Mike Marcus: Street Artist, Photographer And Self Hating Jew

Mike Marcus is a conceptual artist and photographer who grew up in Tel Aviv, Israel, and now resides in North London. He is an opponent to Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories and expresses dissent through his art.

He has sprayed himself in the face with tear gas and taken photographs of himself, subsequently pasting the images up as posters around Israel along with a short explanatory note, and as such has garnered attention from the art scene and Israeli right wing media alike. However not all the press has been bad, being tagged ‘Israel’s answer to Banksy’ by Time Out magazine. The concept driven “self hating Jew” series is particularly interesting.

Marcus explains: “The phrase "self hating Jew" is often thrown at members of the Ashkenaz ethnicity who have a social conscience strong enough to speak out against the human rights abuses perpetuated by the Zionist majority. This majority which includes my parents, family and most of the people who I grew up with use the label to imply the following:

1)To be born into the Ashkenaz ethnicity is to be Jewish; religion is about birth rather than choice.
2) Zionism is synonymous with Judaism and therefore to speak out against one is to be against the other.
3) Only someone who hates themselves would hate their religion.

This twisted logic hides a true source of self hate and one which enables the Jewish people to justify the human rights abuses against Palestinians carried out by Israel in their name.

To be Jewish is to be paranoid. It is to believe that anti-Semitism hides beyond every corner, that we are always one step away from the next holocaust. It’s the ultimate in egocentricity because the truth is that almost nobody cares enough about us to hate, love or anything else. The truth is, we are just people and the only people to single out Jews for special attention are Jews themselves”.

The poster that Marcus put up in by the Tate Modern, London was annotated by someone who felt put out by Marcus’s slogan tee. Here is what they said:

“What is the agenda of the creator of this image? Are we to understand that as this Jew hates himself we are all free to hate Jews too? Many self loathe regardless of religion or race. The Romans killed Christ and all land is stolen. Today I am a Jew! Beware of hate dressed as art!!”

By: Demian Smith

Mike Marcus

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