The left-wing Jewish group J Street is collecting signatures for a petition calling on President Trump to fire his counter-terrorism adviser, Sebastian Gorka, in light of revelations on his alleged ties with far-right anti-Semitic organizations in his native Hungary. Gorka has denied the reports, which have led to a similar demand by a group of Democratic members of Congress.
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In the petition published on Wednesday, J Street wrote that "every day that goes by, we learn more about his disturbing ties to anti-Semitic organizations and Nazi-allied political parties, which make his role in the White House even more shocking. We cannot let President Trump continue to employ Gorka without strong public resistance." The group also accused Gorka of having "Islamophobic views."
Earlier this week, students in Georgetown University - including members of J Street - protested against Gorka when he appeared at a panel in the university. After being asked by students in the crowd about the reporting that connects him to anti-Semitic groups, Gorka said he denies any such connections, and asked the students to "learn more" about him before calling him an anti-Semite. Some news reports indicated that he left the event early because of the protests and questions, but Georgetown later said that he left the event at the time he was scheduled to leave.
Much of the reporting on Gorka's alleged ties with anti-Semitic groups was first published by The Forward, including an interview with Gorka from 2007 in which he expressed support for the formation of a violent, far-right militia in Hungary. The Jewish publication also interviewed members of Vitezi Rend, a Hungarian group with past ties to the country's fascist and anti-Semitic World War II-era government, who said Gorka was "a sworn member" of the group.