Ask Senator Perdue Why He Hasn’t Apologized for Running An Anti-Semitic Ad Against Jon Ossoff

Perdue Blamed a “Graphic Design Flaw” for Facebook Fundraising Ad That “Lengthened and Widened” Ossoff’s Nose “Even As Other Parts of His Face Stayed the Same Size and Proportions”

Senator David Perdue has not apologized for running an anti-Semitic Facebook ad that graphic design experts confirmed “lengthened and widened” Democratic Senate candidate Jon Ossoff’s nose “even as other parts of his face stayed the same size and proportions.” The Republican incumbent’s campaign only removed the vile attack after being confronted by the Forward, and they blamed others instead of taking responsibility and apologizing.

In addition to explaining why he still hasn’t apologized for the ad, Senator Perdue owes Georgians answers to the following questions:

1. Did Senator Perdue’s campaign fire the vendor who designed the ad?

2. Has the Perdue staffer who approved the ad been held accountable?

3. Will Senator Perdue donate all funds raised off of the fundraising ad to a charity committed to fighting anti-Semitism?

“Senator Perdue’s first offense was running this disgusting ad, and his second was refusing to take any responsibility for it and letting others shoulder the blame for his campaign,” said DSCC spokesperson Helen Kalla. “Senator Perdue’s excuses and avoidance of accountability are yet another failure of leadership for an incumbent who’s stooped to a new low by leaning on tired and hurtful tropes to boost his flailing campaign.”


The Forward: Did Perdue run an ad of Jon Ossoff with a bigger nose?

Key Points:

  • The ad called for donations to Perdue, a Republican, by claiming that “Democrats are trying to buy Georgia.” It uses black-and-white photos of Ossoff and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer
  • 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. Two professional graphic designers consulted by the Forward concurred with this assessment.
  • Depictions of Jews with large noses have been staples of anti-Semitic propaganda since the mid-19th century. In the past two years, political ads attacking Jewish candidates in Connecticut and California have Photoshopped them to make them appear to be holding money, another antisemitic trope.
  • Meilleur, who also has a PhD in political theory, noted that Ossoff’s nose enlargement is not as pronounced as in classic images of Jew-hatred. But he argued that it could still be seen as an antisemitic dogwhistle given its juxtaposition with an image of the Jewish Schumer and the claim that the party he helps lead is trying to “buy” the election.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Democrats assail Perdue over ‘hateful’ ad that made Ossoff’s nose look bigger

Key Points:

  • Jewish groups wary of centuries-old anti-Semitic caricatures reacted swiftly. Dov Wilker, who heads the Atlanta office of the American Jewish Committee, said he was “shocked” to learn of Perdue’s ad. He also criticized a reference in the spot that references “buying Georgia,” which he said also evokes hateful stereotypes.
  • “We call upon the senator to apologize and would be happy to meet with him and his staff to discuss anti-Semitism and its steady rise at home and abroad,” said Wilker.

CBS 46: Jon Ossoff target of “antisemitism attack” in Sen. David Perdue’s political ad

Key Point:

  • Results of the investigation further claim, “The ad ties Ossoff together with Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-Ny.), who is also Jewish, and accuses the duo of trying to ‘buy Georgia,’ a not-so-subtle allusion to centuries-old anti-Semitic attacks against the Jewish people.”

New York Times: Georgia Senator Is Criticized for Ad Enlarging Jewish Opponent’s Nose

Key Points:

  • Critics said that it reflected something more insidious, arguing that the campaign had employed imagery long used to malign Jews at a time when a rising tide of anti-Semitism in the country has seeped into politics. In a post on Twitter, the political advocacy arm of Bend the Arc, a progressive Jewish organization, called it blatant: “It’s not an accident.”
  • The Forward, in its article, cited graphic design experts who found that the size of Mr. Ossoff’s nose was exaggerated in comparison with the original image. The experts found that his nose appeared wider and longer, while no other facial features had been noticeably altered.
  • For centuries, depictions of Jews that embellish their noses as large and hooked have been used as a form of anti-Semitic caricature. The ad in Georgia also came as researchers have found that anti-Semitism has surged across the country in recent years, manifesting itself through violence and vandalism as well as in more subtle ways.
  • The Anti-Defamation League released an annual audit in May showing that anti-Semitic incidents had climbed to record levels, with more recorded in 2019 than in any year during the four decades the organization has been tracking them.

Washington Post: Democrat Jon Ossoff denounces ‘anti-Semitic’ ad by Sen. David Perdue that made his nose look larger

Key Points:

  • The ad — which declared that “Democrats are trying to buy Georgia!” — featured Ossoff and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), both of whom are Jewish. According to the Forward, the ad had been running on Facebook since July 22 and had made a total of 3,000 to 4,000 impressions before it was removed by Perdue’s campaign.

HuffPost: Georgia GOP Senator’s Campaign Claims ‘Anti-Semitic’ Ad Was Just A Graphic Design Gaffe

Key Points:

  • The donation-soliciting post further accused “the radical left” Democrats of “trying to buy Georgia” and featured a picture of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who is also Jewish.
  • Perdue’s campaign claimed that “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.” 
  • Bend the Arc, a Jewish advocacy group, described the ad as “blatant antisemitism.”


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