Controversy has risen in the 3rd congressional district of Illinois as an avowed white supremacist Arthur Jones stands ready to win the Republican nomination. He is the only GOP candidate in the race. Does this serve as proof of the claim that the GOP is becoming more anti-Semitic and racist under the presidency of Donald Trump?
In Jones' own words, he says he regrets even voting for Trump because Trump has since "surrounded himself with hordes of Jews." Also, on his campaign web site, he claims, "I am not now, nor have I ever been a follower of any political party, though I am a registered Republican."
Arthur Jones is not part of mainstream politics. He is a reminder that anti-Semitic political forces, which began appealing to a larger base in the early 1990s, are still in existence. He has run in numerous elections in the 3rd congressional district of Illinois beginning in the 1990's, losing the Republican primaries in 1998, 2006, 2008, and 2012.
Jones was also willing to run in the 2016 election against Democrat incumbent Daniel Lipinski. Prior to the election, his name was removed from the ballot by the Republican Party, leaving Lipinski to run unopposed.
To understand Arthur Jones, it is important to know his background and the wave of anti-Semitism in which his beliefs were developed, often being disguised as anti-Israeli rhetoric and Holocaust denial.
According to this video, Jones re-founded the “American First Committee” in the 1980s, originally formed in 1940 to prevent America from entering WWII. He reestablished the group to prevent further American wars in the Middle East on behalf of “Israeli lobbyists” and “Jewish business interests."
This brings to light the distasteful use of Trump’s “American First” slogan, which was immediately called out for appealing to white supremacists.
In another video from a 1992 interview on “A Closer Look,” Jones made several other statements that suggest he was influenced by anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric emerging after the Israeli-Palestinian Six-Day War in 1967.
This event fueled leftist narratives claiming that Israelis were attempting to steal Palestinian land. Historically, however, Israel was attacked before going on the offensive and even gave back much of the land it gained. More importantly, this war marked a beginning for many Holocaust denial studies that deniers would use for years to come.
This included Paul Rassinier, a Communist imprisoned by the Nazis during WWII who claimed in 1964 the gas chambers were an invention of a “Zionist establishment.” Denial of the Holocaust was also presented in books such as "The Six Million Swindle: Blackmailing the German People for Hard Masks with Fabricated Corpses" by Austin J. Happ in 1973.
These arguments can be seen in Jones' comments as well. It is highlighted especially when an audience member asked in the 1992 interview, “What do you think of the Holocaust? Or do you believe that it existed?”
Jones replied saying that the Holocaust “is the greatest overblown non-event in history.” As the host tried to interrupt, Jones continued, “It was an international extortion racket for the Jews to extort money out of the West German people.”
When the host mentioned the six million Jews who died, Jones replied, “Poppycock!”
Despite the evidence against these assertions, more denial literature followed. It was soon picked-up by anti-Semitic political parties and leading figures emerging in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
These figures included white supremacist David Duke, who won a seat in the Louisiana state legislature in 1990 as a Democrat. Republican Pat Buchanan, too, espoused the same feelings as Jones toward the Holocaust in the 1990s. Jean Marie Le Pen also started making gains in his bid for the French presidency in 1987.
Arthur Jones noticed this trend. He would have also been familiar with the parents who pulled their kids out of an Illinois school in 1990 for introducing Holocaust studies to its curriculum. He makes mention of this on his website. If there was ever a time for Jones to win a seat in Congress, it was the 1990s.
Yet, hardly anyone votes for him. Not then, not now.
In the 1992 interview, an audience member mentioned that it was a good thing when people like Jones voice themselves. We can then “take them for what they are” and call out their ignorance, and he's right.
Jones may run as a Republican, just as David Duke ran as a Democrat, but that is only a ploy to receive a wider appeal. These people are un-American white supremacists that have no place as candidates in any party.