Over the last month, I have been traveling in the United States visiting friends and family and attending academic conferences. In particular, I spoke at this year’s annual International Studies Association conference in San Diego and gave a poster session at the Midwest Political Science Association meeting in Chicago.
For both conferences, I presented what will hopefully become a chapter of my dissertation. It examines the results of an experiment I conducted last year in Israel on political narratives and popular attitudes toward territorial compromise in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Those with access to the MyISA database can read the paper here. If you do not have access but would like to read it, please contact me by email. If you would like to see the post, contact me by email for a copy in compressed form. The abstract can be viewed after the jump.
Security or Identity? State and Homeland in Israel Politics and Popular Belief
This paper investigates why Israel has been willing to withdraw from some disputed territories and not others over the course of the Israeli-Arab peace process. In particular, it focuses on how competing narratives of security and national defense versus homeland and national identity shape contemporary Israeli attitudes toward territorial compromise. Utilizing controlled individual-level experiments administered to diverse populations across Israel, it is found that publics are less susceptible to elite rhetorical manipulation than commonly assumed by nationalism and ethnic conflict scholars. Rather than being “agenda setters,” political elites’ rhetorical scope for popular mobilization, particularly on issues of national identity and homeland, is strongly constrained by pre-existing public knowledge. Although politicians frequently seek to stir domestic nationalism over international territorial disputes, the claim that such lands are integral to national defense or the historic national homeland have only gained traction where this is already believed to be the case. Only by understanding these sources of public opposition to territorial compromise, it is argued, will long-term conflict resolution be possible.