The state of Arkansas is refusing to pay a Jewish doctor for a speech he delivered to medical students attending the University of Arkansas in Little Rock.
The dermatologist, Dr. Steve Feldman, delivered a Zoom lecture in February and is entitled to a $500 honorarium. However, Feldman says the state is withholding his payment because he refused to sign a pledge of commitment stating he will not boycott Israel.
Feldman is a professor at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina.
“To me, growing up Jewish, the very strong lesson of the Holocaust that I learned is that it’s wrong to mistreat other people,” Feldman said.
Arkansas, located in the south central portion of the United States, is one of several states to enact laws meant to fight the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) movement against Israel.
While courts have struck down those laws in some states, the Arkansas law still stands after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to the law.
“They have a law in place that makes contracts with Arkansas dependent upon your agreement not to boycott Israel, which I think is wrong,” Feldman emphasized.
Feldman reportedly stated that he does support boycotting Israel, claiming that a boycott will help to boost Palestinian rights.
“I think the only thing that will lead to Israel allowing Palestinian families to return to their homes, so that everybody can live together peacefully, will be some kind of boycott,” he said.
Feldman is currently considering his legal options, adding that he has not ruled out filing a lawsuit against the state of Arkansas.
“I would love to sue and have the Circuit Court either retract what they said, or go to the Supreme Court in order for people to see things that they didn’t know,” he said.
Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin, a Republican, explained that the law is meant to “ensure that taxpayers aren’t required to pay for anti-Israeli discrimination.”
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.