ADL Calls On Gorka To Disavow Past Links To ‘Anti-Semitic Hate Groups’

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The Anti-Defamation League wants White House aide Sebastian Gorka to disavow the “openly racist and anti-Semitic hate groups” he was linked to during his time in Hungarian politics in the mid-2000s.

“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,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a Friday statement later provided to TPM.

Greenblatt’s statement came after The Forward published an investigation into Gorka’s activities in Hungary in the aughts, including founding a far-right political party alongside two former members of Jobbik, a nationalist party in Hungary that has been accused of promoting anti-Semitic rhetoric. The Forward also reported that Gorka was a frequent contributor to Magyar Jelen, a newspaper known for publishing racist and anti-Semitic articles.

Gorka also wore a medal some Hungarian scholars associate with the admiral and World War II-era statesman Miklós Horthy, on whose watch hundreds and thousands of Jews were deported to Auschwitz, to a ball celebrating President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Gorka later said he wears the medal, a family heirloom, in remembrance of his father’s anti-Communist efforts in mid-century Hungary.

He responded similarly to the Forward’s report via email, writing, “My parents, as children, lived through the nightmare of WWII and the horrors of the Nyilas puppet fascist regime.” Nyilas is another name for the Arrow Cross regime that took power from Horthy at the end of World War II.

Breitbart News, where Gorka previously worked as national security editor, and a handful of Republican politicians have come to his defense.

In a Saturday Facebook post, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) called Gorka’s reputation “unimpeachable” and said he was “the staunchest friend of Israel and the Jewish people.”

Read the ADL’s full statement below:

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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.
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