Skip to main content

Neo-Nazi candidate courts Arab American vote in Chicago

Arab Americans cannot endorse Arthur Jones's criticism of Israel because it is rooted in anti-Semitism, Arab American Institute says
White supremacist rally in Newnan, Georgia on 21 April (AFP/file photo)

Arthur Jones is a far-right white nationalist. He wants to ban "sanctuary cities," deport "illegal aliens" and make English the official language of the United States.

The likes of Jones, a congressional candidate in the Chicago area who detests immigration from "third-world, non-white, or non-Christian" countries, would not normally be fond of Arabs and Muslims.

Jones, however, is seeking their vote.

The Holocaust denier who is not coy about demonising the Jewish people and voicing support for white supremacy, won his party's nomination in March as the sole Republican candidate in the race, receiving more than 20,000 votes.

The district, which includes parts of Chicago and its surrounding suburbs is home to a safe Democratic seat. Its current congressman, Daniel Lipinski, ran unopposed in 2016 and won 65 percent of the votes in 2014.

Lipinski, a centrist Democrat, will face off against Jones in November.

Arabs and Muslims have been increasingly voting for Democrats because of Republicans' anti-immigration policies and talking points that stoke a fear of Islam. Still, Jones is making a push to promote right-wing ideals in Chicago's Arab community.

Jones ran an Arabic ad in a bilingual newspaper in Chicago touting his opposition to US aid to Israel and highlighting his Democratic opponent's financial ties to the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC.

The ad also proclaimed that Jones opposes abortions and gay marriage, a likely nod to the socially conservative Arab American community.

The far-right candidate used the Arab American Institute's (AAI) "Yalla Vote" logo without authorisation in the ad.

Whether from the right or the left, there is no place for anti-Semitism as a wedge issue to win support. It's wrong.

- James Zogby, AAI

The Institute's foundation sent an official cease and desist letter to Jones on Tuesday, objecting to the use of its logo.

"The attempt to co-opt a decades-old, inclusive civic empowerment campaign by a white nationalist who seeks to institutionalize hatred, bigotry, and anti-Semitism is deeply offensive and must not be allowed," AAI said in a statement.

The Chicago area is home to tens of thousands of Palestinian Americans, according to AAI.

James Zogby, AAI president, said Arab Americans cannot endorse Jones's criticism of Israel because it is rooted in anti-Semitism.

"We've been clear from the beginning… people who use either anti-Semitic or anti-Muslim or anti-Arab rhetoric, these are not our allies," Zogby told MEE. "Whether from the right or the left, there is no place for anti-Semitism as a wedge issue to win support. It's wrong."  

When MEE contacted Future News, the bilingual newspaper that ran the ad. The person who answered the phone branded Jones as "crazy," dismissing the controversy as "not worth a story". He did not identify himself before hanging up.

Jones has been repudiated by the Republican Party in Illinois, which described him as a Nazi earlier this year.

"Arthur Jones is not a real Republican - he is a Nazi whose disgusting, bigoted views have no place in our nation's discourse," the Illinois GOP said in a statement earlier this year.