The Forward’s reporting of Sebastian Gorka’s ties to a neo-Nazi nationalist group in Hungary has kicked off a raucous debate in the American Jewish community. A recent essay in the Los Angeles Review of Books by Jacob Labendz takes the measure of the discussion — and according to him, the Forward came out ahead of Tablet.
Labendz, a professor of Jewish studies at Youngstown State University in Ohio, argued that Tablet’s publication of several columns defending Gorka gave the White House counterterrorism aide undeserved cover from the Forward’s reporting. He goes on to deconstruct the words of Tablet columnist Liel Liebovitz, who has defended Gorka, and editor Alana Newhouse, who has defended publishing those articles. “Just like the media outlets which provide Gorka with a platform for spreading Islamophobia, so too must Tablet shoulder some responsibility for the ideas and authors it chooses to promote, normalize, and legitimize,” he wrote.
But Labendz added that while much of the current debate is over whether Gorka himself is anti-Semitic (which the Forward has not accused him of being), we miss something more important and obvious: Gorka’s Islamophobia and incompetence for the job he’s been tasked with.