Over the weekend, Fox Business issued a rare apology. A guest on Lou Dobbs' show, Chris Farrell, the "director of investigations and research" at Judicial Watch, said that the migrant caravan headed for the Southern border of the U.S. was funded and directed by the “Soros-occupied State Department.”
This sure looks like an anti-Semitic reference to the "Zionist Occupied Government," sometimes known as ZOG, that the Pittsburgh Synagogue shooter had reposted references to on his social media accounts. This belief seems to be directly linked to his deadly attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue. Just before the rampage, he referenced the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, a nonprofit organization that provides humanitarian assistance to refugees from all over the word, saying: "HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can't sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I'm going in."
In the aftermath of a shooting that left 11 dead at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Fox Business was called out for airing Farrell's remarks, prompting the network to back away from the guest. But it’s worth looking at the history behind anti-Semitic remarks like Farrell’s comments about George Soros and their link to the deadly violence against the Jewish community.
In 1903, a fabricated text, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, purporting to contain the details of a Jewish plot to take over the world, was published in Russia. Although the exact origin of the text was deliberately obscured, it likely developed just after a Russia Zionist Congress and around the beginning of the latest round of anti-Jewish pogroms in the Russian Empire, which destroyed Jewish communities with thousands killed or forced to flee.
Since then, it has become a core anti-Semitic text. In the 1920s it was reprinted in the United States by prominent figures like Henry Ford, who funded the printing of 500,000 copies. When the Nazis came to power in Germany, the fraudulent document was used as propaganda against Jews.
Today, that document still circulates on the Internet, and along with it, a series of other anti-Semitic writings alleging a Jewish plot to control governments, media, and money.
Thus, Farrell's allegation that the U.S. State Department is "occupied" by George Soros, born in Hungary to a Jewish family where he survived both the Holocaust and the Soviet occupation, is a form of grisly homage to the arguments that Jews control the government and control international affairs.
Critics are right to point out that there is a difference between criticism of George Soros for backing causes and candidates with which they disagree and the use of language derived from anti-Semitic hoaxes. But the choice of words and their context matters.
It's good that Fox has issued an apology and that the network has pledged to not host Farrell on either Fox Business or Fox News in the future. But these remarks should not be tolerated and must not glide under the radar. In a politically polarized world, words, phrasing, and the history they allude to have consequences.
After all, it was nearly this exact rhetoric, about a Jewish conspiracy funding the immigration caravan, that fueled the hate-filled shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.