Israel must lift its bar on US student Lara Alqasem

Lara Alqasem
‘We are dismayed at the decision of Israel’s Ministry of Interior to deny entry to American citizen Lara Alqasem.’
Photograph: AP

As academics from multiple disciplines at universities across the United States and across the globe, we are dismayed at the decision of Israel’s Ministry of Interior to deny entry to American citizen Lara Alqasem (US student barred from Israel over alleged BDS to fight case in court,, 10 October).

Alqasem was accepted and planned to matriculate into a master’s programme in transitional justice at Hebrew University. Despite her having received a student visa from the Israeli consulate in Miami, Alqasem was denied entry at the airport on 2 October, where, according to reliable media sources, she was questioned about her political activities (unverified information that was obtained by the notorious rightwing website Canary Mission) and her ethnic heritage. (Alqasem’s grandparents are Palestinian.)

Denying entry to foreign students based on political beliefs or ethnic heritage is an attack on academic freedom. As professors who are committed to academic freedom, and as humans who reject all forms of racial profiling, we are calling on the Israeli authorities to permit Lara Alqasem to enter Israel and pursue her studies.

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