Jerusalem Post Must Ask Tough Questions of Trump Official Sebastian Gorka at its Conference

For some weeks now, the Jerusalem Post has been touting its annual conference in New York which takes place on May 7 as the “premier Israel summit of the year.”

“This year, we are expecting our best conference to date. Seven senior Israeli government ministers will be there, including Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Intelligence Minister Israel Katz. Senior adviser to President Donald Trump, Dr. Sebastian Gorka, will be on stage as well as legendary journalist Larry King,” the newspaper says on its website.

The inclusion of Gorka, who is a senior counterterrorism and cyber warfare adviser to President Trump, is provocative because of his lengthy record of blatant Islamophobia and well-documented ties to ties to the Order of Vitez, a Hungarian organization founded by a Nazi collaborator whose medal he has worn in public at important ceremonial events in the United States.

The Jerusalem Post must use this opportunity to question Gorka in detail about his past and his current beliefs. The newspaper can provide an important public service by doing its job as a media outlet. On no account this official be permitted to avoid tough questions, dismiss them with vague formulations or change the subject.

An investigation by The Forward this week reveals that
Gorka, who immigrated to America from Hungary nine years before he landed in the White House, has given contradictory information about his ties to the the Order of Viez which the State Department labeled as having been “under the direction of the Nazi Government of Germany” during World War II.

The newspaper adds that Gorka “has also not responded to questions about his 2007 endorsement, while leading a political party in Hungary, of an extreme right-wing paramilitary militia led by anti-Semites ... and that Gorka wrote regularly for a well-known anti-Semitic paper while active in Hungary, and that he co-founded his political party with prominent former members of Jobbik, a party with a long record of anti-Semitism and racism against Hungary’s Roma minority.”

All this material should make for a very interesting session at the Jerusalem Post conference. The newspaper owes it to participants and to its readers to thoroughly probe with Gorka the many allegations about his involvement in these sinister far-right groups in Hungary as well as his extreme views about the nature of Islam and Muslims. The Post could render a valuable public service by finally pinning Gorka down and getting him on the record. This is an important test of the newspaper's journalistic credentials.

In February, the Anti-Defamation League issued a statement demanding that Gorka disavow the message and outlook of some of the far-right parties in Hungary with which he has been associated:

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."


Gorka has yet to meet this demand.

President Trump won universal applause for his speech this week about the Holocaust and anti-Semitism. But Gorka's inclusion in his administration continues to raise serious questions about whether his commitment to fight anti-Semitism goes beyond mere words.

President Trump is reportedly planning a visit to Israel in late May. Before he sets foot on Israeli soil, he should fire Gorka. President Trump cannot have it both ways. He cannot speak movingly about preserving Holocaust memory and fighting ant-Semitism while tolerating and embracing individuals like Gorka at the heart of his administration.