update deskBoycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS)

US supports Israeli detention of pro-BDS activist

“As a general principle, we value freedom of expression even in cases where we don’t agree with the political views expressed and this is such a case,” said State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino.

Lara Alqasem, 22, was denied entry to Israel for graduate work on Oct. 2, 2018, because of her active BDS involvement while a student at the University of Florida. Credit: Screenshot.
Lara Alqasem, 22, was denied entry to Israel for graduate work on Oct. 2, 2018, because of her active BDS involvement while a student at the University of Florida. Credit: Screenshot.

The United States expressed its support on Wednesday for Israel denying a University of Florida graduate from entering Israel due to her pro-BDS activism.

A State Department spokesperson told AFP that Israel is free to determine who enters the country.

“As a general principle, we value freedom of expression even in cases where we don’t agree with the political views expressed and this is such a case,” State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino told reporters.

Lara Alqasem was denied entry into Israel on Oct. 2 to study for work on a master’s degree at Hebrew University in Jerusalem because of her anti-Israel advocacy as president of the University of Florida’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter. She has since been detained at Ben-Gurion International Airport as her case is ongoing.

The State Department said the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem has been offering consular services to Alqasem.

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