Denying the Holocaust, Running for Congress

Jewish Light Editorial

Democrats have won 24 of the last 25 elections in Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District in the Chicago area. Now, a perennial candidate who is running unopposed for the GOP nomination in the March 20 primary should easily help to extend that record.

Candidate Arthur Jones says the Holocaust never happened and is “nothing more than an international extortion racket by the Jews.”

Jones, who has long been on the radar of the Anti-Defamation League, was the only candidate to file for the Republican primary to represent the district that includes parts of Chicago plus some suburban areas. The deadline to run as an independent or register as a write-in candidate has passed, so it appears that GOP voters in the district will have Jones, incumbent Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski or challenger Marie Newman, a Democrat, to choose from in the fall.

It’s not as if the 70-year-old Jones entered the race with solid support. The ADL calls Jones and his wife the founding and maybe the only members of the neo-Nazi America First Committee, which operates under the umbrella of the Nationalist Front. He has taken part in events celebrating the birthday of Adolf Hitler.

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A section of his campaign website titled “Holocaust?” includes a page headlined “The Ko$her Food Scam” and the statement that “This idea that ‘SIX MILLION JEWS,’ were killed by the National Socialist government in Germany, in World War II, is the biggest, blackest, lie in history.”

The Illinois GOP wants no part of Jones. Its chairman, Tim Schneider, said in a statement:

“The Illinois Republican Party and 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.”

Still, his major-party candidacy is likely to give Jones a megaphone for his hateful opinions. And others of his ilk have managed to worm their way into the national political debate.

For example, the ADL says Holocaust denier Chuck Johnson, who has said the Auschwitz extermination camps and gas chambers never existed, has been the Washington guest of two GOP members of Congress in the last couple of years. And Joe Arpaio, the notorious former sheriff and current U.S. Senate candidate from Arizona, has given interviews to the American Free Press, which the ADL brands “a longstanding white supremacist, anti-Semitic ‘news’ website.” 

Candidates like Jones present a genuine dilemma for responsible news organizations. Do they give him the same coverage they would give to anyone running under the banner of a major party, to let their audience see exactly what he stands for? Or does that straightforward approach play right into the hands of racists and Nazi sympathizers, giving them the platform they seek even while they know they have no chance of winning at the polls?

Editors at each outlet will have to decide for themselves how much coverage of Jones is fit to print or to broadcast. Enlightened voters may wince when they hear slurs against the Jews and other hate-filled rhetoric, but we trust they will send their own more proper message in the fall.