(October 16, 2018 / JNS) The reactions of Jewish and Israel-related groups are mixed over Israel denying entry earlier this month to 22-year-old American BDS activist Lara Alqasem, whose case will be heard by Israel’s Supreme Court on Wednesday after the Tel Aviv District Court rejected her appeal on Friday.
“Since Israel is under constant assault and demonization at the U.N. by political leaders worldwide, and by the terrorist Palestinian Authority and other Arab/Muslim nations whose goal is to do grievous injury to and even destroy Israel, it is imperative that Israel bar political enemy combatants who may harm and organize against Israel from within,” Zionist Organization of America President Mort Klein told JNS.
“This is especially necessary since BDS’ founding leaders and most of its adherents call for Israel’s destruction, praise Arab terrorists, promote disrupting pro-Israel speakers and events, and falsely and maliciously claim ‘apartheid’ Israel continuously murders innocent Arabs and their babies,” added Klein.
“The National Council of Young Israel is hopeful that the Israeli Supreme Court will uphold the government’s decision to expel Lara Alqasem in accordance with the 2017 Israeli law that allows the government to bar entry to foreign activists who support a boycott of Israel,” said the organization’s president, Farley Weiss. “Every country has the ability to regulate who can enter its borders, and Israel should be no different in that regard.”
Weiss rejected that the situation is a violation of freedom of expression.
“The case involving Lara Alqasem is not about democracy or free speech; rather, it is about preventing incitement,” he said. “BDS is a movement whose primary purpose is to unjustly harass and harangue Israel, and its supporters and their anti-Semitic agenda should not have license to travel freely to the nation that they have assiduously attempted to turn into their own personal punching bag.
“By vilifying Israel, you forfeit your right to gain automatic entry into the country that is the subject of your denigration.”
However, groups such as J Street believe that Israel should admit Alqasem, who has planned to do graduate work at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
“[She] poses no threat to Israel. But that’s not to say no damage is being done,” said J Street in a statement. “The government’s treatment of Lara [Alqasem] and other critics of the occupation is doing serious harm to Israel’s reputation. It’s alienating Israel’s friends and providing ammunition to its enemies.”