Supremes: BDS Leader Stays; Smotrich: We're Schmatahs Asking to Be Stepped On

B’Tselem Executive Director Hagai El-Ad left next to Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour at a session of the UN Security Council

A USA student who has been detained at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport since the start of October will be allowed into enter the country, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled on Thursday, according to local and worldwide media.

Alqasem landed at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport on Oct 2, but despite having a visa she was not allowed to clear immigration due to a 2017 law barring supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Alqasem's lawyers praised the Supreme Court's verdict, saying, "The court's decision is a victory for freedom of expression, academic freedom and a victory for the rule of law".

It was Erdan's ministry that flagged Alqasem's previous position as president of Students for Justice in Palestine, a US campus group that advocates a boycott, and highlighted her presence at a protest of an Israeli hummus brand.

In accepting her appeal, the Supreme Court overturned a ruling by a lower court that upheld the ban on her entry under a 2017 law forbidding BDS activists from entering Israel.

American Lara Alqasem was denied entry to Israel because of her suspected support for a boycott campaign.

"Why would she want to enter Israel to call for a boycott?"

"In this case, denying the applicant's entry does not advance the objective of the law, and it is argued, for example, by the Hebrew University that it harms Israeli academia", it said, going on to criticise the immigration authorities.

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Alqasem's attorneys argued that her activities in Students for Justice in Palestine did not meet the legal test for the boycott law and that, in her role as president, she did not actively promote a boycott.

Her lawyers called the government's attack on Alqasem "thought-policing" and said the state failed to present credible evidence against her.

Israeli liberals have supported Alqasem's case and arguing that by allowing her to study in Jerusalem this would undermine the BDS cause.

The Israeli Strategic Affairs Ministry relies on tips from informants and social media snooping to identify BDS activists.

"I deeply regret the Supreme Court's decision today, which indicates a basic lack of understanding of the nature and methods of the BDS campaign". She was accepted to a master's degree program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and received a year-long student visa from the Israeli Consulate in Florida.

Israel's Interior Minister Aryeh Deri lamented the court's decision on Twitter, calling it a national embarrassment. Erdan has also claimed that Alqasem is not being detained because she is free to return to the United States.

"The fight against boycotts is fitting and vital, as are the actions taken by the State of Israel on the matter".

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