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Oy vey! is a common expression among Jews in the Yiddish language to express dismay or exasperation. Oy vey in the English language means "oh, woe!" or "woe is me". It has become part of a stereotypical Jewish vocabulary along with the likes of "shalom" and "mazel tov". Even among non-Yiddish speakers and non-Jews, it is a very familiar Jewish saying.
Originally, the word had no racist connotations and was used by both Jews and non-Jews. Recently though the word has been misappropriated and co-opted by the alt-right and by Anti-Semites as a way of mocking Jewish people and even to vandalise Jewish gravestones. "Oy vey, it's anuddah shoah!" has become a common way to mock any allegation of antisemitism. It is often used in conjunction with other anti-Semitic terms such as "the goyim know", "shekels" and "remember the 6 gorillion"". Just like Goy, "oy vey" has become an anti-Semitic term to demonize Jews, in this case for what the alt-right perceives as being part of a conspiracy. However, because of Poe's Law, it can be very difficult to distinguish ironic uses of "oy vey" and unironic uses, so be careful of distinguishing between the two uses.
- Alt-right glossary, for more information on the term
- See the Wikipedia article on Stereotypes of Jews.
- Beyond ((( ))): Three More Ways to Troll the Internet’s Nazis, Tablet, June 17, 2016
- Anti-Semitism Hit 'Near-Historic Levels' In 2018, Report Finds, Amy Russo, Huffington Post, Jan 5, 2019
- Day of the trope: White nationalist memes thrive on Reddit's r/The_Donald, Justin Ward, Southern Poverty Law Center, April 19, 2018