February 5, 2018

Holocaust denier and white supremacist set to become Republican nominee for congressional seat

By Safya Khan-Ruf, journalist

A former leader of the American Nazi party is poised to get the Republican nomination for a US congressional seat in Illinois, the Chicago Sun-Times reported on Sunday.

The potential candidate, Arthur Jones, has unsuccessfully run for office for decades and is about to be the only GOP candidate representing parts of Chicago this year. The deadline to file to run against him was last December.

Jones told the Chicago Sun-Times that the Holocaust was “an international extortion racket”. His campaign website features a page titled “Holocaust?” that calls the murder of six million Jews the “biggest, blackest, lie in history” that used “professional concentration camp survivors”.

Jones is also a white supremacist and under another tab on his site called “Flags of Conflict”, he describes the Confederate flag as a “symbol of White pride and White resistance”. In his latest blog, Jones also blames “radical leftists” for starting racial violence in Charlottesville. Heather Meyer was murdered last year during the Charlottesville protest against white supremacy when a self-professed neo-Nazi drove a car into a crowd of demonstrators.

Lonnie Nasatir, the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League Chicago-Upper Midwest Region told the Chicago Sun-Times: “[Jones] has spoken publicly at numerous neo-Nazi rallies and events, expressing xenophobic policies based in racial and religious hatred. He is, by every definition, an anti-Semite and unrepentant bigot.”

Win?

“Well, it’s absolutely the best opportunity in my entire political career,” Jones told the Chicago Tribune. “Every time I’ve run it’s been against a Republican who follows this politically correct nonsense. This time they screwed up.”

However his chances of winning the seat are near non-existent, according to Ballotpedia, which has rated the district “safely Democratic”. Two Democrats are also running, Daniel Lipinski, the incumbent, and Marie Newman.

Party leaders have disowned Jones, with the Illinois Republican Party chairman Tim Schneier saying: “Our country have no place for Nazis like Arthur Jones… We strongly oppose his racist views and his candidacy for any public office, including the 3rd Congressional District.”

Jones is the second candidate that the Illinois GOP has tried to distance itself from recently. Jeanne Ives, who is running in the primaries for governor, was blasted by the party for a campaign ad that mocked transgender people and feminists, among others.

Jones last ran for office in 2016 when he expressed his support for President Donald Trump, his only concern being that Trump’s daughter Ivanka was married to a Jew, Jared Kushner. He later said he regretted voting for Trump because he had “surrounded himself with hoards of Jews”.

But getting this far in the race is a milestone for Jones, after he had tried running for a congressional seat seven times. The development is likely to prove extremely embarrassing for the GOP, despite a year of getting to grips with Donald Trump’s controversial outbursts.

Jones’ candidacy has come at a time where far-right groups have had new clout in the national discussion, often encouraged by Trump’s actions and tweets.

Antisemitism remains a major problem in the US and the UK. In the UK however, tolerance for Holocaust denial is low. Last month, notorious American Holocaust denier, Mark Weber, was barred from entering the United Kingdom.

The director of the California-based Institute for Historical Review received a letter from Britain’s Home Office that stated: ”You are the subject of an exclusion decision taken personally by the Home Secretary on 28 April 2015 on Unacceptable Behaviour ground.”