Arthur Jones, an Illinois Republican, has tried to get his name on the ballot for the state’s 3rd Congressional District seat eight times. The man has unsuccessfully run for public office in the Chicago and Milwaukee areas since the 1970’s. But the eighth time might just be the charm for Jones since he’s running unopposed in the GOP primary on March 20.
There’s a temptation to feel pleased for Jones, in a you-finally-did-it, perseverance-is-key, kind of way. Except, Jones is a blatant racist and anti-semite who denies historical realities, like the Holocaust.
On his campaign website, called “Art Jones for Congressman,” there’s a tab titled “Holocaust?” in which he describes the “idea that six million jews were killed by the national socialist government of Germany” as the “biggest, blackest lie in history.”
Jones has taken denial to another level, stuffing his head so far in the sand that it’s practically an art form.
“Well first of all, I’m running for Congress, not the chancellor of Germany, alright?” Jones told the Chicago Sun-Times. “To me, the Holocaust is what I said it is: It’s an international extortion racket.”
Luckily, Jones has a one in whatever-our-national-debt-is chance of winning the congressional seat. Illinois’s 3rd congressional district is “safely Democratic,” according to Ballotpedia, meaning that thanks to gerrymandering, the district has always voted blue. Dan Lipinski, the Democratic incumbent who is known for his pro-life, moderate views, has held the seat since 2005 and won’t be giving it up to a former leader of the American Nazi Party, a position Jones bragged about to the Sun-Times. He was right to pat himself on the back: Besides being an unrepentant bigot for the last 50 years, that might just be his greatest accomplishment.
But Jones is not alone. Renowned historians, artists, and leaders across the globe partake in the ludicrousy that is Holocaust denial and have done so since the day Germany surrendered. And although many are not as radical as Jones, who believes the Jews — “bloodthirsty, criminal vampires” — have conned the world with their “tall tale of woe and misfortune,” there are many who believe the facts of the Holocaust have been distorted.
A 2014 study by the Anti-Defamation League showed that 22 percent of Christians, 48 percent of Hindus, 28 percent of Buddhists, and 51 percent of Muslims around the world, all under the age of 65, believe the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust has been exaggerated. That same report provided an even more shocking statistic: 54 percent of the world knows about the Holocaust, and the majority of those who do learned about it from television.
Jones must have been thrilled when this study was released: “This nonsense is part of a mandatory course on the Holocaust required of every single high school in the state of Illinois! What a waste of taxpayers money!”
But what do Jones & Co. gain from Holocaust denial? In the Middle East, leaders of Muslim countries intentionally keep their people in the dark so they can continue to wage war on the state of Israel, justifying the continuous conflict they instigate by spoon feeding their people propaganda that claims Jews are vermin and Israel has no right to exist — just like the Nazis did to the German people in World War II.
And in Poland, the Parliament passed a bill last week that imposes prison sentences of up to three years for mentioning the term “Polish death camps” or for suggesting “publicly and against the facts” that Poland was involved in Nazi Germany’s war crimes. The bill is absurd, but could it also reflect a deep fear within Polish officials of being historically comparable to Nazi leaders, of being marked with such a permanent stain? Perhaps.
But what about a man like Jones? His website says governments that support education about the Holocaust — “pure Kosher bologna” — do so for one reason: “It’s good business for the Jews and their beloved bandit state of Israel.”
Hatred of Israel and its alliance with the U.S. is becoming all too common — especially on America’s college campuses — and it certainly plays a role in Jones’s deluded thinking. But that doesn’t cut it. So, why does Jones deny the Holocaust? The answer is simple: Because he is a spiteful, hate-filled, pathetic loser who hates the Jews purely for the sake of hating the Jews. Just like Hitler and the countless other anti-semites before and after the Holocaust, Jones justifies his anti-semitism with made-up excuses to conceal the fact that he would despise the Jewish race without ever having a reason to do so.
And this is the man who could represent the GOP during Illinois’s midterm election. Fortunately, representatives of the Illinois Republican Party have condemned Jones’s campaign. Tim Schneider, chairman of the Illinois GOP, said Jones has no real connection to the party: “The Illinois Republican Party and our country have no place for Nazis like Arthur Jones,” Schneider said in a statement. “We strongly oppose his racist views and his candidacy for any public office, including the 3rd Congressional District.”
But unless the GOP steps up and throws its weight behind a write-in campaign to ensure Jones’s eighth attempt fails once again, the letter “R” will sit beside his name on the ballot come November. A Republican myself, this might just be the first time I am thankful for a “safely Democratic” district.
Kaylee McGhee is a junior studying politics.