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Georgia Senator Criticized For Ad With Altered Image Of Jewish Opponent

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Georgia Sen. David Perdue has taken down a digital ad that artificially elongated the nose of his Democratic opponent, Jon Ossoff, who is Jewish. Many criticized the ad from the Republican senator for being anti-Semitic. Emma Hurt of member station WABE in Atlanta reports.

EMMA HURT, BYLINE: The ad depicted Ossoff alongside Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who is also Jewish. Ossoff's nose was edited to look bigger, which he calls...

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JON OSSOFF: One of the most classic anti-Semitic tropes in history.

HURT: This Senate race, one of two in Georgia this fall, is becoming increasingly competitive. The ad was soliciting money to help Perdue combat Democrats who are, quote, "trying to buy Georgia," which some view as another anti-Semitic reference.

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OSSOFF: For my opponent to stoop to this kind of incredibly divisive, inappropriate, offensive tactic is really disturbing.

HURT: A spokeswoman for Perdue stresses that he never saw the ad. She says any implication that it was more than an accident is, quote, "intentionally misrepresenting" his record, which includes cosponsoring a resolution condemning all forms of anti-Semitism. Hate against Jews has been on the rise and has popped up in political campaigns intentionally or unintentionally, says Allison Padilla-Goodman with the Anti-Defamation League.

ALLISON PADILLA-GOODMAN: We see it from the right. We see it from the left. And I think it's really important for any leader to always stand up to hatred no matter what kind it is and never allow it to be normalized.

HURT: One of Perdue's defenders is Norm Coleman, chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition. He considers Perdue a go-to ally of the Jewish community.

NORM COLEMAN: So yeah, let's fight anti-Semitism. But David Perdue's going to be on the side of the fighters of anti-Semitism. He's not on the side of the anti-Semites.

HURT: Dov Wilker of the American Jewish Committee in Atlanta appreciates Perdue's previous work against anti-Semitism. Still, he calls the ad shocking and argues things like it are not just a problem for Jewish people.

DOV WILKER: When the Jewish community is targeted with anti-Semitism, what we have seen is that racism and bigotry against other communities follows.

HURT: Ossoff is calling on Perdue to donate any money raised by the ad to charity. For NPR News, I'm Emma Hurt in Atlanta.

(SOUNDBITE OF AEROC'S "BLUE EYED BITTER") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.