Haaretz reported today that the upcoming annual terror confab hosted by the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) will feature disgraced former Trump terror advisor, Sebastian Gorka as keynote speaker. In speaking to a close journalist friend, he said there could be no probative value in including Gorka on the speaker roster. After losing his job, he has no major platform for his views. He has no policy-making pulpit. Further, his academic credentials have been thoroughly discredited when even a member of his own PhD committee admitted Gorka had no particular expertise in the field.
Not to mention that Gorka’s views have been widely documented as white-supremacist and even neo-Nazi. In fact, it could be argued that rather than a counter-terrorism expert, he’s an apologist for right-wing terrorism. For example, the Forward found that he was a member of a Hungarian Nazi movement to which his father had once belonged. Just before the Charlottesville riots in which an antifa protester was murdered, he said that white supremacists “were not the problem.” Presumably, Commie antifa were.
So why on earth would IDC have invited such an individual to such a prestigious event?
To answer that, we must remember that Israel’s former alliances with liberal-democratic movements deteriorate, it has sought to replace them with cozy-relationships with the seedier side of the human race: African dictators, Christian evangelicals, and yes, even neo-Nazis. Though at first glance this may seem impossible, one must remember that the alt-right makes a distinction between Israel and Jews. Israel=good. Jews=bad. That is, the Israel that battles against Islam and kills Arabs is good. The Jews who support antifa and other liberal do-good philosophies are bad.
A similar ideological calculus permitted Adolf Eichmann to admire Zionists and even say he would be one if he were a Jew. The Nazis could easily make a similar distinction between Zionists and Jews who were “Bolshevik scum.”
But just because Israeli politicians are willing to embrace such despicable characters, why would an academic institution? Well, IDC isn’t exactly an academic institution. It’s more of a finishing school for the Israeli élite. It provides a pipeline into the lucrative corporate world in some cases; or into the intelligence field in others. IDC has exceedingly close relationships with the Mossad, Shin Bet and other Israeli intelligence agencies.
My friend suspected that the decision to bring Gorka probably didn’t come from within IDC. Rather, it probably originated outside IDC. That is, through a big donor. I asked myself who the usual suspects might be and one sprang immediately to mind: Sheldon Adelson. The gambling magnate is a strong supporter of Donald Trump. Adelson shares all of Gorka’s Islamophobic views. No doubt, Adelson has close relations with Steve Bannon and all the rest of the Breitbart crowd (of which Gorka is an insider).
But I discovered a smoking gun when I found that Adelson offered his name to the new IDC business school, called the Adelson School for Entrepreneurship. No less a figure than Bibi Netanyahu himself keynoted the school’s founding event. Though the size of his naming gift wasn’t made public anywhere I could find, Powerbase notes that the family foundation donated $20-million to Friends of the IDC in 2013. I also discovered a $2-million 2014 IDC gift (but no gift is 2015). Considering that Adelson announced a $25-million gift to Ariel University to found a medical school there, these IDC gifts seem a reasonable figure. Though of course there could be more donated through other Adelson charitable outlets.
But did Adelson lobby the IDC to invite Gorka? First, let’s start with the fact that Adelson is precisely the sort of person who would do so. He’s a bully, a loud-mouth. He knows what he wants and always gets his way. He’s primitive and brutish. That makes him a prime suspect in this caper. Further, Adelson is extremely loyal to his acolytes. He donated tens of millions to Newt Gingrich’s failed 2012 campaign for the GOP presidential nomination. He donated even after it became clear Newt couldn’t win. So it’s extremely likely he’d pity the newly out-of-work Gorka and seek a prestigious platform for him to spout his neo-Nazi propaganda.
Is it possible that the faculty or administration of IDC or the terror center initiated the invitation on their own? Why would they? Gorka has a fake PhD and no pulpit from which to preach now that he’s been fired from the White House. So what does he bring to the table? Very little. Not to mention the heat that the school will take for inviting such a fraud to address the conference.
Could another donor have thought this up? Sure. But Adelson remains the most likely culprit. As the police say about criminal suspects: he has motive and opportunity.
I’ve e-mailed a series of questions to the IDC press office, the terror institute sponsoring the conference, and the Adelson School at IDC. No one has yet responded. I will update if/when they do.