Jarome Bell has also embraced conspiracy theories and opposed LGBTQ rights.
Republican House candidate Jarome Bell has a history of promoting antisemitic conspiracy theories and making exploitative comments about the Holocaust. On Wednesday, he touted the endorsement of Michele Bachmann, a former U.S. representative who has called for converting Jewish people to Christianity.
Bell, who is seeking his party's nomination to challenge Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria in Virginia's 2nd Congressional District, boasted on Facebook, "Congresswoman Bachmann recognizes, I am the only one capable of carrying the torch she vehemently carried through the halls of Congress. Bachmann carried this passion with strength and dedication while never backing down, being silenced, or caving in to the demands of the Marxist agendas perpetrated by the communist left!"
Bachmann, whose five terms representing Minnesota were marked by her anti-LGBTQ extremism and her suggestions that American Jews "sold out Israel" by electing President Barack Obama, told hate group leader Tony Perkins in 2015 that Christians needed to do a better job of convincing Jews to stop being Jewish.
"We recognize the shortness of the hour," she said, "and that's why we as a remnant want to be faithful in these days and do what it is that the Holy Spirit is speaking to each one of us, to be faithful in the Kingdom and to help bring in as many as we can — even among the Jews — share Jesus Christ with everyone that we possibly can because, again, He's coming soon."
The American Independent Foundation made multiple attempts to obtain a comment from Bell for this article. When finally reached for comment, a spokesman stated in a lengthy email response that Bell's comments on Soros and LGBTQ civil rights laws were not antisemitic or transphobic and argued that there was evidence to support the Jan. 6 conspiracies Bell has backed. "On a personal note, I'd just like to add that my Husband and I know Jarome Bell to be neither Anti-Semitic nor Homophobic," the spokesman wrote.
In a follow-up email, the official requested that he be identified as a "spokesman," emphasizing, that he was "a Gay-married Man whose Jewish family *lost relatives in the Holocaust*."
Bell has made antisemitic comments in the past as well.
In October, Bell told the right-wing site National File that Luria — the first Jewish woman ever to represent Virginia in Congress — was wrong to call out antisemitic dog whistle attacks against progressive philanthropist George Soros.
"Elaine Luria uses her Jewish heritage like Democrats use blacks when they race bait," Bell scolded. "Typical Democrat. She's a Soros puppet. Didn't Soros help round up the jewels of the Jewish of the Holocaust with the Nazis?" The right-wing smear that Soros (who is Jewish) was a Nazi sympathizer who stole from Jews has been widely debunked.
That same month, the Forward (a prominent news site aimed at a Jewish American audience) spotlighted Bell as one of a growing number of GOP candidates who "have promoted the idea that strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are comparable to the sufferings of Hitler's victims."
The story noted that he had compared vaccine requirements to Nazi eugenics programs, likened NFL players wearing bands showing whether they had been vaccinated to "Dachau or Auschwitz serial numbers," and argued that unvaccinated people's "lives shouldn't change nor should we be subjected the Nazi-style treatment of being marked."
In November, Bell likened COVID-19 safety requirements in Austria to the Holocaust, writing: "So maybe it will start to hit home now that it's happening in Austria. The people are being divided by Aryans and Jews. Uh…I mean Vaccinated and Unvaccinated."
He made a similar claim the following month, posting, "Germany has locked down the Jews, I mean the unvaccinated in the country."
The Auschwitz Memorial in Poland has explicitly condemned analogies of this type, warning, "Exploiting of the tragedy of all people who between 1933-45 suffered, were humiliated, tortured & murdered by the totalitarian regime of Nazi Germany to argue against vaccination that saves human lives is a sad symptom of moral and intellectual decay."
He has repeatedly attacked one of his opponents, Republican state Sen. Jen Kiggans, for voting for a bipartisan 2020 law banning discrimination against LGBTQ Virginians in employment and public accommodations.
Asked last year by the website Ballotpedia which representatives he wanted to model himself after, Bell named white-nationalist-linked Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and conspiracy theorist Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH).
Bell opposed the removal of Richmond's Robert E. Lee Monument last September, calling it part of a "Marxist and Communist takeover."
That same month, he made national headlines for tweeting conspiracy theories that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump and demanding that everyone involved be killed. "Audit all 50 states," he demanded. "Arrest all involved. Try all involved. Convict all involved. Execute all involved.#MaricopaCountyFraud"
Bachmann is not the first GOP fringe figure to endorse Bell.
In August, he received backing from Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Flynn was fired by Trump after less than a month in office for lying to the FBI and accepted a pardon in late 2020 for his crimes.
This story was updated to include comments from a Bell official and to correct their requested identity from a "spokesperson" to "spokesman."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.