Lara Alqasem and Israel’s boycott of boycotters

October 25, 2018

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Lara Alqasem


So Lara Alqasem has finally begun her studies at Hebrew University. Her situation received huge coverage both in the States and in Israel, and raises two key issues for us to ponder.

Some background: Back in the States Lara Alqasem was an activist with Students for Justice in Palestine, that boycotts and condemns Israel. In Israel the issue of boycotts has become a fiery bone of contention, and the source of new legislation to prevent “giving succor to our enemies”. Those Israelis who call for boycotting the country lay themselves open to being sued for damages, and to lose certain State benefits. On the basis of this law, Alqasem was refused entry to Israel. After a two week legal appeal, Israel’s Supreme Court recently ruled she was free to enter the country: She was not judged to be currently calling for boycott.

Our first question to ponder is the “cock-up vs conspiracy” question. The fact that this young woman was coming to study on a year-long student visa at Hebrew University, has already infuriated those committed to boycotting Israel’s academia. As a boycotter of Israel, she’s a complete failure… So was her arrest a sign that the Israeli government has malign plans to extend the reach of the Boycott Law, and that the security establishment sees even a (former) student activist as a threat? Or was her arrest just a stupid mistake compounded by cheap local politics?

Our second question has often been obscured by the first: In a post 9/11 world, (when) is it justified for a government to prevent entry of foreign nationals to its territory – especially those it suspects might break its laws?

In our 4HQ language, we might ask two overlapping questions.

  • Is a country’s Freedom to be judged according to the way it denies freedoms to others?
  • Can a country’s Safety be threatened by campaigns other than military ones?


If the answer to both these questions is yes, how then should a country negotiate its border crossings?

Moishe House programming suggestion:

You might wish to work with this Headline for Identity together with Musica Cubana. You might ask participants to imagine how the protagonist in Musica Cubana would/should react to visitors to his club who call it racist?


This Headline for Identity is part of the 4HQ Encounters program for Moishe House, made possible by the generous funding of Jim Joseph Foundation.

The Next Edge – Israel Education Conference – October 2018


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This event was a meeting place for engaged academics, policy-makers, and reflective practitioners. discussions included, current challenges in Israel education, what the desired outcomes of robust Israel education, and new strategies for taking us forward. Check back soon for papers published at this conference.

Full program can be found here

In the Land and Out of It?


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The October Culture Connection

4HQ Moishe House Final Webinar


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Hi there!

This final webinar is a combination of a video “lesson”, and your assignments.


Please watch the video! It lasts just under 40 minutes. You can watch it when you want, in one go or in installments. Then come the three tasks:

Task 1:

In our shared Google Drive “4HQ Israel Cohort 1”, you’ll find the folder “Final Webinar and Assignments”. Please go to the “Love, Frustrates, Confuses” folder. There you will find the 4HQ chart in whichever format you prefer.

Your job is to write in your love/frustrates/confuses choice into the chart itself, placing your choices where you think they should be located. For example, if what you love about Israel is the Galilee area, you would write “I love the Galilee area” in the section of IN OUR LAND…

Once you have done this, please upload your finished chart back to the “Love, Frustrates, Confuses” folder. Please do this before July 28th. Our opening day will work with everyone’s charts. If you are unable to upload your chart, please print it out and bring it with you.

Task 2:

Do you ever think about your security? (To Be) Do you find yourself obsessing about American values and ways of behaving? (People) Is your place very important to you? (Land)

Your job is to rank the way you see life. From 0 to 10, please rank the relative importance of the four questions to the way you see America, and the way you see Israel.

Simply go into this chart, put in your name, and get ranking!

Please complete this ranking by July 28th. This chart will form a central part of several sessions through the trip.

Task 3:

Any session you would like to see happen on the trip? We have a few slots that we’ve deliberately left open for your choices. Take a look at the itinerary as it stands. Then take a look at the list of optional sessions we could try to add – put your name down for any sessions you’d like to attend, and feel free to add your  ideas for sessions as well!

Please complete this by 21st July, so we’ll have time to prepare.

We make no promises, but we’ll attempt to accommodate your wishes!


4HQ Israel Encounters Assignment


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Please watch this video and complete the 4 tasks detailed below…

  1. Please draw out the connected/disconnected – hi-res/lo-res matrix, and draw your own journey on the matrix. Please have this drawing ready to share on the webinar (either on your computer, or physically ready to hold up to the camera!) See 6:55
  2. Please note for yourself where you would map your MH participants. See 7:27
  3. Please note for yourself where you would map the current Israel programming. We’ll refer to these maps when we are together in Israel. See 8:10
  4. Please write your answers to these two questions, and mail them to robbie[at]makomisrael[dot]net:
  • Do you see part of your role at MH to move your participants in a direction on the Matrix vis a vis Israel?
  • If your answer is yes, do you see your role to move your participants along both axes, or only one? That is, the hi-res/lo-res axis addresses knowledge, while the connected/disconnected axis addresses feelings of connection… Do you hope/expect to move your participants along only the knowledge axis, or also the connection axis?


Flicking the switch from Yom HaZikaron to Yom Ha’atzmaut


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Shay Charka once again displays his visual genius, portraying the onerous demand on Israelis to switch from the memorial candles of Yom HaZikaron to the celebrations of Yom Ha’atzmaut. (Originally appeared in Makor Rishon, and on Shay’s facebook page.

4HQ for your Seder Night!


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We are delighted to present our suggestion for talking Israel at the Seder table. This leaflet was produced by our friends at the UJIA in the UK, at their initiative. We are delighted to share this with all the world, in addition to the 45,000 Brits who will receive a printed copy with their Jewish Chronicle!

Click here to download

Consulting possibilities


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Qushiyot – Links and sources


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The article we studied at Ben Gurion’s grave: To the Desert.




Thinking about the Kotel Hand-out

Kotel timeline


50 years since the Six Days War – Educational Materials for you


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