I am looking for a saying or idiomatic expression about a person from a community who attacks (verbally) his own members just to please the members of the other community on an controversial issue. The two communities can be at peace but in the past there were some tensions that surface at some times. The attacker can have a point on a controversial issue but that is difficult to gauge. In this context, the attacker crosses the red line from just critique to (mostly) offense. It is just to say that the attacker can only please the members from the another community who already are somewhat hostile to the first community members; not all members from another community appreciate this attack on his own members.

In Latvian there is a saying that literally translated says: "[because of what he said] he will be beaten by both sides." Beaten by both sides implies that he annoys the members of his community and also by other community because he does not really belong there or get accepted there. Beaten here does not mean physical beating.

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    The only word I can think of which comes close is "turncoat" - one who switches allegiances.
    – WS2
    Oct 4, 2017 at 13:49
  • @WS2: Are you being "delicate"? Don't tell me you never heard of shit-stirrers (per that link, it's even in Oxford Dictionaries online). Oct 4, 2017 at 14:56
  • @FumbleFingers But are they quite the same thing? The ODO definition is "a person who takes pleasure in causing trouble or discord", which seems a wider notion than that which the OP is seeking.
    – WS2
    Oct 4, 2017 at 16:14
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    Aesop's fable The Man, the Boy, and the Donkey comes to mind. Oct 4, 2017 at 16:26
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    @FumbleFingers That is why I did point out that it was " a word which (only) came close"
    – WS2
    Oct 4, 2017 at 18:11

1 Answer 1


A Turn-Coat, Traitor or 'Benedict Arnold'

  • We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Please explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.
    – Davo
    Oct 4, 2017 at 17:49

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