“The Goyim Know” is an anti-Semitic catchphrase, used by itself or combined with the related phrase “shut it down,” as in “Oy vey, the Goyim know! Shut it down!” An alternate version is “Da Goyim Know.” It is most associated with the alt right segment of the white supremacist movement and message boards such as 4chan and 8chan.
The language is typically used in references to anti-Semitic conspiracy theories depicting Jews as malevolent puppet-masters, manipulating the media, banks, and even entire governments to the benefit of themselves but to the detriment of other peoples. The phrase is intended to be understood as spoken by a panicked Jew responding to some occurrence that would ostensibly reveal Jewish manipulations or deceit to non-Jews (i.e., “goyim,” a disparaging Yiddish and Hebrew word for non-Jews).
The implied Jewish speaker in the catchphrase is thus urging fellow Jews to shut down that particular manipulation or deceit and move on to something else. “Can’t let the gullible goyim know that they are supporting free cellphones and internet connections to the boys in the hood,” reads one typical posting from 2012 on the white supremacist website Stormfront. “The Goyim know” meme originated as mocking shorthand for this type of language.
The earliest known references to “The Goyim Know/Shut It Down” appeared in 2013, apparently originating on the discussion forum 4chan. The phrases quickly spread to social media. The meme became more popular in 2014 after an anti-Semitic song parody featured the phrase. Soon the meme became a staple of online anti-Semitism.
It didn’t take long before the phrase entered the physical world. In 2017, white supremacists appeared with signs featuring the phrase “The Goyim Know” at several events around the country, including the August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The intent behind the “The Goyim Know” signs seemed to be to demonstrate that white supremacists were aware of the conspiracies in which Jews were ostensibly involved.