Support for Self-Censorship Among Israelis as a Barrier to Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Boaz Hameiri*, Keren Sharvit, Daniel Bar-Tal, Eldad Shahar, Eran Halperin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Self-censorship, defined as an “act of intentionally and voluntarily withholding information from others in the absence of formal obstacles” often serves as a barrier to resolving intractable conflicts. Specifically, in order to protect the group, and in absence of objective constraints such as institutionalized censorship, individuals practice self-censorship and support its practice by other society members. This prevents free flow and transparency of information, within a society, regarding the conflict and the adversary. In an attempt to investigate the factors that contribute to the functioning of self-censorship as a sociopsychological barrier to conflict resolution, a longitudinal study was conducted among a large sample of Jews in Israel. The survey was administered in three waves: a few months before, during, and a few months after Israel's Operation Pillar of Defense in the Gaza Strip. The findings showed that armed confrontation can increase support for self-censorship. In addition, the findings revealed that personal characteristics (e.g., authoritarianism, ethnocentrism, siege mentality) predicted support for self-censorship, which, in turn, mediated the effect of personal characteristics on support for negotiations and for providing humanitarian aid. The theoretical as well as the applied implications of the findings are discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)795-813
Number of pages19
JournalPolitical Psychology
Volume38
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 International Society of Political Psychology

Keywords

  • freedom of expression
  • intractable conflict
  • self-censorship
  • sociopsychological barriers

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