Modern Anti-Semitism and Anti-Israeli Attitudes

Florette Cohen, Lee Jussim, Kent D. Harber, Gautam Bhasin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Anti-Semitism is resurgent throughout much of the world. A new theoretical model of anti-Semitism is presented and tested in 3 experiments. The model proposes that mortality salience increases anti-Semitism and that anti-Semitism often manifests as hostility toward Israel. Study 1 showed that mortality salience led to greater levels of anti-Semitism and lowered support for Israel. This effect occurred only in a bogus pipeline condition, indicating that social desirability masks hostility toward Jews and Israel. Study 2 showed that mortality salience caused Israel, but no other country, to perceptually loom large. Study 3 showed that mortality salience increased punitiveness toward Israel's human rights violations more than it increased hostility toward the identical human rights violations committed by Russia or India. Collectively, results suggest that Jews constitute a unique cultural threat to many people's worldviews, that anti-Semitism causes hostility to Israel, and that hostility to Israel may feed back to increase anti-Semitism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)290-306
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Israel
  • anti-Semitism
  • human rights
  • subtle prejudice
  • terror management theory

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