A Republican attack ad in a congressional race in Minnesota accused the Democratic candidate of being “owned” by Jewish billionaire financier George Soros, leading some to accuse the GOP of anti-Semitism.
The ad, titled “Owns,” states that Dan Feehan is “owned” by Soros, who was also accused of “funding left wing protests.”
“Just remember, the left owns Feehan,” the narrator concluded as Soros, an Antifa protester and NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick flanked the candidate.
“Feehan’s employed by a Soros-funded liberal outfit in D.C.,” the ad states. Indeed, Soros, a longtime supporter of liberal causes, has donated to the Center for a New American Security think tank, where Feehan works as a Adjunct Senior Fellow. Feehan, a U.S. Army veteran, served as a Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Obama administration.
Still, the juxtaposition of a Jewish financier “owning” a candidate led some to conclude that the ad was anti-Semitic.
“GOP Ad Channels Anti-Semitism to Portray George Soros as Puppetmaster,” The Daily Beast wrote in its headline covering the story.
“This new @NRCC ad touts one of the most disgusting anti-Semitic libels: Jews are the puppet-masters that convince people of color to rise up against their white superiors,” social justice organizer Max Berger wrote on Twitter.
The Republican Jewish Coalition did not respond to a request for comment; this story will be updated if they respond (full disclosure: I interned for the RJC for a college semester).
Soros has long been the target of right-wing conspiracy theories, many of which have relied on anti-Semitic tropes.
President Trump accused people protesting then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of being “paid for by Soros and others.” (One of the women who accosted Sen. Jeff Flake in an elevator about the nomination works for a not-for-profit supported by Soros’s son Alex.)
Trump notoriously used images of Soros and other Jewish financial figures in his final campaign ad during the 2016 election, which described a malevolent “global power structure” harming ordinary Americans.
“Whether intentional or not, the images and rhetoric in this ad touch on subjects that anti-Semites have used for ages,” Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said at the time.
This is not the first time the race in the largely-rural 1st District of Minnesota has had to deal with anti-Semitism: Feehan’s opponent, Jim Hagedorn, once wrote on his blog that former Sen. Joe Lieberman supported the Iraq War because Lieberman is Jewish.