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Democratic Like Us? Political Orientation and the Effect of Making Democracy Salient on Anti-Israel Attitude

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 October 2015

Yphtach Lelkes
Affiliation:
Amsterdam School of Communication Research, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands; e-mail: y.lelkes@uva.nl
Ariel Malka
Affiliation:
Yeshiva University, New York, New York, US
Penelope Sheets
Affiliation:
Amsterdam School of Communication Research, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Abstract

Israel is viewed unfavorably among wide segments of the public within several European democracies, despite being regarded itself as a Western democracy. Does drawing attention to Israel's democratic attributes improve views toward Israel? In two surveys with Dutch national samples, anti-Semitic affect, low anti-Arab/Muslim affect, and left-wing political orientation independently predicted anti-Israel sentiment. However, in experiments embedded within the surveys, making salient Israel's democratic attributes had opposite effects on Israel attitude across those on the right and the left – slightly decreasing anti-Israel sentiment among those with a right-wing orientation but slightly increasing anti-Israel sentiment among those with a left-wing orientation. We discuss potential explanations grounded in social psychological theory as well as implications for the strategic communication efforts of groups seeking to influence attitudes toward Israel.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Experimental Research Section of the American Political Science Association 2015 

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