Heeeeyyyy Georgia, Sen. David Perdue Would Like To Remind You Jon Ossoff’s A Jew!

2020 state and local elections
Jon Ossoff, David Perdue

Republican Sen. David Perdue has a tougher race than expected in Georgia. Cook Political Report declared it a “Toss-Up" last week. Perdue has taken the gloves off and is reminding Georgians that Ossoff isn't “one of them." Ossoff was born and raised in Georgia, so he's no common carpetbagger like Senator Kelly Loeffler. Still, Perdue's campaign released a Facebook ad accusing Ossoff of conspiring with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to “buy Georgia." I thought Republicans liked the free market and money in politics. Schumer and Ossoff are just spreading “free speech" in Georgia.

Democratic Senate candidates will often link their Republican opponents to Mitch McConnell or Donald Trump because both men are terrible. McConnell specifically is an obstructionist who represents everything wrong with our current government. Chuck Schumer is from New York. That's apparently the sum total of his scariness. He's also Jewish, like Ossoff, and did you notice anything ... I dunno ... odd about Ossoff's nose in this ad?

It's freaking huge and abnormally so. Ossoff doesn't actually have a long, hooked nose from Nazi propaganda. Three graphic design experts told the Jewish news site the Forward that the 2017 image of Ossoff was "changed by having his nose lengthened and widened, even as other parts of his face stayed the same size and proportions."

Ossoff's nose is "the primary difference where the altered version is larger than the original," said Maurice Meilleur, an assistant professor of graphic design at Iowa State University.

The Perdue campaign claimed this was accidental anti-Semitism. Ossoff's image was run through a spooky filter and somehow his nose ended up much larger. That's something that happens. An intern must've pressed the nose extension filter by mistake. Perdue's team deleted the ad Monday night to avoid “confusion," but the ad had already run on Facebook since July 22 and made a total of 3,000 to 4,000 impressions, all of them gross.

Campaign spokesman John Burke claimed the senator never saw the ad, which is convenient.

BURKE: In the graphic design process handled by an outside vendor, the photo was resized and a filter was applied, which appears to have caused an unintentional error that distorted the image.

Obviously, this was accidental, but to ensure there is absolutely no confusion, we have immediately removed the image from Facebook.

That's not how graphic design works, and Ossoff didn't buy the explanation because he has a brain in his head. He called out the ad for employing the “oldest, most obvious, least original anti-Semitic trope in history."

Burke stressed how much Perdue loves Jewish people. He's cosponsored a bill condemning anti-Semitism and signed a letter urging swift action from the Trump administration regarding threats to Jewish schools. However, that doesn't earn you one free anti-Semitic ad.

Republicans like to rail against a supposed “anti-Semitic Left," seizing on statements from Rep. Ilhan Omar and cartoons in the New York Times. It's all politics. Democrats also don't hide behind their own voting records or the fact that Jewish voters overwhelmingly support them. They admit their mistakes.

Ossoff has asked that Perdue make an “unqualified apology to Georgia's Jewish community," but the Perdue campaign wants to claim that the bad actors here are anyone who'd dare take offense, which is on brand for Republicans.

BURKE: Anybody who implies that this was anything other than an inadvertent error is intentionally misrepresenting Senator Perdue's strong and consistent record of standing firmly against anti-Semitism and all forms of hate.

You don't have to be David Duke to traffic in anti-Semitic tropes. Omar's reference to “It's All About the Benjamins" was decried because associating Jewish people with money and shadowy control over “decent people" has a sinister history. Perdue's “campaign" has done the same thing here and his staff can't just claim he doesn't “see" color or religious background. The ad served a specific purpose — make Georgia voters see the Kennedy-esque Ossoff as “different" and weaponize that difference. The people behind this ad aren't idiots, even if the Perdue campaign hopes that we all are.

[Forward / Washington Post]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).

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