David Duke awarded doctorate by Ukrainian university; continues anti-Semitic attacks
In mid-August, David Duke attempted to capitalize on the news coverage of Cindy Sheehan's anti-war protest outside President Bush's Texas ranch, announcing that Sheehan supported his claim that the U.S. launched the war in Iraq for the sake of protecting Israel. "Courageously [Cindy Sheehan] has gone to Texas," Duke wrote in a posting on his homepage, going on to describe Sheehan as braving "a hostile Jewish supremacist media" to demand an explanation for "why her son and other's sons and daughters must die and be disfigured in a war for Israel rather than for America." Duke was basing his claim about Sheehan on a flurry of Internet rumors alleging that Sheehan had made anti-Israel statements. Sheehan has since publicly repudiated the alleged comments, but Duke's site still contains this posting.
In late August, David Duke traveled to Sweden to meet with like-minded Scandinavian racists and give two speeches at a "Nordic Alliance Festival," sponsored by the Nordiska Foerbundet [Nordic Association] and Nordiska Foerlaget, an extreme right-wing publishing house. Postings on neo-Nazi Web sites indicate that about 300 people attended the festival, which also featured a speech by Klaus Menzel, an elected representative of the far-right German NPD party in the German state of Saxony.
After the festival, Duke cut short a trip to Eastern Europe when he learned that Hurricane Katrina had damaged his office and home in Mandeville, Louisiana. He called for financial contributions and volunteers to assist with rebuilding. He also inveighed against minority looters in the area and used this opportunity to make racist statements on his Web site, saying, "We are getting a very brutal lesson in the harm that a large Black population can cause."
Duke was awarded a doctorate in history in September 2005 by MAUP -- the Interregional Academy of Personnel Management, a major private university system in the Ukraine. His dissertation topic was, predictably, "Zionism as a Form of Ethnic Supremacism." He had earlier been given an honorary doctorate by the same university, where he has lectured occasionally since 2002. During his doctoral defense Duke alleged that "Jewish supremacism and extremism [are] growing even more radical," and that extremists have taken over Israel. MAUP has over 30,000 students and branches throughout the Ukraine, and is known for training many of the country's senior civil servants. The university's leaders have a reputation for promoting anti-Semitism; it is for that reason that Israel asked Ukraine's president to prohibit MAUP's president, Dr. Georgy Tchokin, from running in the next Ukrainian parliamentary elections. Duke's dissertation committee was headed by University Rector Prof. Mykola Golavatiy, the former Minister for Ukrainian Youth Affairs. Unfortunately, Duke's new Ph.D. may add authority, for some, to his writings and rhetoric.
In October, Duke was a guest on Hisham Telawi's Current Issues show, a local cable TV program broadcast from Lafayette, Louisiana. The show has featured numerous guests espousing anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, and Holocaust denial conspiracy theories, including Kevin MacDonald, Michael Collins Piper, Norman Finkelstein, Ingrid Zundel, and Paul Fromm. On the show, Duke tried to convince his audience that the U.S. has more to fear from Jews and Israel than from Muslim extremists.