United States backs 'freedom of expression' after Israel holds student
United States backs 'freedom of expression' after Israel holds student
Illustrative A Students for Justice in Palestine protest at Brooklyn College CUNY September 2. 2014
12 October, 2018, 17:33
She appealed her deportation order and has remained in detention since, the longest anyone has been held in such a case, according to the AP.
An American graduate student - who admits her previous support for a pro-Palestinian boycott campaign targeting Israel - appealed on Thursday the Jewish state's decision to bar her from the country due to her anti-Israel activism. The group is a branch of the BDS movement, whose name comes from its calls for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel.
BDS supporters say that in urging businesses, artists and universities to sever ties with Israel, they are using nonviolent means to resist unjust policies toward Palestinians. Her telephone privileges are also limited.
Israel was set to officially withdraw from the United Nations body on December 31st 2018, after being a member since 1949, however, in June, in response to efforts by newly appointed UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay, a French-Moroccan Jew, to combat the anti-Israeli bias within the organization, Shama Hacohen said: "Israel shouldn't ignore the new spirit that is blowing in its direction from UNESCO", adding that "together with the US, [Israel] should reevaluate the question of leaving or at least weigh the possibility of a certain delay so we send a positive signal to all involved".
Erdan repeated his offer to reconsider the decision against Alqasem if she apologizes and pledges not to engage in BDS activity.
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Ben-Hillel would not elaborate on what such a deal might entail.
Former professors have described her as a curious and open-minded student. The court has accepted the university's request to join her appeal.
A Hebrew University lawyer and two opposition lawmakers testified in her defense, saying the government's tough stance was wrong and hurting the country's image overseas.
On Wednesday, the Guardian published a letter from 462 academics and Jewish leaders, calling for Alqasem to be allowed to enter Israel.
"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 spokesman Robert Palladino told reporters.
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The largest Jewish movement in American has called for the release of the American student with Palestinian grandparents who has been detained at Israel's Ben-Gurion International Airport for the past week.
"Our strong opposition to the boycotts and sanctions of the state of Israel is well-known", he said.
There have been several high-profile cases involving the law barring boycott supporters as well as the questioning of foreigners seeking to enter.
It pursues equal rights for Palestinians by exerting pressure on the Israeli regime via economic and cultural boycotts. That case is still ongoing.
The letter argued that detaining someone who participated in a campaign over which brand of hummus is stocked by her university is a awful defense against BDS.
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In September, Azoulay extended an invitation to Prime Minister Netanyahu to participate in a conference organized by UNESCO aimed at combating anti-Semitism, to which he declined.
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