August 16, 2006


A Split In the Racist Right (Heidi Beirich and Mark Potok, August 16, 2006, Intelligence Report)

For a gathering of people devoted to denouncing the inferiority of blacks and sounding the alarm about civilization-threatening Muslims, the biannual conferences thrown by the New Century Foundation, publisher of the racist newsletter American Renaissance, are decidedly genteel affairs. Men dress in suits and ties, women in formal business attire, and there are no uniformed skinheads or Klansmen to be seen. Large plasma television screens, Starbucks coffee spreads and fancy linens adorn the hotel meeting hall. Epithets have no place here.

Or at least they didn't. At the latest edition of the conferences that began in 1994, held this February at the Hyatt Dulles hotel, a nasty spat broke out that upset the gathering's decorum -- and may even shape the future of the radical right.

It began when David Duke, the former Klan leader and author of Jewish Supremacism, strode to a microphone after French author Guillaume Faye wrapped up a talk vilifying Muslims entitled "The Threat to the West." Duke thanked Faye for remarks that "touched my genes." But then he went one further.

"There is a power in the world that dominates our media, influences our government and that has led to the internal destruction of our will and spirit," Duke said, according to an undisputed account in The Forward newspaper.

"Tell us, tell us," someone in the back yelled.

"I'm not going to say it," Duke replied. Laughter began to fill the room, until a short, angry man leaped from his seat, walked up to Duke and began to curse.

"You f[***]ing Nazi, you've disgraced this meeting!" he said.

And with that, Michael Hart, a Jewish astrophysicist and long-time attendee at American Renaissance conferences, headed for the door. As many as 50 people at the conference began to jeer and point at the rapidly disappearing Hart.

This extraordinary incident marked the beginning of an open rift between those on the radical right who see blacks, Hispanics and Muslims as the primary enemy, and those who say "the Jews" are ultimately behind every evil -- a split that has usually stayed just below the surface but now threatens a leading institution of American extremism. While in the past he has managed to bridge this divide mainly by ignoring it, American Renaissance founder Jared Taylor now must finally come to terms with the split. His dilemma boils down to this: Throw out the anti-Semites and try to build a larger movement with electoral possibilities like those increasingly seen in Britain and Germany; or openly join hands with the very energetic neo-Nazis, even though that means the loss of any remaining shred of respectability.

These guys should have their own wing at Guantanamo.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 16, 2006 8:13 AM

Compared to some of the other stuff being put forth nowadays on mainstream op-ed pages here and in Europe, Duke's comments from 12 years ago seem almost quaint in their reluctance to put full-fledged lunacy on display by not naming the "power". If he used a pseudonym and wrote up the same comments today, he'd have no trouble getting them published in many places on the far right and far left.

Posted by: John at August 16, 2006 9:36 AM

. . . openly join hands with the very energetic neo-Nazis . . .

Oh, you mean, when David Duke and Stormfront came out in support of Cindy Sheehan?

Posted by: Mike Morley at August 16, 2006 10:53 PM

Has David Duke endorsed Ned Lamont yet?

Posted by: jim hamlen at August 16, 2006 11:37 PM