Last week, the Jewish magazine Forward revived the “Nazi” smear against presidential adviser and former Breitbart News National Security editor Dr. Sebastian Gorka.
The original vector for this attack was Gorka wearing a medal handed down from his father at an inaugural ball. The medal was an award called the Hungarian Order of Heroes or Order of Vitez, given to the elder Gorka for his anti-communist activities. Hungarian Communists, for their part, conducted such vigorous anti-Gorka activities as throwing Dr. Gorka’s father in a dungeon and torturing him.
Gorka has repeatedly faced vague accusations of anti-Semitism without any of his assailants producing a single anti-Semitic quote to back it up. The game is to convict him of “links” and “ties” to anti-Semitic groups – links he somehow forged without ever expressing such sentiments himself.
The accusations have not worked to convince those aware of his pro-Israel, anti-jihad work throughout his career to attack him, however.
“Whether one agrees or disagrees with his policy conclusions, Gorka is, in fact, dedicating his life to protecting us as best he knows how. The American Jewish community owes him a humble and profound debt of gratitude,” Bruce Abramson and Jeff Ballabon wrote at the Jerusalem Post this weekend, pushing back against the anti-Semitism smear. Much more from their article will be quoted below.
“Dr. Gorka is a proud American patriot and fighter against radical Islamic terrorism, and a faithful friend of the State of Israel and the Jewish people,” declared Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization for America. “Gorka worked with anti-Nazi groups in Hungary and specifically fought the anti-Semitism of right-wing Hungarian groups.”
Klein wrote “there is not a shred of evidence” for the charge that Gorka belongs to an anti-Semitic organization, denouncing Forward’s allegations as “irresponsible journalism” and calling upon them to “retract and apologize for their reckless character assassination.”
Writer David Reaboi, whose own family fled communist Hungaria as the Gorkas did, says the attempt to link Gorka to anti-Semitic groups is “a complete perversion of his involvement in Hungarian politics, which was an example of the opposite.” He notes Gorka’s “decades-long record as an opponent of anti-Semitism, xenophobia and anti-American sentiment in Hungary,” including work “to undermine elements on the political right – even going as far as helping launch a political party to push conservative voters away from anti-Semitic parties.”
After reviewing Gorka’s decade-old involvement in Hungarian politics, Reaboi writes that everything he did was “in the interest of moving the Hungarian Right away from xenophobia, anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism.”
“All the booze in Georgetown couldn’t have gotten Sen. Joseph McCarthy drunk enough to spin a dumb story like this one,” David P. Goldman wrote of the Forward attack at PJ Media. He praised Gorka as “a fierce enemy of radical Islamic terrorism and a dedicated friend of Israel and the Jewish people.”
“Israel is fortunate to have friends like Dr. Gorka advising the president. I personally am fortunate to know Dr. Gorka. The slanders directed at him are shameful and inexcusable,” said Goldman.
Forward asserts Gorka is a sworn member of a fascist group called Vitezi Rend, and floated the idea that he should be not only run out of Washington, but run out of the United States for it:
The elite order, known as the Vitézi Rend, was established as a loyalist group by Admiral Miklos Horthy, who ruled Hungary as a staunch nationalist from 1920 to October 1944. A self-confessed anti-Semite, Horthy imposed restrictive Jewish laws prior to World War II and collaborated with Hitler during the conflict. His cooperation with the Nazi regime included the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Jews into Nazi hands.
Gorka’s membership in the organization — if these Vitézi Rend leaders are correct, and if Gorka did not disclose this when he entered the United States as an immigrant — could have implications for his immigration status. The State Department’s Foreign Affairs Manual specifies that members of the Vitézi Rend “are presumed to be inadmissible” to the country under the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Because Gorka did not immediately respond to a request for comment, his critics pounced and declared he was afraid to address the allegations. The New York Daily News swiftly published a story about “Jewish groups nationwide insisting Gorka step down from the Trump administration – or get fired.”
The Forward story is based largely on taking the word of two representatives from the least palatable of at least two groups that call themselves “Vitezi Rend.” They might be racist nationalists who lionize a Nazi, but we should instantly take their word as gospel and call for the deportation of an American citizen?
The Forward also makes much of Gorka occasionally using the letter “v” in his name, as in “Dr. Sebastian L. v. Gorka.” This is supposed to give away his allegiance to the goose-stepping Vitezi Rend, although it does not seem to have bothered anyone until now, not even members of the House Armed Services Committee.
Gorka did respond to the Forward smear, in an interview published by Tablet Magazine later in the very same day, March 16th: “I have never been a member of the Vitez Rend. I have never taken an oath of loyalty to the Vitez Rend. Since childhood, I have occasionally worn my father’s medal and used the ‘v.’ initial to honor his struggle against totalitarianism.”
Another source at the White House told Tablet that Gorka and other White House staffers “genuinely believed that the allegations were so blatantly false and so aggressively poorly-sourced, that no responsible journalist would ever publish them.”
Reaboi had some fun over the weekend with the desperate scramble to find old photos that would make Sebastian Gorka look like a fascist:
— David Reaboi (@davereaboi) March 20, 2017
Abramson and Ballabon at the Jerusalem Post lambasted Forward for “weaponizing its platform in favor of an innuendo-laden assault upon an individual with whom it disagrees politically.”
Abramson and Ballabon suspect Gorka has been targeted because he has “written forcefully about the need to defeat the jihadi threat to Western civilization,” and because he disagrees with proponents of large-scale refugee migration. (To bolster this case, they note Forward has given American Jews advice such as, “To really love a neighbor, invite a Syrian refugee into your home.”)
Abramson and Ballabon also note that Jewish organizations such as Yad Vashem have honored at least one member the Order of Vitez for saving Jews from the Nazis, and that the order has Jewish members, “including a friend of the Gorka family whose valuables the Gorkas hid from the Nazis.”
The authors believe Sebastian Gorka should be vindicated after weeks of sustained assault in which “those absolutely committed to slandering Gorka have found nothing and have been forced to propagate innuendo and outright fiction instead.”
Instead, three Democrat senators – Ben Cardin, Richard Durbin, and Richard Blumenthal – are asking the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security to investigate whether Sebastian Gorka “illegally procured his citizenship,” based on the allegations in the Forward piece.