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… or more generally, "X Occupied Y",  where X is something Jewish, and Y is something governmental.

As Wikipedia explains

Zionist occupation government, Zionist occupational government, or Zionist-occupied government (abbreviated as ZOG) is an antisemitic conspiracy theory that claims "Jewish agents" secretly control the governments of Western states. Other variants such as "Jewish occupational government" are sometimes used.

The expression is used by white supremacist, far-right, nativist, or antisemitic groups in the United States and Europe, as well as by ultra-nationalists such as Pamyat in Russia, and various far-right groups including the Freemen, Identity Christians, Odinists, and Ku Klux Klan.

So Farrell's phrasing choice ("Soros occupied State Department") is not so much a dog whistle — "A political allusion or comment that only a certain audience are intended to note and recognize the significance of" — as a straight-up fascist salute.

Here's the audio and transcript of the immediate context of Farrell's "Soros occupied State Department" quote:

sure uh look this- this is a criminal involvement on the part of these leftist groups
it's highly organized very elaborate sophisticated operation
I have that from the highest levels of the Guatemalan government
they're investigating those groups criminally
and I strongly urge president Trump and attorney general Sessions to do the same here
lot of these folks also have affiliates who are getting money
from the Soros Occupied State Department
and that is a great great concern — when you start cutting money,
start cutting money there

The whole Lou Dobbs segment is here.

According to Daniel Politi, this interview was originally broadcast on Thursday 10/25/2018, and may have directly inspired Robert Bowers' (alleged) shooting spree  ("Why Did Synagogue Suspect Believe Migrant Caravan Is Jewish Conspiracy? Maybe He Watched Fox News", Slate 10/27/2018):

Fox News has often talked about a connection between the caravan and George Soros, who is often described by anti-Semites as the head of a “globalist” effort that is “seeking to undermine a white, Christian social order,” as Talia Lavin* wrote in the Washington Post recently.

On Thursday, merely two days before Bowers reportedly opened fire at the Pittsburgh synagogue, Lou Dobbs had a guest on the show who directly made the connection between Soros and the caravan. “A lot of these folks have affiliates that are getting money from the Soros-occupied State Department,” Chris Farrell, Judicial Watch’s director of investigations and research, said.

Wikipedia on the history of ZOG and its variants:

An early appearance of the term was in a 1976 article, Welcome to ZOG-World, attributed to an American neo-Nazi named Eric Thomson. It also features as the main theme in the 1978 book, The Turner Diaries, written by William Luther Pierce (founder of white nationalist organization the National Alliance). The term came to the attention of a larger audience in a December 27, 1984, article in The New York Times about robberies committed in California and Washington by a white supremacist group called The Order. According to the newspaper, the crimes "were conducted to raise money for a war upon the United States Government, which the group calls 'ZOG', or Zionist Occupation Government".

It's worth noting that The Turner Diaries was a key inspiration for Timothy McVeigh's  1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

The article in "rightpedia" gives a current rightwing take, following the same well-established pattern:

Zionist Occupation Government (often abbreviated as ZOG) refers to the control of many countries by Zionist organizations, while the formal government is a puppet regime or bureaucracy. This expression is often used by various opponent to Zionism including nationalists in the United States and Europe, opposition groups such as Pamyat in Russia and white nationalists and Conservative Christians, including groups in Poland and Sweden.

The word "Zionist" in "Zionist Occupation Government" is derived from the ideology of Zionism, the movement for support of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel and aims to the Jewish domination of the World.

According to Variety, that particular Lou Dobbs interview will not be rebroadcast ("Fox Business Pulls ‘Lou Dobbs’ Episode After Guest Remarks", 8/28/2018):

An executive from Fox Business Network said the cable outlet would pull from rotation a recent broadcast of “Lou Dobbs Tonight” featuring a guest making remarks about a “Soros-occupied State Department” that has spurred social-media pushback in the wake of yesterday’s shooting tragedy at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

““We condemn the rhetoric by the guest on Lou Dobbs Tonight. This episode was a repeat which has now been pulled from all future airings,” said Gary Schreier, senior vice president of programming at the 21st Century Fox-owned network, in a statement.

It remains to be seen whether Christopher Farrell will continue to be a regular guest on Fox, as he has been for some time.



  1. Peter B. Golden said,

    October 28, 2018 @ 12:55 pm

    It seems that HIAS was the trigger, although Bowers was undoubtedly contemplating some atrocity like this for some time. HIAS (the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) "was founded in 1881 to help Jews escaping Russian pogroms. Since then, it has worked on behalf of immigrants, refugees, asylum-seekers, and displaced persons; starting in the early 2000s, it expanded its vision beyond Jews, assisting vulnerable people in the aftermath of conflicts around the world." Long famous in NYC, it, apparently, has become very active in Pittsburgh with their people (in the form of Jewish Family and Community Services, which takes in refugees from everywhere) recently waiting at the Pittsburgh airport to take care of incoming refugees from Africa. Bowers, it would appear, was infuriated by this. His comment online before he began the massacre was: “HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people..I’m going in." The Trumpsters have made America "Amerika."

  2. Jason said,

    October 28, 2018 @ 6:26 pm

    You post on this while ignoring the semiotics of the New York Times's "fictional" and "totally not incitement" just published "Assassination Fantasy" in which Trump gets killed by his own bodyguard, Indira Ghandi style? Especially since the left is currently albatrossing the right for their rhetoric for the Florida nutcase, it's a little hypocritical, wouldn't you say?

  3. Don Monroe said,

    October 28, 2018 @ 8:11 pm

    With respect to your last point, from the New York Times:
    "According to Fox, Mr. Farrell will no longer be booked on either Fox Business Network or Fox News Channel."

  4. Andrew Usher said,

    October 28, 2018 @ 10:06 pm

    There can be no disagreement that the choice of words could not have been an accident – 'occupied' in that position is very unnatural relative to 'controlled' or 'influenced'. In the original phrase it it not quite so much so, and I always understood it as 'Zionist-occupied government' (government 'occupied' by Zionists), not Wikipedia's 'Zionist occupation government' (which would seem to imply a military occupation by 'Zionism').

    But I must protest that if you mean anti-Semitic, say so – the word 'fascist gets abused enough, I don't like to see it tossed off as if it were the most natural thing to call your opponents. Still less should the term 'rightwing' [sic] be used as synonymous.

    President Trump may not be admirable but blaming him for senseless acts of terrorism is beneath the level of political discourse we ought to be able to have. So much for the politics, but –

    would there be as much outrage if he'd made the same claim without using those exact words? Either answer might be considered problematic.

    k_over_hbarc at yahoo dot com

  5. James said,

    October 29, 2018 @ 4:46 am

    Jason, you understand that this is a linguistics blog, right?

  6. J.W. Brewer said,

    October 29, 2018 @ 11:49 am

    I was not myself aware that the "O" in ZOG could be "occupied" as well as "occupation" but I apparently haven't been keeping up with the relevant discourse and perhaps it's not as fixed a phrase as I had thought. But is there helpful usage advice that could be offered here as a public service? There certainly have been in the past conspiracy theorists who have been at some pains to distance themselves from anti-Semites offering similar-sounding theories and I imagine that remains the case. If one for whatever reason wanted to make the conspiracy-theorist claim that the U.S. State Department was, in fact, dominated or controlled or unduly influenced by Mr. Soros without phrasing it in a way that evoked traditional anti-Semitic tropes, what would be some good alternative phrasings to consider using?

  7. BZ said,

    October 29, 2018 @ 12:45 pm

    Interesting, I've never encountered the term (lucky me, I guess), but if I heard "Zionist Occupation(al) Government" today, my first inclination would be to think the speaker is referring to the Israeli government, and does not recognize Israel (much like "Zionist entity" for the state itself).

    Maybe this is a mistranslation or something from a time before Israel's existence, but the term seems to be first attested in English, and in 1976, and is only inspired by "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", not directly copied from it. As such, "occupied" makes slightly more sense without changing the acronym.

  8. Coby Lubliner said,

    October 29, 2018 @ 7:06 pm

    I will remember the acronym ZOG (with O for "occupied") from the 80s and 90s, and I thought it funny that it went into abeyance during the GWB administration when there were actual Zionists (Abrams, Perle, Wolfowitz) occupying important government positions.

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