by Ari Lieberman
A strange way to combat anti-Semitism.
On August 28, The Anti-Defamation League announced that it had hired Obama holdover, George Selim, as its “Senior Vice President of Programs.” According to the ADL’s press release, Selim will be the ADL’s point man on programs connected to law enforcement, education and community security. This newly created position will ostensibly help the ADL better track, monitor and thwart all forms of xenophobia and prejudice. Selim will report directly to the ADL’s CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt.
On paper, Selim, an Arab-American of Egyptian and Lebanese descent, appears qualified for the role. He served in the Bush and Obama administrations in various capacities, principally in the areas of community outreach and countering violent extremism (CVE). But beneath the surface lies a more sinister side to Selim, one that renders him entirely unfit for his new position.
In a June 7, 2012 interview with the Daily Caller, Selim admitted engaging with representatives of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and further acknowledged that there were “hundreds” of such meetings taking place with various governmental departments and agencies. Selim refused to elaborate on the content of those meetings and offered no insight on which CAIR officials he met with.
In 2007, the United States Department of Justice named CAIR as an unindicted co-conspirator in the infamous Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development criminal probe. Members of the HLF were charged with laundering money to Hamas, a genocidal organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel and designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the State Department. The HLF and five of its officers were convicted of all charges.
CAIR objected to the DOJ designation but a U.S. District Court judge ruled that there was “ample evidence to establish the association.” That ruling was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. DOJ’s designation led the FBI to sever all “non-investigative cooperation with the group.”
Moreover, CAIR officials are on record spewing vicious anti-Israel and anti-Semitic vitriol. Its founder and executive director, Nihad Awad, is a poster child for conspiracy theories and medieval-style anti-Semitism. He is a Hamas supporter, has refused to condemn acts of terrorism committed against Israeli civilians, rejects Israel’s right to exist, espoused anti-Semitic canards of Jewish influence and control over U.S. foreign policy, and as has entertained wild David Duke-like conspiracy theories suggesting that Israel had a hand in the September 11 attacks. Even Greenblatt’s ADL has recognized CAIR’s odious nature publishing a dossier of the group on its website.
Selim’s engagement with members of an organization possessing such a malevolent history is beyond baffling. Would he engage with the KKK or the Nazi Party? But what is even more incomprehensible is the ADL’s inexplicable decision to hire him.
When it was founded over a century ago in response to rampant anti-Semitism both in the U.S. and on the European continent, the ADL’s core mission was “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people, and to secure justice and fair treatment to all...” But under the stewardship of Jonathan Greenblatt, the ADL has steadily and grossly deviated from its intended mission purpose. It appears that the ADL has adopted a highly selective approach to combatting anti-Semitism.
While the ADL has rightfully exposed and condemned right-wing anti-Semitism, the organization is far more discriminating and conflicted when confronting left-wing anti-Semitism.
A good recent example is Greenblatt’s endorsement (later retracted) of Rep. Keith Ellison to lead the Democratic Party. Ellison’s associations with the Nation of Islam’s Louis Farrakhan are well known and his viscerally anti-Israel positions are a matter of public record. The ADL also publicly endorsed Linda Sarsour’s right to issue a commencement address at a CUNY affiliated college. Linda Sarsour is the David Duke of the Left. Her positions on Israel are no different than those of the former “Grand Wizard” of the KKK. Both advocate for Israel’s destruction. Yet the ADL found the time to shamefully advocate for her. One can be in favor of free speech without feeling compelled to lobby for a foul-mouthed, bully who publicly supports cop killers and convicted terrorists.
The ADL’s conflicted nature is further highlighted by its relationship with the Muslim Public Affairs Council. The ADL lists this group as being among the top 10 anti-Israel groups in the United States. Yet that did not deter the ADL from coordinating its congressional activities with this rancid organization. A passing confluence of interests does not justify partnering with left-wing (or right wing) anti-Semites.
Left-wing anti-Semitism is often far more insidious and dangerous than the garden variety right-wing type witnessed in Charlottesville. Nazis and white supremacists do not hide their pernicious views and intentions. Conversely, left-wing entities and individuals like CAIR, and Sarsour often masquerade as social justice advocates but their goals, often hidden, are no less malevolent than their fascist cousins on the right.
The ADL, the group entrusted with monitoring and combatting anti-Semitism for over a century should be cognizant of this fact. But its hiring of an individual, who willfully engaged with a Hamas-supporting, Muslim Brotherhood front group, on multiple occasions, demonstrates the depths to which this once admirable organization has sunk. If it continues in this path, its unfortunate decline may be irreversible.
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