Israeli Supreme Court rules in favor of Floridian Lara Alqasem

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A graduate student from Florida won her appeal in Israel’s Supreme Court Thursday; that means Lara Alqasem is no longer forbidden from entering Israel and can enroll in Hebrew University.

Alqasem had been detained at the airport for two weeks while she challenged her deportation order. She was stopped because as an undergraduate at the University of Florida she was associated with a group that supports a boycott of Israel.

For reaction, WMNF News spoke with Hassan Shibly, the executive director of CAIR-Florida, the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“Look, I think this whole incident has been a wake-up call for the hypocrisy in how Israel treats Palestinian-Americans and how it treats American citizens. The fact of the matter is the Israelis tried to stop this Florida student from studying in Israel even though she got accepted at the university there. She had a valid visa to study there.

“And the reason they wanted to stop her from studying is because they believe that she had participated in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement [BDS], which basically calls for people all over the world to boycott and divest from companies — especially those that do business in the Occupied Territories that are illegally occupied by the Israeli government — until Palestinians receive equal rights as the Israelis.

“This is a very similar movement to the movement that was presented against South Africa when they were engaging in Apartheid. And as Jimmy Carter — former U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s called, he said what’s happening in Israel in terms of the unequal treatment of Palestinians is no different than the Apartheid that was enacted in South Africa.”

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