Abe Foxman, the former director of the Anti-Defamation League, has said that Donald Trump is encouraging his supporters to show their loyalty with Nazi-style salutes.
At a Republican rally in Orlando, Florida, this weekend, Mr Trump said to his audience: “Let’s do a pledge. Who likes me in this room?
“Raise your right hand: ‘I do solemnly swear that I — no matter how I feel, no matter what the conditions, if there’s hurricanes or whatever — will vote, on or before the 12th for Donald J Trump for president.'”
Abe Foxman, a Holocaust survivor, said: “It is a fascist gesture.”
“As a Jew who survived the Holocaust, to see an audience of thousands of people raising their hands in what looks like the ‘Heil Hitler’ salute is about as offensive, obnoxious and disgusting as anything I thought I would ever witness in the United States of America,” he told the Times of Israel.
What was worse than the gesture, said Mr Foxman, was the fact that he believed the controversial politician was aware of the resonance.
“He is smart enough — he always tells us how smart he is — to know the images that this evokes. Instead of asking his audience to pledge allegiance to the United States of America, which in itself would be a little bizarre, he’s asking them to swear allegiance to him.”
Mr Foxman said that Mr Trump’s rhetoric and the support it has elicited from neo-Nazis, white supremacists and racists, should alarm Americans. “This made me quiver,” he said.
Mr Trump, who took a substantial lead in the primary votes after last week’s ‘Super Tuesday’, came under heavy criticism after he failed to disavow the support of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke during a CNN interview a couple of days earlier.