Irrational Critique of Israel and Palestine: New Clothes for Traditional Prejudice?

Authors

  • Dominika Bulska
  • Mikołaj Winiewski

Abstract

Among researchers of Antisemitism there is a relative consensus that at least some criticisms of Israel may indeed be a form of expressing Antisemitic prejudice in a more socially approved manner. However, the relations between Antisemitism and anti-Israelism are yet to be fully explained, especially since the issue is inextricably linked with the dynamic of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The two presented studies have two purposes: firstly, to measure Polish attitudes towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and, secondly, to establish the relationship between anti-Israelism and anti-Palestinism and more traditional types of prejudice, like Antisemitism and Islamophobia. In the first study (N = 301) we constructed a questionnaire of perception of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with three subscales: Rational approach to conflict, extreme pro-Israeli opinions and extreme pro-Palestinian opinions. In the second study (N = 190) we found that both Antisemitism and Islamophobia predict the way Poles perceive the conflict between Israel and Palestine and beliefs in Jewish conspiracy seem to play the biggest role here. There is also evidence anti–Israelism is expressed not by criticizing Israel, but rather by expressing full support for Palestine. The questionnaire presented in this article may be treated as an indirect measure of Antisemitic prejudice, expressed in a more socially approved manner. Our findings may shed a new light on anti–Israelism and anti-Palestinism.