April 19, 2019

The High Court Should Not Have Let Alqasem Into Israel

“It’s hard to know which was more disheartening: the shocking but not surprising decision by the Israeli Supreme Court to reverse the decision of the government and two lower courts to deport Lara Alqasem, a leader of Students for Justice in Palestine, a rabidly anti-Semitic American BDS organization, or the full-throated support of Hebrew University, where Alqasem is hoping to study, to allow her to stay in Israel.

The Court’s decision was an all-too-common instance of its inner oligarchic nature. Showing its usual contempt for the elected government and the legislation it enacted, the Court decided that it knows better, being able to divine the thoughts and feelings of a woman who had worked for years for SJP, rising through the ranks to become president of its branch at the University of Florida.

Rather than focus on the lengthy and sophisticated nature of her tenure at SJP, the Court decided that it was notable that she ceased her active BDS efforts a year ago, and had even studied the Holocaust. Did the Court ask her if she no longer believed in BDS? Given her resume filled with hateful demonization of Israel, would it not have been appropriate to ask for some kind of affirmative renunciation to allay fears of resurgent BDS activity once she was here? After all, Mahmoud Abbas also studied the Holocaust.”

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