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OPINION | AARON AHLQUIST: Misrepresented

ADL’s words mischaracterized by AARON AHLQUIST SPECIAL TO THE DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE | January 13, 2022 at 2:53 a.m.


The Dec. 18 column by Mike Masterson in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, "ADL supports professor," contains a quote that misrepresents ADL's (Anti-Defamation League) words and involvement on an issue at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock's Bowen School of Law.

The quote, attributed to Robert Steinbuch, a Jewish law professor, stated that ADL "soundly condemns the discrimination/antisemitism" he was subjected to.

ADL engaged the law school regarding their accommodation of religious observances, and how those accommodations were being inconsistently applied when it came to Professor Steinbuch.

Raising concerns of this nature and whether a school policy is being disparately applied is not the equivalent of saying the dean or school are antisemitic. ADL is not aware of any information which would support such a claim.

We learned the use of guest speakers was available for secular accommodations of faculty and concurred with Professor Steinbuch that the relevant university policy was being applied disparately, all of which was stated in a letter to Dean Theresa Beiner.

ADL fights antisemitism, hate, and extremism--and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. We frequently engage in informal advocacy on behalf of many communities to support individuals in the face of unfair treatment.

The clear and intentional language of our letter engages on a discreet and nuanced issue of disparate application of accommodation practices. ADL stands by its letter to Dean Beiner, but makes no inference of antisemitic intent by the dean or school.


Aaron Ahlquist is director of policy for the Anti-Defamation League Southern Division. ADL's Southern Division serves 11 states across the South, including Arkansas. Learn more at Heartland.ADL.org.


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