US student detained in Israel over Palestinian support

The 22-year-old student, who is of Palestinian decent, was due to start a graduate degree in Israel. In 2017, Israel made a law banning entry to foreigners who support boycotting Israel.

An Israeli court was due Thursday to hear the case of a detained US student who was barred from entering the country for her alleged support of a Palestinian-led boycott campaign against the Jewish state.

Lara Alqasem, 22, who is of Palestinian descent, has been in a detention center for more than a week pending appeal.

Israel enacted a law last year banning any foreigner who "knowingly issues a public call for boycotting Israel."

Read more: Israel and BDS: A controversial boycott divides the West

Alqasem attempted to enter Israel last week on a student visa to start a graduate degree at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, but was prevented from entering over her past affiliation with the group Students for Justice in Palestine, which supports boycotts of Israel.

While she is free to return to the United States, she has chosen to remain in the detention center at Ben Gurion Airport because she wants to start her graduate program on time, according to her lawyer Yotam Ben-Hillel.

Israel boycott: Who joins and who performs?

Roger Waters, Pink Floyd co-founder

Waters supports the British branch of the "Artists for Palestine" organization and thus the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights and statehood. BDS is asking musicians to cancel concerts in Israel as part of a broader boycott aimed at putting pressure on the Israeli government to end illegal settlements, for example.

Israel boycott: Who joins and who performs?

Kate Tempest, rapper and Artist for Palestine

She supports Artists for Palestine and makes it clear that she is appalled by the actions of the Israeli government against the Palestinians. "After much thought, I joined the cultural boycott as an act of protest," she said. She has rejected accusations of being anti-Semitic and says she is of Jewish decent. As a result of pressure from both sides. she canceled an October concert in Berlin.

Israel boycott: Who joins and who performs?

Elvis Costello: a matter of 'conscience'

For years, well-known bands and musicians have canceled concerts in Israel. They include Carlos Santana, the Pixies and Elvis Costello, who in 2010 explained the reason for his boycott. Writing on his website, he said it's "a matter of instinct and conscience" to protest "conditions that visit intimidation, humiliation or much worse on Palestinian civilians in the name of national security."

Israel boycott: Who joins and who performs?

Depeche Mode stay silent

During their Delta Machine Tour of 2013-14, the English new wave band shared every day of their tour extensively online. But they did not say a word about the gig in Tel Aviv. Were Depeche Mode ashamed about the concert? In mid 2006, the band had canceled a show in Israel for political reasons due to the ongoing Lebanon war.

Israel boycott: Who joins and who performs?

Johnny Rotten: no problems with Israeli

After calling for anarchy in the UK with the Sex Pistols, he uses real name Johnny Lyden with band PiL these days, and was happy to play a concert in Tel Aviv in 2010 after Elvis Costello had announced his Israel boycott. His reasoning: "Until I see an Arab country, a Muslim country, with a democracy, I won't understand how anyone can have a problem with how [the Palestinians] are treated."

Israel boycott: Who joins and who performs?

Elton John takes to the stage

Elton John has often performed in Israel but has faced increasing pressure from the BDS movement since it was founded in 2005. The petitioning hasn't worked, with the Rocket Man playing sold-out Tel Aviv shows in 2016 and 2010, when he greeted fans with the words: "Shalom! We're spreading peace and love on this stage and we're happy to be here."

Israel boycott: Who joins and who performs?

An 'extremely upsetting experience' for Radiohead

Radiohead were also under massive pressure in July 2017 before their gig in Israel. But singer Thom Yorke spoke of his decision to reject a petition signed by Desmond Tutu, Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth and others asking Radiohead not to play: "There's an awful lot of people who don't agree with the BDS movement, including us. I don't agree with the cultural ban at all," he told Rolling Stone.

Israel boycott: Who joins and who performs?

Michael Stipe encourages dialogue

The R.E.M. singer spoke out publicly during the intensifying debate around the Radiohead's looming appearance in Israel — its first since 2000. "I stand with Radiohead and their decision to perform. Let’s hope a dialogue continues, helping to bring the occupation to an end and lead to a peaceful solution." R.E.M. and Radiohead toured Israel together in 1995.

Israel boycott: Who joins and who performs?

Nick Cave: stands against 'censorship'

The Facebook page "Nick Cave, Hold On to Yourself - Don't Play Apartheid" was set up as part of the Artists for Palestine campaign to encourage Cave to cancel his November 2017 concert in Tel Aviv. But he still played, saying: "[It] became very important to make a stand against those people who are trying to shut down musicians, to bully musicians, to censor musicians, and to silence musicians."

Israel boycott: Who joins and who performs?

'Bryan, tell the world again that you do not support apartheid'

BDS is currently petitioning musician Bryan Adams to "unplug from Israeli apartheid" and cancel scheduled December concerts in Israel. Adams once said that the war in Gaza was a war against humanity. In addition, he canceled his Mississippi tour in 2016 in protest against the homophobic laws there. But Adams hasn't listened to BDS and instead will perform an additional concert in Jaffa.

Israel boycott: Who joins and who performs?

Boney M in Palestine

Concerts in Israel can go on without indignation and protest. In 2010, the German disco pop group Boney M performed in the Palestinian West Bank city of Ramallah, where many Israelis were in the audience. However, they were requested not to sing their biggest hit "Rivers of Babylon," as one line is the biblical yearning for the Land of Zion. The musicians accepted the censorship without complaint.

Israel boycott: Who joins and who performs?

Lorde scraps tour finale in Tel Aviv

The Croatian-New Zealand performer Lorde originally planned to end her "Melodrama" 2018 tour in Tel Aviv, but reversed this decision on the urging of her fans. In a statement, she said visiting Tel Aviv has long been a dream of hers, and that she hoped one day "we can all dance."

An Israeli court ordered that Alqasem remain in custody while she appeals. The weeklong detention is the longest anyone has been held in a boycott-related case.

Related Subjects

The court is expected to rule on the validity of the government's decision to bar her within the next few days.

During her testimony to the appeals court, Alqasem said she no longer supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), a global campaign to boycott and sanction Israel.

According to BDS, it pursues an economic and cultural boycott of what it describes as Israel's "entire regime of oppression" in the name of Palestinian human rights

City of strife: Jerusalem's complex history

Jerusalem, the city of David

According to the Old Testament, David, king of the two partial kingdoms of Judah and Israel, won Jerusalem from the Jebusites around 1000 BC. He moved his seat of government to Jerusalem, making it the capital and religious center of his kingdom. The Bible says David's son Solomon built the first temple for Yahweh, the God of Israel. Jerusalem became the center of Judaism.

City of strife: Jerusalem's complex history

Under Persian rule

The Neo-Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II (3rd from the left) conquered Jerusalem in 597 and again in 586 BC, as the Bible says. He took King Jehoiakim (5th from the right) and the Jewish upper class into captivity, sent them to Babylon and destroyed the temple. After Persian king Cyrus the Great seized Babylon, he allowed the exiled Jews to return home to Jerusalem and to rebuild their temple.

City of strife: Jerusalem's complex history

Under Roman and Byzantine rule

The Roman Empire ruled Jerusalem from the year 63 AD. Resistance movements rapidly formed among the population, so that in 66 AD, the First Jewish–Roman War broke out. The war ended 4 years later, with a Roman victory and another destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. The Romans and Byzantines ruled Palestine for approximately 600 years.

City of strife: Jerusalem's complex history

Conquest by the Arabs

Over the course of the Islamic conquest of Greater Syria, Muslim armies also reached Palestine. By order of the Caliph Umar (in the picture), Jerusalem was besieged and captured in the year 637 AD. In the following era of Muslim rule, various, mutually hostile and religiously divided rulers presided over the city. Jerusalem was often besieged and changed hands several times.

City of strife: Jerusalem's complex history

The Crusades

From 1070 AD onward, the Muslim Seljuk rulers increasingly threatened the Christian world. Pope Urban II called for the First Crusade, which took Jerusalem in 1099 AD. Over a period of 200 years a total of nine crusades set out to conquer the city as it changed hands between Muslim and Christian rule. In 1244 AD the crusaders finally lost control of the city and it once again became Muslim.

City of strife: Jerusalem's complex history

The Ottomans and the British

After the conquest of Egypt and Arabia by the Ottomans, Jerusalem became the seat of an Ottoman administrative district in 1535 AD. In its first decades of Ottoman rule, the city saw a clear revival. With a British victory over Ottoman troops in 1917 AD, Palestine fell under British rule. Jerusalem went to the British without a fight.

City of strife: Jerusalem's complex history

The divided city

After World War II, the British gave up their Palestinian Mandate. The UN voted for a division of the country in order to create a home for the survivors of the Holocaust. Some Arab states then went to war against Israel and conquered part of Jerusalem. Until 1967, the city was divided into an Israeli west and a Jordanian east.

City of strife: Jerusalem's complex history

East Jerusalem goes back to Israel

In 1967, Israel waged the Six-Day War against Egypt, Jordan and Syria. Israel took control of the Sinai, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem. Israeli paratroopers gained access to the Old City and stood at the Wailing Wall for the first time since 1949. East Jerusalem is not officially annexed, but rather integrated into the administration.

City of strife: Jerusalem's complex history

Muslim pilgrimage to Israel

Israel has not denied Muslims access to its holy places. The Temple Mount is under an autonomous Muslim administration; Muslims can enter, visit the Dome of the Rock and the adjacent Al-Aqsa mosque and pray there.

City of strife: Jerusalem's complex history

Unresolved status

Jerusalem remains to this day an obstacle to peace between Israel and Palestine. In 1980, Israel declared the whole city its "eternal and indivisible capital." After Jordan gave up its claim to the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1988, the state of Palestine was proclaimed. Palestine also declares, in theory, Jerusalem as its capital.

law/kms (AP, dpa)