Hameiri, Boaz, Keren Sharvit, Daniel Bar-Tal, Eldad Shahar, and Eran Halperin. “Support for Self-Censorship Among Israelis as a Barrier to Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.” Political Psychology (early view; online first).
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.