Monday, April 03, 2017

More on Sebastian Gorka

Author: Andrew E. Mathis

Since I wrote on this topic last, right wing bloggers and journalists have circled the wagons around Sebastian Gorka, Trump's deputy adviser for national security and purported anti-terrorism expert. Responding to reporting by the Forward, on the Lobelog blog, and in the Hungarian press, Richard Miniter – among other writers – responded on the Forbes Web site.

Miniter's defense of Gorka is remarkable for its sheer length and comprehensiveness. Going point by point, Miniter begins with the assertion that charges of anti-Semitism on Gorka's part, on the basis of his having cofounded a political party with former members of the Jobbik far-right party, are a matter of guilt by association. He elaborates:
Gorka founded a party that included some people who came from another party and that other party had some figures who… Really? This is the argument here? Gorka wrote for a newspaper that also published content that critics called “anti-Semitic” and hung around opposition figures that included people that critics say are “anti-Semitic,” therefore…. Even if the critics were right about the alleged “anti-Semitism” of the other journalists and the other politicians (and there are good reasons to believe that their characterizations are highly questionable), it reveals nothing about Gorka or his beliefs. Sharing a room with Helen Keller does not make one blind; sharing a subway car with Albert Einstein does not make one a genius.
Miniter has something of a point – the mere fact of a relationship between Gorka and some loathsome characters on Hungary's far right cannot be used alone to establish the political leanings of Gorka himself.

However, the analogy that ends the quote above is inapt. No, sharing a room with Helen Keller does not make one blind; however, sharing a political party with her might result in the reasonable assumption that the person sharing that party is a socialist, as Keller herself was. Moreover, it's certainly true that sharing a subway car with Albert Einstein does not make one a genius; however, publishing scholarly articles in the same journals with Einstein might reasonably result in the assumption that the person in question is a theoretical physicist.

Taking Miniter's argument about Gorka's political assumptions one by one, we can begin with the assertion that "Gorka wrote for a newspaper that also published content that critics called 'anti-Semitic' and hung around opposition figures that included people that critics say are 'anti-Semitic.'" What's irksome about this passage is not only the sneer quotes around "anti-Semitic" but also what even a cursory examination of the people in question reveals about their political points of view.

Among the photos making the rounds is one of Gorka standing to Támás Molnár (above), one of the former Jobbik members referred to above. As the screenshot shown below reveals, the two men are Facebook friends. To be fair, Gorka has more than 2,000 "friends" on Facebook, but there are several other Jobbik members and political allies not on Gorka's friends list. We might assume (and I do believe that the evidence suggests that Gorka should address this issue directly) that the two men are friends.

So what does Molnár believe? Apparently at least some of what informs Molnár's ideology is a belief in "double genocide" -- a popular right-wing theory in countries subjected to occupation by both the Nazis and the Soviets. Where the theory has seen expression most publicly since 1991 has been in the Baltic states, including Latvia, where members of the Latvian Legion of the Waffen-SS have marched in parades with the status of heroes for having fought the Soviets.

Double genocide proponents in Hungary focus on Soviet repression, which began with the Soviet invasion in 1945 and extended through the late 1990s, with the peak occurring in 1956. These proponents suggest not only that the Soviet repression was as costly as Nazi occupation in terms of human lives (it was not: thousands were killed in 1956 vs. hundreds of thousands in 1944), but often, that the perpetrators of Soviet repression were Jewish.

This uncanny focus on the Jewish ancestry of some Hungarian communists is something we've seen before -- see Sergey Romanov's insightful comment on our blog. Molnár is apparently a firm believer, having co-signed an open letter on a Web site indicating refusal of the party (of which Gorka was cofounder) to sign a proclamation denouncing racism and anti-Semitism.

(I am in the process of seeking translation from Hungarian for this material and will post it when I do.)

Incidentally, this Web site features several bloggers from the party, one of whom is Gorka himself.

Lest we think that Molnár's views have moderated since he collaborated with Facebook friend Gorka in the mid-2000s, we need only consider the story of Eszter Solymosi, a Hungarian girl at the center of a blood libel in Hungary in the late 19th century. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the case has been revived since 1989 by Jobbik. Daniel Véri writes:
Besides the revival of Eszter Solymosi’s imaginary portrait, which will be examined in the next part of the study, two further works were created, showing the girl as a Christian martyr. Both were published on, the major news portal of the Hungarian extreme right. The first was created in 2008 by an unknown artist, the second – inspired by the previous one – in 2009 by painter Tamás Molnár.
The name Támás Molnár, it turns out, is not terribly rare in Hungary. It was the name of a conservative Catholic philosopher and U.S. resident, who died some time ago. It's also the name of a Hungarian Olympic water polo player. And, finally, it's the name of two artists -- one of whom was also a member of Jobbik.

Should Mr. Miniter be reading this, we can disagree over whether a double genocide theory is anti-Semitic. On blood libel, I don't think the jury is still out. Gorka has to answer for his friend.


Added at 5:30 p.m. EDT

The Forward has just published video of Gorka defending Jobbik's Garda paramilitary. An interview with Gorka from 2007 has him appearing to do the same.


Nathan said...

Non Jewish communists also played a huge role in the postwar Government. For example, one Zoltan Komoscin. He has a street named after him.

"Jewish Bolshevism" is less about actual communism and more about antisemitism, otherwise all Communist collaborators would've been called out, instead of singling out alleged Jewish participation.

Nathan said...

Statistical Mechanic at the Skeptic Society HD forum was kind enough to share the following information about the policies of the Postwar Hungarian Communist government

To summarize, the Postwar Communist government was neither controlled by Jews nor a "Friend" to Jews. Like other Communist governments in Poland and the Ukraine, the Hungarian government participated in and legitimized the theft of Jewish property. I.e. They formally labelled property stolen during the German occupation as "German Property", and the Communist propaganda organs even sided with Hungarian Nazi collaborators who enriched themselves by participating in the theft of Jewish property. The Authorities even raided a restitution fund set up by survivors for stolen property.

Thus, contrary to propaganda, "The Jews" did not "Rule" postwar Hungary. Anyone who attempts to justify antisemitism by lying that they did (something that Gorka and his pals doubtlessly do) is full of shit.