Israeli Minister Demands Detained US Student Renounce BDS, Apologize

State Dept: Detainee's fate 'up to Israel'

Still under detention in Israel after a failed attempt to visit, University of Florida student and US citizen Lara Alqasem’s tentative links to the BDS movement have made her a major target for Israel’s far-right government.

Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan suggested that Alqasem could be released, and that he might even “consider” allowing her to visit Israel, if by Wednesday morning she publicly renouncing BDS in general as illegitimate and apologizes for “what she did.”

Enrolled as a master’s student at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, what Alqasem did was be the president of a sparsely attended chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, and one, according to Facebook, attend a rally of as many as 19 people calling to boycott an Israeli brand of hummus.

This was enough to detain her under the increasingly severe anti-BDS laws within Israel. Whether Erdan can even choose to let her in is unclear, as Strategic Affairs Minister is a position created in 2006 chiefly to allow Avigdor Lieberman to have a ministry solely focused on planning for a war against Iran.

Whatever Israel decides they can or can’t do to the 22-year-old is fine with the US, however, as the State Department got in front of the story on Tuesday, announcing that they are “aware” of the case, and that the decision is “up to Israel.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of