There are those on the Israeli left purporting to stand up for the rights of anti-Israel activist Lara Alqasem, who have the ability to hijack Israel’s law-enforcement and justice system, and for a limited time, hold the state hostage to their aggressiveness. Yesterday, it was Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian teenager who was filmed kicking, slapping and goading Israeli soldiers in Samaria. Now, it’s Lara Alqasem, a blatant supporter of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, who quite literally ticks all the boxes of an anti-Israel activist.
What kind of message does this combined effort on her behalf send? That nothing is legal in Israel unless it is sanctioned by Haaretz and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. So what if there is a law banning boycott activists from entering Israel? If the Haaretz editorial board is against it, the law cannot be enforced.
All of the legal commentary and propaganda surrounding Alqasem is further proof she is a political figure who is being used to vilify Israel. It may be that despite the court’s Friday ruling in favor of the state’s decision to bar her entry that the saga is not yet over. Nothing is a done deal in Israel until it has reached the High Court of Justice.
The assertion by jurists and members of the media that this is a matter of freedom of expression, academic freedom and Israel’s existence as a free country is deceptive. Every week, members of the Israeli academia and those employed in the high-tech sector must put themselves through the trouble of contending with American bureaucracy and still have their U.S. visa applications rejected, possibly because U.S. intelligence agencies believe they will steal information or engage in espionage. There is no reason then for the Jewish state to allow in of its own accord a woman specializing in political warfare aimed at the delegitimization of Israel.
The call to boycott Israel does not exist in a vacuum. The BDS movement is the strongest, most effective engine for anti-Semitic hatred in the Western world. It is an inseparable part of the anti-Semitic ideology of the new British Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn, and one of the strongest engines fueling the increasing anti-Israel sentiment in the American Democratic Party.
What is even more interesting is that Alqasem’s supporters in Israel are not just protecting her “rights,” but enthusiastically attempting to turn her into an ideological and political heroine.
Of course, the question then is why would a young BDS activist want to get her law degree at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem of all places? One can speculate that if she becomes a full-fledged student, she will become a recruiter for her movement, which will, in turn, be integrated into the popular terrorist revolution. It may also be that there is a demand for anti-Israel activists who have specialized in Israeli law.
Of course, it is not the job of Hebrew University’s law school to check if this is, in fact, the case. The university’s efforts to help one of its students gain entry is understandable. But it seems her acceptance to the school, combined with the high-profile personalities coming to her defense, was her chosen method for ensuring that she would be able to enter the country and continue her activity.
One issue that is of concern is the conduct of the authorities on the matter. If Alqasem was denied entry in accordance with the law, then the state should be able to immediately deport her.
Given the legal propaganda operation Alqasem’s friends in Israel have arranged for her, one must not be deterred by the supposedly negative publicity her deportation could bring. The potential damage her activities in Israel could cause far greater harm. In fact, Alqasem is already acting as a propagandist, opting to remain in the holding facility at Ben-Gurion International Airport rather than take the next flight home.
Amnon Lord, is an Israeli journalist with the daily newspaper Makor Rishon. His articles and essays about media, film and politics have been published in The Jerusalem Post, Mida, Azure, Nativ and Achshav.