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ADL demands Trump advisor disavow ‘anti-Semitic hate groups’

It’s been a rough couple of weeks for Trump advisor Sebastian Gorka following a series of investigations that began with reporting by Lobelog, and published on +972.

By Eli Clifton

Deputy Assistant to the President Sebastian Gorka seen wearing a medal from the Vitzei Rend, a Hungarian group listed by the State Department as having collaborated with the Nazis during World War II. (Fox News screenshot)

Deputy Assistant to the President Sebastian Gorka seen wearing a medal from the Vitzei Rend, a Hungarian group listed by the State Department as having collaborated with the Nazis during World War II. (Fox News screenshot)

Deputy Assistant to the President Sebastian Gorka has had a rough two weeks. It began with LobeLog’s report that he wore the medal of Vitezi Rend, an anti-Semitic Hungarian organization that collaborated with the Nazis during World War II, at an inaugural ball.

There followed the publication of a series of articles questioning his credentials and experience as a counter-terrorism expert, not to mention the circulation on the web of an audio recording of his hectoring and threats against of one of his critics. Most recently, Yale historian Eva Balogh, reporting for LobeLog, laid out Gorka’s family relationship to Vitezi Rend, while Lili Bayer, writing for The Forward, published a detailed investigative article on Gorka’s ties to anti-Semitic groups in Hungary while he was politically active in that country from 2002 to 2007.

Bayer wrote:

Gorka’s involvement with the [Hungarian] far right includes co-founding a political party with former prominent members of Jobbik, a political party with a well-known history of anti-Semitism; repeatedly publishing articles in a newspaper known for its anti-Semitic and racist content; and attending events with some of Hungary’s most notorious extreme-right figures.

In the context of his February 6 denunciation of criticism of the White House’s Holocaust Remembrance Day statement (which failed to mention Jews or anti-Semitism) as “asinine” and “absurd,” the new disclosures of Gorka’s ties to Vitezi Rend and anti-Semitic parties are raising yet more questions about his core beliefs.

Late Friday, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) issued the following statement, calling on Gorka, a protégé of Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, and former national security editor of Bannon’s Breitbart news, to “disavow” these associations.

Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL’s CEO, said:

We are deeply disturbed at the allegations that the Deputy Assistant to the President, Sebastian Gorka, may have had close ties to openly racist and anti-Semitic hate groups and figures while he was active in Hungarian politics. These are very serious charges. With anti-Semitism and hate on the rise in the United States and around the world, it is essential that Mr. Gorka makes it clear that he disavows the message and outlook of far-right parties such as Jobbik, which has a long history of stoking anti-Semitism in Hungary.

How much impact the ADL’s position will have on a Trump administration that has put forward the bombastic Gorka as perhaps its most aggressive foreign-policy spokesman remains to be seen. But such a strong statement by what has been a relatively cautious organization constitutes an important marker of how concerned leaders of the U.S. Jewish community have become about the “alt-right’s” influence in the White House.

Eli Clifton reports on money in politics and U.S. foreign policy. Eli previously reported for the American Independent New Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service. This article is reprinted, with permission, Lobelog.com.

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    1. i_like_ike52

      Did the ADL demand that Obama and the other “progressive” groups denounce the Islamic antisemitic groups or antisemitic countries like Iran? I recall that Obama said about the genocidal antisemitic propaganda that the Iranians put out something to the effect that “they don’t mean it, it is said for internal purposes”.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        This is what he said to Jeffrey Goldberg. You have never had a US president speak so intelligently and thoughtfully and truthfully about this and be such a genuine friend to Israel:

        Your carping, sniping attitude toward Obama and yet blasé attitude about the appalling Trump administration, with its Bannon and Gorka characters, is most interesting.

        Reply to Comment
        • AJew

          “Your carping, sniping attitude toward Obama…”

          Your carping, sniping attitude toward Israel. Nu?

          Reply to Comment
    2. Garrett

      It’s a small start. That Gorka and numerous other anti-Muslim figures in the Trump admin have ties to far-right and anti-Semitic groups shouldn’t surprise anyone, given that most rabidly anti-Muslim groups evolved out of older anti-Semitic groups, particularly in Europe.

      Reply to Comment