Jewish state.

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said Tuesday that while "we value freedom of expression, also in cases where people don't agree with local policies or even USA policies - ultimately, it is up to the government of Israel to decide who it wants to let into the country". Last year Israel passed an amendment to its Entry Law, barring entry into the country for non-residents who publicly call for or support a boycott of Israel or its settlements in the West Bank. She "simply wants to study in Israel" and does not wish to promote any sort of boycott, the student's lawyer Yotam Ben-Hillel told the Washington Post.

Alqasem's family said Israel was exaggerating her involvement in SJP, saying she only belonged to the campus group for a semester. The minister later hinted that the government might consider letting Alqasem into Israel if she declares the support for BDS "illegitimate" and "regrets what she did on this matter". "To her, this isn't a contradiction".

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