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

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.

Publication
Journal of Experimental Political Science