World Briefs: Jewish Doctor Denied $500 Payment After Refusing to Promise Arkansas He Won’t Boycott Israel and more

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Jewish Doctor Denied $500 Payment After Refusing to Promise Arkansas He Won’t Boycott Israel
The state of Arkansas is refusing to pay a Jewish doctor for a talk he delivered at a public university because he declined to promise not to boycott Israel, JTA.org reported.

Dr. Steve Feldman, pictured on a trip to the West Bank. Feldman was denied payment from the state of Arkansas for refusing to sign a pledge promising not to boycott Israel. (Courtesy of Steve Feldman via JTA.org)

Steve Feldman, a dermatologist, delivered a Zoom lecture to University of Arkansas at Little Rock medical students in February, for which he was entitled to a $500 honorarium from the state. But Feldman said that the state is withholding payment because he refused to sign a pledge, required for public contractors under Arkansas law since 2017, to commit to not boycotting Israel.

Arkansas is one of dozens of states that have passed laws aiming to combat the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement targeting Israel. The laws either bar the state from investing in companies that boycott Israel or, as in Arkansas’ case, mandate that state contractors promise not to boycott the country. Most of those laws have been struck down by courts, but Feldman’s lecture took place the same month the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to Arkansas’ law.

Feldman has close relatives who live in Israel. But he said the pledge conflicted with his religious and moral views. In addition to his medical work, he is a pro-Palestinian activist who created the online-only Jewish Museum of the Palestinian Experience. The website says that the Jewish commitment to fighting injustice should lead Jews to stand up for Palestinian rights. Feldman said he does support boycotting Israel.

American Couples Caught at Tel Aviv Airport Trying to Smuggle Fruit Roll-Ups into Israel
At least two American couples were caught by Israeli customs attempting to smuggle a total of more than 650 pounds of Fruit Roll-Ups into Israel, as the country experiences a dire shortage of the snack due to a TikTok craze, JTA.org reported.

A video posted on May 2 by Mako, an Israeli news website, appears to show a customs official at Ben Gurion International Airport sifting through at least three open suitcases each filled with hundreds of the colorful, sugary treats. An American-accented voice off-screen, in a mix of Hebrew and English, explains that he brought the snacks across the ocean for his family in Israel.

Why did he fill two checked bags with Fruit Roll-Ups? “It has something to do with ice cream,” the man’s voice says.

The man was almost certainly referring to a viral TikTok trend, ongoing since at least March, in which users wrap the sweet, sticky roll-up around a small scoop of ice cream, which then freezes over and becomes hard and crunchy.

Around the country, supermarkets, convenience stores and online retailers have reportedly sold out of Fruit Roll-Ups, driving up the cost of the snack.

— Compiled by Andy Gotlieb

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