Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge welcomed Israeli Consul General Gilad Katz to Arkansas today to discuss Arkansas’s law prohibiting the State from contracting with entities that are boycotting Israel, and how the two leaders can work to strengthen the Arkansas-Israel relationship. Israeli Consul General Gilad Katz leads the Consulate General of Israel to the Southwest United States.
“Israel is an important American ally, and today’s discussion with Consul General Katz strengthens Arkansas’s commitment to protecting our relationship with Israel,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Arkansas is proud to be a leader in the fight against discrimination, and I am committed to defending Arkansas’s law.”
Consul General Katz traveled to Little Rock to say thank you to the leaders and citizens for the special relationship shared between Israel and Arkansas during his tenure. The Consul General wanted to thank Attorney General Rutledge for her leadership in strengthening Arkansas’s and the United States’ strong relationship with Israel, her efforts to defend Arkansas’s law prohibiting the State from contracting with those who are boycotting Israel, and push to create the Arkansas Holocaust Education Committee.
“During my tenure as Consul General of Israel to the Southwest, I have thoroughly enjoyed the partnership built with a great friend to the State of Israel, Attorney General Rutledge,” said Consul General Katz. “Israel deeply appreciates the Attorney General’s support for the State of Israel and her work in strengthening the partnership between Israel and Arkansas.”
Consul General Katz has held his position since August of 2017. Prior to assuming the post of Consul General to the Southwest United States, Consul General Katz was an Adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. During his tenure in the Office of the Prime Minister, he held prestigious titles such as Head of the Hebrew Correspondence Department and the Public Affairs Department.
Arkansas’s anti-discrimination law, Arkansas Act 710 of 2017, is a commonsense law that prohibits public entities from contracting and investing in companies that boycott Israel. In 2018, Arkansas Times filed a lawsuit seeking to halt University of Arkansas System schools from requiring a pledge not to boycott Israel as part of business contracts. In January 2019, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas sided with the State and dismissed that lawsuit. In February, a three judge panel sided with the Arkansas Times, and in March 2021, Arkansas filed a petition asking the Eighth Circuit to hear the case en banc.