Posted by Omar Baddar on October 24, 2018 in Blog
The Arab American Institute Foundation (AAIF) demands that Illinois Republican congressional candidate and self-proclaimed former Nazi Arthur Jones immediately end all use of AAIF’s YallaVote name and logo. AAIF sent Art Jones an official Cease and Desist letter on Tuesday after discovering the misappropriation of the YallaVote name and logo in a campaign advertisement supporting Art Jones. 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.
Without permission or consent, the Art Jones campaign used AAIF’s YallaVote logo in the October 15, 2018 edition of Future newspaper. AAIF is the exclusive creator and owner of the “YallaVote” name and logo. The YallaVote campaign, launched in 1998, was created to empower Arab Americans through voter engagement, and embodies AAIF’s values of non-discrimination on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, country of origin, sex, gender, ability and sexual orientation.
In sharp contrast, Art Jones espouses dangerous anti-Semitic ideology and was the former leader of the American Nazi Party. He now leads the America First Committee which “is open to any white American citizen of European, non-Jewish descent,” as Jones told the Chicago Sun Times in February. Jones also called the Holocaust “the biggest blackest lie in history.” In June, he told Politico that he is running against a “two-party, Jew-party, queer-party system.”
The Chicago metropolitan area is home to a large and diverse Arab American community including tens of thousands of Palestinian Americans. With the theft of AAIF’s well-regarded and widely known YallaVote logo, Art Jones seems to think he can win over Arab Americans who are critical of Israeli policy. But Holocaust denial and rabid anti-Semitism must not be conflated in this way and Arab Americans find his reprehensible tactics hurtful and offensive.
AAIF President Dr. James Zogby stated, “Arab Americans won’t tolerate a campaign that falsely courts them with bigotry. We stand for free speech, inclusivity, and equality for all. Art Jones cannot use AAIF’s YallaVote logo in a shameful attempt to exploit criticism of Israel to build support for his anti-Semitic and homophobic agenda. This despicable ad not only targets our Jewish and LGBTQ communities, it also does grave harm to the Arab American community. Jones is attempting to usurp our community’s real interests and civic empowerment initiatives as a cover for his hateful ideologies and we won’t tolerate it. In using the YallaVote logo in campaign materials only weeks from the election, Jones implies Arab American voters might be receptive to his hateful bigotry. Nothing could be further from the truth. We unequivocally reject him and his hate-filled campaign.”
The Art Jones campaign’s use of AAIF’s visual identity threatens to undermine AAIF’s core values of inclusivity and nonpartisanship. AAIF forcefully denies any attempt to imply shared interests between AAIF or the Arab American community and the Art Jones campaign or his bigoted agenda. AAIF’s Cease and Desist letter demands that the Art Jones campaign end its use of the YallaVote logo and correct the record in the next edition of Future newspaper.
About AAIF: The Arab American Institute Foundation’s goal is to encourage, recognize, and celebrate Arab American participation in American civic life, and to cultivate and mobilize a strong, educated, empowered Arab American community that can play a meaningful role in developing and improving U.S. policies. A not-for-profit affiliate of the Arab American Institute (AAI), the Foundation supports programs that promote greater awareness of Arab Americans in the United States, demographic research and international outreach. The AAIF serves as the primary national resource on the Arab American experience for the media, academia, government agencies and the private sector. Through its numerous outreach programs, the AAIF builds leadership skills among students and young professionals and informs the American public, government agencies and organizations about the contributions and concerns of Americans of Arab descent.