New Article: Hameiri et al, Support for Self-Censorship Among Israelis

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).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/pops.12346

 
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.

 

 

New Article: Nets-Zehngut et al, Self-Censorship in Conflicts: Israel and the 1948 Palestinian Exodus

Nets-Zehngut, Rafi, Ruthie Pliskin, and Daniel Bar-Tal. “Self-Censorship in Conflicts: Israel and the 1948 Palestinian Exodus.” Peace and Conflict 21.3 (2015): 479-99.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pac0000094

 

Abstract
The typical collective memories of societies involved in intractable conflicts play a major role in the eruption and continuation of the conflicts, whereas the positive transformation of these memories to being less self-serving promotes peacemaking. A major factor that inhibits such transformation is self-censorship. Self-censorship, practiced by members of a society’s formal institutions, inhibits the dissemination of alternative, more accurate narratives of the conflict that may change dominating biased conflict-supporting memories. Despite the importance of formal self-censorship in maintaining collective memories of conflicts, little empirical and theoretical research has examined this phenomenon. The present study addresses this omission. It examines the self-censorship practiced from 1949 to 2004 in 3 formal Israeli institutions (the National Information Center, the IDF/army, and the Ministry of Education) regarding the main historical event of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: the causes of the 1948 Palestinian exodus. This is done by analyzing all of these institutions’ publications produced throughout the 56-year research period and interviewing their key position holders. The results show that the institution gatekeepers practiced self-censorship for 5 reasons: garnering international support, mobilizing citizens, the impact of Zionist ideology, institutional norms, and fear of sanctions. The empirical findings are used to elicit theoretical insights, such as a definition for formal self-censorship, the difference between self-censorship practiced by gatekeepers (from formal and informal institutions) and that practiced by ordinary individuals, the 5 reasons for such self-censorship (distinguishing between 2 categories—intrinsic and extrinsic reasons), and the reasons that led the gatekeepers to admit that they had self-censored.