This month, thousands of users took to Twitter to mess with the Nazis. Following media reports detailing how Trump-supporting white supremacists were targeting Jews online by placing parentheses around their names to harass and intimidate them on social media, Twitter users appropriated the symbol. The trend soon spread to politicians, celebrities, journalists, and more. From Atlantic correspondent (((Jeffrey Goldberg))) to West Wing and Scandal actor (((Josh Malina))) to Colorado congressman (((Jared Polis))), Jews and non-Jews alike showed solidarity against the anti-Semites. The movement even made The New York Times.
Beyond raising awareness about anti-Semitism online, the pilfered punctuation really ticked off the internet Nazis. The alt-right, as they call themselves, take great pride in their shared secret symbolisms. I personally received hundreds of tweets and emails from anti-Semites expressing upset at the appropriation of their nomenclature. Which only made doing it more fun.
In fact, making a mockery of the language of these anti-Semites performs a valuable societal function: It shows the haters that they are outside the discourse. Most anti-Semitic American trolls use anonymous accounts precisely because they are afraid of the opprobrium in real life should they openly express their bigotry. Mass ridicule of these racists reminds them just how marginalized they are, and keeps them at the fringes of respectable discourse.
With that in mind, here are three more ways you can troll the internet Nazis, show solidarity with the Jews they harass, and have fun doing it:
Appropriate their favorite hashtag: #WhiteGenocide
If there’s one thing that animates the alt-right, it’s their fear of an allegedly ongoing “white genocide,” in which minorities—African Americans, Hispanics, Jews, immigrants of all stripes—overtake the country and erode its formerly pristine “white” culture. Infamously, Donald Trump has repeatedly retweeted supporters promulgating this claim with the #WhiteGenocide hashtag.
Given how popular the tag is among the Twitter Nazis, it is practically begging to be repurposed:
— (((Yair Rosenberg))) (@Yair_Rosenberg) June 3, 2016
Firefly was canceled. #WhiteGenocide
— Phineas Fahrquar (@irishspy) June 5, 2016
— (((Chaim Steinmetz)) (@rabbichaim) June 5, 2016
There’s an added upside to this particular practice: It turns one of the alt-right’s nastier attacks against it. On Twitter, whenever a Jew expresses concern about anti-Semitism or other bigotry, alt-right trolls invariably pop up to exclaim, “oy vey, it’s anudda shoah!” Thus, they trivialize both the contemporary concern and the Holocaust in one ugly utterance. The phrase is even starting to seep into real-world discourse. Conservative journalist and Trump critic Ben Shapiro reported being confronted with it by a young Trump supporter at a college campus event. “He grins at me like it’s fine to say this sort of thing,” Shapiro recalled.
If the anti-Semites are going to mock a real genocide, the least the rest of us can do is return the favor and mock their farcical one.
Take Back Taylor Swift
Take a cursory glance at the accounts of alt-right trolls and it’s hard to miss their obsession with music star Taylor Swift. Prized as a blonde-haired, blue-eyed Aryan idol, many of the bigots use her as their avatar, or reference her in their usernames. They have even created a catalog of Swift memes in which they attribute viciously anti-Semitic statements to her. Here, for example, is one that uses a quote from Nazi arch-propagandist Joseph Goebbels:
The appropriation of Swift by the neo-Nazis has become so pervasive that her lawyers have started trying to get the various anti-Semitic memes taken down.
We have a better idea: Take Taylor back for the Jews. Use ours or make your own.
Remind them that “The Goyim Know!”
Another catchphrase of the internet inquisition is “the goyim know.” “Goy” is Hebrew and Yiddish for “gentile,” and the exclamation is typically used to suggest that the non-Jewish public is catching on to Jewish control of the media, economy, and government. An excellent example of this genre is the delightful anti-Semitic song “The Goyim Know,” which imagines a conversation between two panicked Hasidim worried that their support for feminism, affirmative action, and immigration is being exposed.
Now, there is absolutely nothing to be gained from arguing with people who claim that Jews run the world. But it can be very entertaining to agree with them and take their paranoid delusions to hilarious new heights.
In this case, another Internet meme offers guidance. Nerd Twitter is fond of captioning photos of world leaders whispering in each other’s ears with “Hail Hydra,” a reference to the secret greeting used by a villainous undercover organization in the Marvel comic universe:
“Hail Hydra” pic.twitter.com/yzqD22bmq9
— Hayes Brown (@HayesBrown) December 12, 2015
The Jewish analogue is obvious:
“The goyim know!” pic.twitter.com/aTlbwfICz9
— (((Yair Rosenberg))) (@Yair_Rosenberg) June 8, 2016
Now, go forth and troll some Nazis!