ADL taps Arab-American ex-official to head up security outreach

George Selim, who resigned top Homeland Security role last month, to lead Jewish hate watchdog’s programs on police, education and community security

George Selim giving a talk in October 2016 (Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs)
George Selim giving a talk in October 2016 (Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs)

NEW YORK — The Anti-Defamation League has hired George Selim, an Arab-American former official at the Department of Homeland Security who worked on countering violent extremism.

Selim, who served under Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump, resigned last month from his role as director of the Office of Community Partnerships at Homeland Security. Born of Egyptian and Lebanese descent, Selim worked primarily with Muslim communities in the United States to combat extremism.

He also headed the Countering Violent Extremism Task Force, which coordinated those efforts among government agencies. Selim had worked as an adviser on civil liberties at Homeland Security, as well as at the National Security Council.

Selim will head the ADL’s programs on law enforcement, education and community security, according to a news release Monday.

ADL National Director Jonathan Greenblatt praised Selim’s “unparalleled expertise in engaging communities to stop the destructive extremism that comes from all sides of the ideological spectrum.”

ADL is one of a few national Jewish organizations collaborating with Muslims and other religious groups on security issues. It provides security consulting to religious institutions and publishes a handbook on best practices.

Selim resigned in July after more than a decade of working for the government, citing budget cuts and partisanship in an interview with NPR.

At the time of his resignation, he told the liberal essayist Peter Beinart at the Atlantic, “There were clearly political appointees in this administration who didn’t see the value of community partnerships with American Muslims.”

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