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The GOP's drift into anti-Semitism
Thu Feb 8, 2018 6:26am

Holocaust Deniers and Other Anti-Semites Making Inroads into Mainstream U.S. Politics


Holocaust deniers and other anti-Semites are making their presence felt in mainstream American politics. Whether they are running for high-profile offices themselves, or aligning themselves with candidates in races around the country, members of the extremist right – and their racist, anti-Semitic views – are experiencing more exposure today than at any time in recent history.

While extremists’ involvement in politics is not new, the country’s major political parties have historically kept fringe candidates and their ideologies at arm’s length.

In one case, the Holocaust denier himself is running for office. In Illinois, former American Nazi Party head Arthur Jones will be the Republican nominee for US Representative for the state’s 3rd Congressional District. The vocal white supremacist and Holocaust denier is running unopposed for the Republican nomination, and will face incumbent Representative Dan Lipinski or challenger Marie Newman in the general election.

While few believe Jones has any chance of winning the 3rd, where voters have elected a Democrat in 24 of the last 25 Congressional races, as a major-party candidate for a statewide seat, Jones will have a significant platform for his hateful views. The candidate’s website pairs “America First” language with outright Holocaust denial, including a “Holocaust Racket” diatribe that blames “Organized World Jewry” for perpetrating “the biggest, blackest lie in history.”

In other cases, major party elected officials are providing Holocaust deniers a public platform (and public validation).

In October 2017, U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) hosted Holocaust denier Chuck Johnson at a meeting with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Johnson has questioned the number of Jewish victims of the Holocaust, and has theorized that the Auschwitz concentration camp and gas chambers never existed.

In February 2018, U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) welcomed Johnson as his guest at the State of the Union address. Even after he was provided with background materials on Johnson, Gaetz declined to rescind his invitation.

Mississippi state senator Chris McDaniel made a January 2018 appearance on Ian Trottier’s radio program, ostensibly to discuss his new book. Trottier is a known anti-Semite and enthusiastic conspiracy theorist, who believes 9/11 may have been perpetrated by the “World Zionist Organization.”

In Arizona, U.S. Senate candidate and former Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio has given five interviews since 2014 to the American Free Press, a longstanding white supremacist, anti-Semitic “news” website founded by Holocaust denier Willis Carto.

Meanwhile, Paul Nehlen, a Wisconsin Republican who hopes to unseat House Speaker Paul Ryan, is increasingly touting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and unapologetically racist views from his official Twitter account and on white supremacist podcasts.

Nehlen, a businessman with no political experience, continues to post overtly anti-Semitic, racist and anti-immigrant messages, many of which have been promoted widely by accounts linked to alt righters and other white supremacists, including Richard Spencer and David Duke.

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