Accusations of anti-Semitism surface for US Republican candidates

GOP leaders are in the process of ousting Republican candidates such as Arthur Jones, Paul Nehlen, and Fredy Burgos, the latter of which expressed his preference for Christian rather than Jewish elected officials.

By: Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Fredy Burgos is a Republican party official in Virginia who serves on the state’s GOP central committee and holds an elected position on the party committee of Fairfax County, which is comprised of suburbs of Washington, D.C. He is a fervent supporter of President Trump and has been known to make anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant statements that have made his colleagues uncomfortable.

This week, however, Burgos apparently crossed the anti-Semitic line as well. Burgos’ troubles arrive on the heels of a Republican candidate in Illinois named Arthur Jones being exposed for his anti-Semitic and racist views.

While campaigning for a non-Jewish candidate who is running for the chairmanship of the Fairfax County Republican Committee against a Jewish rival, Burgos posted on Facebook a 19th-century quote from John Jay, America’s first chief justice of the Supreme Court, that declared that it is the privilege of a Christian nation “to select and prefer Christian rulers.”

In the post, Burgos also wrote, “Having a preference for Christians over non-Christians as political leaders is not bigoted. It is a preference and a duty we are allowed.”

A deluge of criticism followed, with top Republicans in the state calling for his removal. Rep. Barbara Comstock, whose district includes a substantial Jewish community, said, “Fredy Burgos and his bigoted, backwards views have no place in the Republican Party — the party of Lincoln and Reagan. It is long past time for him to step aside from any official Republican position.”

John Whitbeck, the state party chairman, said that the process for removing Burgos from his position, which involves a petition and a two-thirds vote of committee members, has already begun.

Several Jewish organizations thanked the Virginia GOP for taking such swift action. The Anti-Defamation League’s Washington office commended them “for making it clear that religious intolerance has no place in the state.”

It is possible that Burgos will voluntarily step down, but this doesn’t seem imminent, as he maintains that his comments were misconstrued. In another Facebook post, he defended himself by saying, “As an evangelical Christian, nobody loves the Jewish people and Israel more than I.”

In addition to Burgos and Jones, the GOP is also dealing with Paul Nehlen’s anti-Semitic statements on social media. Nehlen, who is running to unseat US House of Representatives Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan in this year’s elections, was ousted from the Republican Party of Wisconsin after being banned from Twitter for his anti-Jewish statements and ideas.