WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Anti-Defamation League called on Donald Trump to abjure the term “America First,” noting its unsavory World War II-era association with anti-Semitism.
“The undercurrents of anti-Semitism and bigotry that characterized the America First movement – including the assumption that Jews who opposed the movement had their own agenda and were not acting in America’s best interest – is fortunately not a major concern today,” the ADL said in an April 28 statement.
Trump, the real estate magnate and leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination, unveiled his foreign policy in a speech April 27 in Washington and said “America First will be the major and overriding theme of my administration.”
He referred to a policy that would not attempt to export democracy, that would avoid foreign wars, and that would require allies to pay for America’s defense or go it alone.
The ADL statement noted the anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi proclivities of the America First movement’s leader, aviator Charles Lindbergh.
“For many Americans, the term ‘America First’ will always be associated with and tainted by this history,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in the statement. “In a political season that already has prompted a national conversation about civility and tolerance, choosing a call to action historically associated with incivility and intolerance seems ill-advised.”
The ADL has called Trump out for his campaign rhetoric, including his broadsides against Muslims.