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Racism as self-harm: Man carves "death to Arabs" into his arm

Well, that’s a painful visual metaphor if there ever was one. A young Israeli man by the name of Yisrael Yehudai (lit: Israel Judean) has decided to express his hatred for Arabs not by a sticker, and not by actually attacking anyone (to my knowledge), but by carving the words “Death to Arabs” into his own arm. He posted this as a profile picture back in July, and the pic recently went viral:

Although the immediate reaction is indignation that someone would be hateful enough to do that to himself –  our man didn’t make do with the mild discomfort, of, say, a tattoo, but went through the pain of wounding himself to express his racism. But after the initial shock you can’t but feel sorry for the guy and  think of what a fine metaphor his foolish act provides us with. The man who did that to himself and those who “liked” the picture are probably of the kind that would call the author and most of the other writers on this site “self-hating Jews”. But the picture illustrates almost  too perfectly a simple truth: Hateful nationalism is narcissistic (as exemplified both by the carving and the taking and posting of the picture), ineffective (the man’s act scarcely advances the cause of the Jewish people), and, most of all, irredeemably all about self-harm. Pretty much all you need to know about it if you ever go shopping for ideologies.

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Precise – although obvious – analysis. Well, I actually never thought of the narcissistic – or the hysteric – aspect of the Arab hatred, or many other manifestations of xenophobia, for that matter

      Reply to Comment
    2. alessandra

      no, but do you find these kind of news in the Easter egg? because recently it seems 972 is doing a contest on “what’s odd enough and cruel and worst” and Israel seems to win all…
      not a tiny small positive news ever?

      Reply to Comment
    3. Tam

      The most ironic part of this whole thing is the fact that this young man probably falls within the holier-than-thou religious-fundamentalist settler crowd (you know, the ones who would rather die than hear a woman sing), and yet he seems blissfully unaware that the Torah explicitly prohibits inflicting wounds on oneself. I guess this confirms my suspicion that most, if not many, of these far-right lunatics are in fact massive hypocrites.

      Reply to Comment
    4. ARTH

      This guy really has to find a life for himself. Thinking about death to Arabs, and mutilating one’s body to exist with this as a constant reminder of the obsession to that cause is really sick. This is not a Left or Liberal issue. It applies to everyone….

      Reply to Comment
    5. Carl

      Alessandra: “but do you find these kind of news in the Easter egg?” Is that some sort of a racist Kinder Egg? Do you get a little plastic David Duke in it or something? I don’t think – and pardon me Dimi if I’m putting words in your mouth – that Dimi’s point is that this is this is the worst thing in the world today, surpassing the latest beheadings in Mexico of mass rapes in the DRC. It’s just that he’s an Israeli journalist writing on an Israeli/Palestinian website, which I suspect gives him a bias towards Israeli/Palestinian issues rather than Mexican or DRC ones. And journalism doesn’t give prominence to ‘good news’ stories as ‘man has nice day’ makes for dull viewing.

      To my mind, it’s not only a crashingly blunt metaphor, but a fundamentally ugly and bleak act.

      Reply to Comment
    6. alessandra

      @Carl -I understand, and it’s shocking. It was a paradoxical expression and I thought you could fee this. anyway sorry again for saying something not deep enough for 972. I’ll stay here in Italy where a fascist just shot to death two Senegalese men and wounded other 3 two days ago and in Rome a fascist association is threathening the Roman Jewish community. ok, I had enough here in my Italian Easter egg, have no right to discuss about yours.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Well, tribes and tribulations, what’s new? I think it’s cute. He’s his own man now; and will finally fall in love with an Arab beauty, without a shred of a doubt.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Lauren

      Will this idiot be allowed toi be buried in a Jewish Cemetary with the tattoo like markings?
      It’s sad that the hatred runs so deep that one would cause physical harm and scarring to himself? Just absolutely insane. Stupid inbred Settlers…. just like the stupid inbred hillbillies here running around in their KKK outfits.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Danny

      And you know what is really ironic? If my guess is correct, this man is probably of Middle Eastern origin (mizrahi). The real irony here is that this man is probably an Arab himself (Jewish, but of Arab origins nonetheless). It has always seemed to me that mizrahi hatred of Arabs is more personal than that of ashkenazis, partly because of a self-loathing of their own identities which they project onto the Arabs. I think this goes back to the first mizrahi aliya of the 1950′s when people were sprayed with DDT and thrown into ma’abarot to fend for themselves by the irresponsible (labor) governments of that era. As a result, these people today hate both ashkenazim and Arabs. Anyway, this man needs professional help ASAP!

      Reply to Comment
    10. aristeides

      I have to wonder what US Congressman Eric Cantor would say about this guy, when he calls Palestinians a “culture of hate.”

      Reply to Comment
    11. A. Huntington

      Isn’t this article just giving this guy more publicity? What was the point of this article? We could easily go into any American prison and find the inmates covered with Swastikas. (well maybe not the crappy writers from 972 – but real journalists…)

      Reply to Comment
    12. aristeides

      This guy had better not go into any American prison, where there are going to be lots of Muslims who’ll know what’s written on his arm. The rest of his life would be very uncomfortable, and short.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Amir.BK

      TAM: Most people who would classify themselves as “Ultra-Religious” in fact know very little about their religion, it seems like they tend to focus on the parts of their religion which seem to privelege them and elevate them rather than the parts that bind, limit them and make them equal to all others.
      .
      I’ve seen quite a few Internet Muslims gloating over Mr. Christopher Hitchens demise I wonder if any of them are familiar with all the numerous Hadith that forbid speaking ill of dead and the Sura that forbids backbiting and wishing for someone’s death.
      .
      Such is life, religion breeds hypocracy. We have nearly a billion people who worship YHWH through ‘consuming the blood’ of their savior and if that isn’t absurd I don’t know what is. I think it’s safe to say most religious people are wholly ignorant about their religion and its holy scripture.

      Reply to Comment
    14. Ezra ibn Rashid

      @Danny the reason Mizrachim are the most anti Arab is actually because they are Arab. As Orientalist as it may sound, they have the same ‘hate the other’ / tribalist attitude that the Arabs have that makes them against Israel.

      If the Arabs had a more Ashkenazik mentality there would be peace by now.

      Reply to Comment
    15. AMIR.BK

      Aris: Your comment is really stramge, do you think Muslims read Hebrew?

      Reply to Comment
    16. Ed Frias

      In 2003, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah faction shot and killed a Palestinian named George Khoury as he was jogging in Jerusalem’s French Hill neighborhood.

      Arafat, in a clear racist gesture, stated that this was a case of mistaken identity – because their victim turned out to be an Arab instead of a Jew.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Ruth

      @Ezra & Danny

      Idiotic and cliched comments.

      Reply to Comment
    18. david goldman, esq.

      To me this is further proof that, despite what the postmodernist theorists would say, Israel is finally becoming a part of the region. The postcolonial school of thought always thought that Israel saw itself as a European bubble.

      Finally, Israel is shedding the admirable natural inclinations of Jewish culture towards nonviolence and rationalism…. and adopting the surrounding culture of primeval tribalism.

      The postcolonial theorists won’t quit until Israelis are cutting each other’s heads like Shiite Muslims do during the Ashoura holiday.

      Reply to Comment
    19. directrob

      This thread turned slightly nasty, 972mag unworthy, can it be cleaned?

      Reply to Comment
    20. Bosko

      Fair enough. This IS racism. Now watch racism in Arab countries too …
      .
      http://vimeo.com/16779150

      Reply to Comment
    21. I share Rob’s concern about the tone of this thread. We can’t infer anything about this guy’s ethnic origins and his level of religious observance from the fact that he has mutilated his arm. All we know from the information we have is that a.) he has horrible views towards Arabs and b.) he has mutilated his arm. Based on this, I am more interested in his psychological state than his racial background or religious affiliation. Self-injury is a fairly common sign of mental distress, which can affect anyone, no matter what they believe or where they’re from.
      .
      I work in mental health. People who self-injure are typically very secretive about it, inflicting the wounds where no one is likely to see. They often find their self-harm difficult to admit. I have known quite a few patients to carve slogans or messages into their skin and then publicise what they’ve done as a way of making others aware of their distress. The slogan deflects attention away from the most important fact (that the person has been hurting themselves) and therefore makes things a little easier for them to talk about. This might be the case here. I don’t know. All we really can know is that whoever he is, this guy needs some help and care. I hope he’s getting it.

      Reply to Comment
    22. Jan

      Hopefully he will get a bad infection from what he has done and have to have his arm amputated. His hatred has no bounds. Shame on this sad excuse for humanity.

      Reply to Comment
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