Former KKK Leader Claims He Has ‘Lots of Jewish Friends,’ Calls Himself ‘Human Rights Activist’
by Shiryn Ghermezian
Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke claimed not to be a racist during an interview with a Guardian reporter published on Wednesday and asserted that he has “a lot of friends who are Jewish.”
“I call myself a human rights activist,” Duke stressed.
Duke is back in the news because of Steve Scalise, the current House majority whip, who was revealed by a Louisiana blogger to have attended a 2002 conference of the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, which was founded by Duke.
Born in Oklahoma, the son of an oil company engineer, Duke attended Louisiana State University in the 1960s, with the civil rights movement stirring around him. He became infamous on campus for wearing swastika armbands and giving pro-Nazi speeches, the Guardian reported. When civil rights activist William Kunstler gave a speech at Tulane University in New Orleans, Duke attended wearing a Nazi uniform.
In 1967, after graduating from LSU, Duke founded the Ku Klux Klan splinter group the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (KKKK) and became the group’s Grand Wizard.
Looking back, Duke said he regretted his involvement with the Klan.
“I’m a human being, I made mistakes,” he said.