Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke spewed anti-Semitic conspiracy theories at a Louisiana Senate debate in New Orleans Wednesday, telling an empty auditorium that Jews control banks and the media, and suggesting that Hillary Clinton is in thrall to Jewish interests.
“There is a problem in America with a very strong, powerful, tribal group that dominates our media and dominates our international banking,” Duke said.
(He was talking about the Jews).
Hours after the debate ended, Duke tweeted what appeared to be an anti-Semitic threat, consisting of bull’s-eye inside the triple-parenthesis used by Internet anti-Semites to identify Jews.
“We will NEVER give up our heritage — we aren’t playing,” Duke wrote.
Long the most prominent anti-Semitic white nationalist in the United States, Duke is polling at 5% in Louisiana’s Senate race, high enough to qualify for the debate. The debate was held at a historically black college and aired nationally on C-SPAN. Organizers chose to allow no audience in the auditorium.
Duke was petulant, arguing with the moderator for extra time to respond to attacks from his opponents and accusing the moderator of bias. “This is the kind of fixed politics we have in this country,” Duke said.
Duke at times spoke obliquely about blacks and Jews, and at times directly. “I’m not opposed to all Jews,” Duke said. “There are a lot of Jews I honor. But let me tell you something: I’m against Jews, and anybody else, that puts the interest of some other place, another country over our own country. That is controlling and dominating and media, which is teaching black people and inspiring black people to hate white people and inciting them to violence.”
Duke also suggested that Clinton is controlled by Jewish interests, and said that she should be executed.
“Miss Clinton has seven major international banking and media supporters,” he said. “This is the largest money she’s getting… The seven largest are all people who support the tribalist bankers, who support the Federal Reserve. That’s the reality of it.”
Duke supports Donald Trump for president, and has encouraged his voters to vote for him and Trump as a sort of joint ticket. When asked about Duke’s support early this year, Trump refused to respond, denying that he knew who Duke was. (Multiple fact-checking websites disbelieved that claim.) .Trump later disavowed Duke.
Josh Nathan-Kazis is a staff writer for the Forward. He covers charities and politics, and writes investigations and longform.