The Intelligence Report is the SPLC's award-winning magazine. Subscribe here for a print copy.

David Duke Plugs His Book in Spain

Duke Plugs Book and Fairy Tales on European Tour

Globetrotting neo-Nazi David Duke was in Spain last fall to warn Spaniards that their country is "suffering the greatest threat to its people's heritage and freedom since the Moorish invasion of 711" — and to simultaneously deny that he was a white supremacist or anti-Semite or "against anybody in particular."

That might come as a surprise to those who know Duke's background as the former leader of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and similar groups, the author of Jewish Supremacism: My Awakening on the Jewish Question, an associate of most of America's neo-Nazi and other white supremacist leaders, and the man who once picketed leftists with a swastika armband and a "Gas the Chicago 7" sign.

But such facts have never troubled Duke, who has toured Europe frequently in recent years to sell his book, Jewish Supremacism. In Spain, he told a packed auditorium in Valladolid that when he talks about "Jewish supremacism," he refers only to "Jewish extremists and those who try to impose their supremacy." Indeed, Duke portrayed himself simply as a truth-loving champion of free speech.

Duke, who once served as a Louisiana state representative, also got a job promotion of sorts. In much of the radical press — and even on Expatica, a website that reports on European news for American expatriates living abroad — Duke was described as a "U.S. historian" and "former congressman." He is neither.

Duke's visit did provoke protests from some of the less gullible, including a group of intellectuals and politicians who filed a complaint with a court describing Duke as a "Nazi apologist." As the group noted, Spanish law prohibits activities that could incite racist or anti-Semitic discrimination, hatred or violence.

Also last November, Spain's Constitutional Court ruled that Holocaust denial is protected free speech and cannot be punished by prison — a legal position taken by a few European countries but not by many others. At the same time, however, the Spanish court said offenders can be imprisoned for justifying the Holocaust, conduct that would be protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.