As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic drags on, the number of terrible conspiracies and ridiculous “miracle” cures continue to proliferate. People are dying from taking chloroquine or ingesting bleach or holding blow dryers to their faces. Hucksters are advertising colloidal silver as a remedy.
Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes suspects the virus is a Chinese “bioweapon.” Jared Taylor thinks xenophobia could have prevented this disaster. And of course some deranged people are finding a way — any way — to pin some blame on the Jews.
Enter David Duke, an antisemitic half-melted wax figure, who floated the conspiracy that Israel may have spread COVID-19 to Iran with the goal of killing the Iranian regime’s leadership.
During the March 9th episode of The David Duke Show, Duke and co-host Patrick Slattery discussed this possibility — after complaining that people are being called “racists” for using racist names to refer to the virus. Duke lamented that “you can’t even call the virus the Wuhan virus” because of our “Zio-controlled media.”
Then he rattled off a list of his favorite racist terms for COVID-19, some of which have been adopted by conservative pundits. “Another joke name for it, I’ve heard, is the bat soup fever,” said Duke. “But I think the most popular joke name for this virus is the kung flu virus.”
After a White House official reportedly directed the “kung flu” slur at an Asian-American reporter, right-wing pundit Erick Erickson tweeted “YES!!!” before deleting his tweet. The Daily Wire’s Michael Knowles also called the virus the “kung flu” in a March 8th tweet. As did right-wing social media personality Carmine Sabia.
Duke then discussed the accusation “some Iranian scholars” and “investigators” have made that “Zionists” infected their country with the virus. Duke said that there were “lots of different methods” that could be used to do this, including “put[ting] it in a bottle of hand sanitizer,” or into “plumbing systems,” or into a “soap dispenser.”
“Now, that may sound diabolical but I just wanna remind our listeners — and I’m not saying this has happened because we don’t know — but [let’s] just remind our listeners that the Zionists have done a lot of very diabolical things,” Duke said.
“The Epstein ring that totally abused — and sexually used — these underage girls was a very diabolical thing,” he added. He also claimed that Jews helped force the U.S. into World War I and World War II, and “led the … Bolshevik Revolution that killed tens of millions of people” — as examples of their “diabolical” acts.
Then, Duke alleged that Israel had been working on a biological weapon that could target certain racial or ethnic groups — like the Palestinians. While Duke referenced an unnamed Telegraph article to make this point, antisemites have for years claimed Israel was working on such a weapon.
As early as 1998, Mark Weber of the Holocaust-denying Institute for Historical Review had written that “Israel is working on an ‘ethnically targeted’ biological weapon that would kill or harm Arabs but not Jews.” Weber cited a ludicrous London Times article as evidence of this.
(Hugh McManners, who was credited with “[a]dditional reporting” for the article in question, wrote in 2010 that the piece was “clear and very obvious nonsense.”)
Duke said this Telegraph article quoted “major Jews in [Israel’s] biological warfare division,” and that this division was “making certain pathogens where they could use certain gene markers to distinguish between populations.” In other words, an “ethnically targeted” biological weapon.
The implication being that Israel is not above weaponizing — or even engineering — the novel coronavirus, and using it to target its enemies. But Duke is once again thin on facts, and operating by a very old playbook — Jews have historically been accused of purposefully spreading diseases, including the bubonic plague, with deadly results.