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An in-depth discussion with renowned Palestinian scholar Prof. Joseph Massad.
At its annual gala this November, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) feted Sebastian Gorka alongside fellow Trump White House alumni Steven Bannon and Sean Spicer. The ZOA's president, Morton Klein, has established a special relationship with the Trump administration, going out of his way to defend Gorka against accusations of Nazi sympathies.
On the eve of Trump's election, Gorka appeared in nationally televised interviews clad in a black uniform bearing the medal of the Vitezi Rend, a Hungarian fascist group that collaborated with the Nazis during the Holocaust. Speaking at a conference organized by the right-wing Israeli newspaper the Jerusalem Post in May, Gorka defended his wearing the medal, proclaiming, "My father was awarded a medal in 1979 by anti-communist members of a splinter order outside Hungary ... I am proud to wear that, as a response to everything that we face today."
Vitzezi Rend has appeared on a US State Department list of "organizations under the direction of the Nazi government of Germany," and its late founder, Miklos Horthy, reportedly declared, "I have always been an anti-Semite throughout my life." During the anti-communist White Terror that took place between 1919 and 1921 in Hungary, Horthy presided over some 60 pogroms, and attacks on Jews continued through the 1920's. When Nazi Germany occupied Hungary in 1944, Horthy participated in the deportation of 437,000 Jews to concentration camps.
Gorka's attachment to a fascist order that reveres Horthy and his anti-Jewish legacy has not appeared to trouble supporters of Israel's right-wing government. Not only has Gorka been an honored guest of the ZOA, he was welcomed by the Jerusalem Post, which received him with warm applause and a prominent speaking slot at its annual conference this May in New York. "The real agenda is clear: Gorka has written forcefully about the need to defeat the jihadi threat to Western civilization," an op-ed defending Gorka in the Jerusalem Post read.