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Do political cartoons reflect antisemitism?

Currently, there is little disagreement that the specter of ongoing violence in the Middle East is of great concern throughout much of the world. It is at the heart of international peace processes and continues to interfere with global economies (Aita 1997; Cohen and Solomon 2011; Pyszczynski et al. 2006). Of late, however, the resurgence of antisemitism accompanying the Middle East turmoil has also become apparent. Antisemitism is increasing (Kessler 2011). This is true not only in the Middle East, where animosity toward Jews is linked to hostility toward Israel (Matas 2005), but also in the liberal West (Baum 2009; Cohen et al. 2011; Kaplan and Small 2006).

Terrible double standards have been imposed by the international community as far as Israel is concerned. While many insist that Israel and the Zionists are responsible for horrific genocidal crimes against the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, the numbers tell a different story. Over the past 12 years, the Israeli Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories put the Palestinian death toll at 6,473 (B'Tselem 2012). This number accounts for militants and civilians. The international answer has been to boycott over 50 Israeli products, academics, and artistic venues. In contrast, over the past 12 months the UN has estimated that the Syrian regime is responsible for over 10,000 civilian deaths, 20,000 displaced persons, and 40,000 detained prisoners (The New York Times 2012). The international response--zero boycotts.

If we look past the Middle East to a similar scenario in China, we can compare Israeli-occupied Palestine to Chinese- occupied Tibet. During the 2008 Tibetan uprising, Amnesty International reported hundreds of civilian deaths and over 1,000 civilians unaccounted for (CNN 2008). Although there was talk and threats of boycotting products and the summer Olympics, none came to fruition (Lungescu 2008). Despite the inconsistency of the international community regarding human rights violations, many major works on stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination have paid relatively little attention to antisemitism and its relationship to anti-Israel sentiment (e.g., one can find little or no mention of antisemitism in Fiske 1998; Jost and Banaji 1994; or many other recent reviews).

This lack of attention reflects the inconsistency of public opinions as well. A personal story may serve to demonstrate the point. Several years ago I subscribed to a local New York newspaper, both print and online. On March 25, 2009, I opened my e-paper to reveal the vilest of syndicated cartoons by American cartoonist Pat Oliphant (Figure 1). The cartoon (published by The New York Times, the Washington Post, Slate, and Yahoo! News, among others) depicted a headless soldier wielding a sword and pushing a sharklike toothy monster shaped like the star of David with its sights set on a fleeing Gazan woman carrying a baby, all within the confines of the Israeli flag ( 2009). The media outlets eventually removed the cartoon from their sites, but little fuss was made over the cartoon.

In contrast, Kurt Westergaard's cartoon depicting the prophet Mohammed wearing a bomb in his turban (Figure 2) triggered violent riots around the world. The cartoon, printed in the Danish Jyllands-Posten newspaper in September 2005, was considered "offensive" and sent Westergaard into hiding for fear of his life ( 2008).

There seems to be a double standard with regard to Israel and public opinion--the question is why? Why is it acceptable to demonize Israel? Is demonization of Israel a form of antisemitism? How can we know? To answer these questions, we must first understand the psychology of antisemitism and the methods used by social psychologists to test hypotheses based on these questions.

Psychology of Antisemitism

Antisemitism is a peculiar social phenomenon, in that many of the stereotypes associated with it are mutually exclusive, and shift radically across time and space. Jews have been condemned for being radical Communists, and for being avaricious capitalists. Fascists in Nazi Germany and in 1980s Argentina accused their nations' Jews of having hidden loyalties to socialist regimes (Rein 2003), whereas the Soviet Union regularly persecuted its Jews for harboring secret sympathies for the West (Weitz 2001). Jews have been chastised as corruptly cosmopolitan and as insular traditionalists, as heretical free-thinkers and as mystical obscurantists, as weak, ineffectual, and effete, and as stealthily advancing toward worldwide domination (Bernard 2006; Johnson 1987, 310).

Some scholars of antisemitism see a method in these contradictions. Antisemitism may serve to create a tangible target upon which non-Jews project their own fears, especially fears that arise during times of social disruption (Cohn- Sherbok 2002). Indeed, attacks against Jews spiked during the Crusades, the Black Plague, in France following the Franco-Prussian War, in Russia in the years preceding the Bolshevik revolution, in Germany following World War I, in the United States during the Depression, in the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and in South America during the transition from dictatorships to democracy. Currently, anti-Jewish sentiment is spreading rapidly throughout the Muslim Middle East, which is itself undergoing massive social change (Glaeser 2005).

Why this correspondence between antisemitism and social transition? Tolerance for others' opinions, especially those that challenge one's own deeply held personal values, are tied to people's own feelings of certainty or worth (Cohen, Aronson, and Steele 2000). When people feel less secure, they become less tolerant of those whose views, perspectives, or beliefs are different from their own. Yet these findings themselves beg the question of why insecurity leads to intolerance toward Jews.

The current line of research examines the psychological underpinnings of prejudice and ethnic discord in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the Modern Antisemitism-Israel Model (MASIM; Cohen et al. 2011). The MASIM was designed based on a juxtaposition of Terror Management Theory (TMT; Greenberg, Pyszczynski, and Solomon 1986) and modern prejudice theory (Sears and Kinder 1971). Specifically, the present study tested the hypotheses that uniquely human fears of death serve to perpetuate expressions of antisemitism (a-s) and anti-Israeli sentiment as expressed in political cartoons.

Terror Management Theory

Death denial. According to terror management theory (Greenberg, Pyszczynski, and Solomon 1986), human beings, like all other animals, are driven to survive. Because of their complex cognitive capabilities, however--specifically,

the ability to think abstractly and symbolically, culminating in explicit self-consciousness--humans are uniquely aware of the inevitability of death and the ever-present potential for lethal experiences, which creates the potential for paralyzing terror. Terror is the emotional manifestation of the self-preservation instinct in an animal intelligent enough to know that it will someday die (cf. Zilboorg 1943).

TMT posits that to "manage" this potentially debilitating terror, humans created cultural worldviews: symbolic conceptions of reality shared by individuals in a group. Cultural worldviews minimize death anxiety by imbuing the world with order, meaning, and permanence, and by providing a set of standards of valued behavior that, if satisfied, confers self-esteem and ultimately death transcendence through symbolic and/or literal immortality. Thus, from the perspective of TMT, individuals manage their terror by maintaining faith in the cultural worldview and living up to the standards of value that are part of that worldview.

Cultural worldview. Though the cultural worldview is treated as absolute reality by those who subscribe to it, it is actually a fragile social construction (cf. Berger and Luckmann 1967; McCall and Simmons 1966) requiring continual validation from others in order to be sustained, especially when confronted with reminders of mortality. This validation occurs mainly through the process of social consensus (Festinger 1954; Kelley 1967). Thus, the mere existence of people with similar worldviews bolsters the individual's faith in the validity of his or her own worldview, thereby increasing its effectiveness as an anxiety buffer. Likewise, the mere existence of people with dissimilar worldviews threatens the individual's faith in his or her own worldview, thereby undermining its effectiveness as an anxiety buffer. Thus, people generally prefer ideas and people that conform to their worldviews and derogate ideas and people that deviate from them.

Cultural worldview and antisemitism. TMT may be particularly useful for understanding antisemitism because outbreaks of antisemitism have often occurred following major social disruptions--military defeats, epidemic lethal disease, and massive economic deterioration. In all cases, either death, some threat to people's most cherished beliefs, or both become salient. TMT suggests that, under such circumstances, many people will attempt to protect themselves by affirming their core values. Jews' survival, their financial success, and their unique moral and religious beliefs threaten the worldview of others. This threat is parried by denigrating Jews (i.e., expressing antisemitic attitudes).

The basis for predicting cultural hostility toward Jews includes all the well-established reasons for outgroup hostility, in addition to some singular ones. Outgroups might not share the same attitudes and beliefs as ingroups; outgroups compete for resources; outgroups are perceived as more different from ingroups than they really are; outgroups are often seen as less deserving of trust than are ingroups; and so forth (classic work by Allport 1954; Brewer 1979; Rokeach 1951; Tajfel 1969; and many others) all attest to these processes. Indeed, many of the classic stereotypes of Jews fit these phenomena like a glove ("Jews are clannish, grasping," if a common exam ple). This generic outgroup hostility begins to explain why they are potentially threatening.

In support of this view, Greenberg et al. (1990) demonstrated that, consistent with TMT predictions, when Christians thought about their own death (mortality salience) their trait ratings of fellow Christians became more positive and their trait ratings of Jews became more negative. Across all measures, the Christian was rated more positively than the Jew only in the mortality salient condition. Similarly, mortality salience led American college students to increase their agreement with the statement that "the holocaust in Nazi Germany was God's punishment for the Jews" (Kunzendorf et al. 1999, as cited in Schimel et al. 1999).

While TMT paints a grim picture of people in general, it cannot completely explain the history of pervasive victimization suffered by Jews from antiquity to the modern day. From a TMT perspective, the straightforward explanation for antisemitism is simple--when focused on their own mortality, and in need of the protections that their worldviews provide, non-Jews may become more hostile toward Jews, because Jews represent a challenge to their worldviews by being outgroup members. There are quite a large number of religious and historical reasons, however, to believe that Jews are potentially more threatening than other outgroups and may indeed constitute a unique cultural threat. The suggestion that Jews pose a unique threat remains true today to the point that it caused the American delegates at last year's OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) meeting on contemporary antisemitism to insist that antisemitism be recognized as a unique form of prejudice (for a complete review, see Cohen et al. 2009; 2011; Wistrich 2008).

Subtle Modern Prejudices

The tenor of most TMT research suggests that reminders of death will increase prejudice and hostility toward different others. However, although blatant forms of antisemitism do exist, prejudice in general is often stigmatized. As such, people may often try to deny or hide their prejudices. Although a person may appear friendly and tolerant, hostility may be lurking not far from the surface. The terms modern or symbolic racism were developed because people stopped saying "Blacks are despicable and should not be allowed in our schools or restaurants." Instead, they simply opposed government policies to promote racial equality, and they opposed candidates supporting those policies (Kinder and Mendelberg 1995; McConahay 1986; McConahay and Hough 1976; Sears and Kinder 1971).

Just as people veil their racism and anti-Black prejudice (e.g., by opposing busing and affirmative action), people may similarly veil their antisemitism by opposing Jews' national aspirations. If one is a racist, opposing affirmative action is a safe way to express it; if one is an antisemite, opposing Israel is a safe way to express it. For example, Israel has been involved with numerous wars over the last sixty years. Some of them have been offensive, while others have been defensive. Unfortunately, though, even Israeli wars of self-defense may be twisted into evidence of Israeli imperialism and oppression and the "racist" nature of Zionism (Kotek 2003).

The Modern Antisemitism-Israel Model (MASIM)

The Modern Antisemitism-Israel Model (Cohen et al. 2011) is a juxtaposition of TMT and modern prejudice theory. The MASIM predicts that when mortality is salient, Jews are commonly perceived as threatening to one's worldview because they are different from non-Jews in their beliefs and behaviors, thus leading to an increase in antisemitism, which can manifest itself in two ways. It can develop into expressions of antisemitism such as verbal slurs, defamation of property, or bodily harm; or, because prejudice (antisemitism) is stigmatized, it can manifest itself through the application of double standards, demonization, and delegitimization (a product of double standards and demonization) of Israel, the Jewish state. As such, those who harbor antisemitic attitudes may increase hostility to Israel.

The model predicts that mortality salience leads to increased antisemitism, and that increased antisemitism leads to decreased support for Israel. Thus, the model also predicts that antisemitism may partially mediate effects of mortality salience on attitudes toward Israel. Such mediation, however, is predicted to be only partial because the model also predicts that mortality salience can increase opposition to Israel for reasons having nothing to do with antisemitism. This is because Israel, as a combatant for over 60 years, may be regarded as perpetrating human rights violations. Mortality salience activates worldview defenses, and worldviews typically include moral codes. For these reasons, mortality fears lead to more punitive attitudes toward those committing moral transgressions (Greenberg et al. 1990). Mortality salience, therefore, may decrease support for Israel due to heightened moral sensibilities, rather than to the arousal of latent antisemitism.

The model also posits that a reverse causal path exists. Although concern for human rights violations may lead to reduced support for Israel for reasons having nothing to do with antisemitism, it may then actually trigger an increase in antisemitic prejudices (Baum 2009; Frindte, Wettig, and Wammetsberger 2005; Kaplan and Small 2006).

Studies (Cohen et al. 2009) have demonstrated that: 1) participants expressed significantly greater levels of antisemitism and lower levels of pro-Israeli sentiment when reminded of their mortality and when told that they would be caught in the act of lying; 2) Antisemitism partially mediated the effects of mortality salience x bogus pipeline manipulation on opposition to Israel; 3) mortality salience increased the perceived size of Israel, but not of other countries; and 4) mortality salience increased opposition to Israeli oppression more than it increased opposition to Russian or Indian oppression.

A Mask on Prejudice

Based on the findings of Cohen et al. (2009; 2011), it seems likely that hostility toward Jews and Israel in response to reminders of death will often be expressed in subtle and indirect ways that are plausibly interpretable as something other than prejudice.

The present study tested the MASIM model through the hypothesis that, as a subtle form of antisemitism, expressions of hostility toward the Jewish state will be magnified by a mortality salience induction. Therefore, a subtle expression of antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment and opposition to Israel in the form of demonization and double standards applied to it was assessed through obtaining the impressions on two political cartoons. Political cartoons typically use visual metaphors and caricatures to draw attention to important social and political issues by using a humorous or emotional picture. Often during times of war such depictions are used to sway the public opinion in their favor; Benjamin Franklin's Join or Die (1754), for example, depicting a snake cut up into several sections, was used in support of the French and Indian War and then during the Revolutionary War.

Political cartoonists in the Arab media often depict the United States and its leaders as exterminators of the Muslim world (Marcus and Crook 2004). For example, a popular British cartoon that depicts former prime minister Ariel Sharon eating babies is a form of demonization, but it is a very old form of demonization. This cartoon draws heavily on the medieval Jewish blood libels, in which Jews were accused of murdering non-Jewish children in order to use their blood to prepare Passover matzos. There are many other examples of modern political cartoons portraying Israel and Israelis as animals, insects, or cannibals (Kotek 2004). These cartoons are striking in several ways. First, on their face, they seem to reflect the virulent type of loathing that often characterizes deep-seated bigotries. Second, they were obtained from mainstream presses from a variety of countries (American, British, Egyptian). Third, many have a haunting similarity in substance, style, and motif to Nazi-era cartoons depicting Jews in a manner widely recognized as reflecting the most virulent form of anti-Semitism (Lustige Blatter 1942).

The vile nature of these cartoons may suggest that antisemitic attitudes may run wide and deep, and they raise the possibility that these cartoons reflect more than mere opposition to Israel. While it is possible that other countries, cultures, or peoples are similarly depicted as widely and as frequently in such a revolting manner, these real-world examples are also consistent with the perspective suggesting that hostility to Israel may be expressed with such virulence that it is most likely powered, at least in part, by antisemitism. Thus, one purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis derived from the MASIM that, when we encounter reminders of death, revolting cartoons of human rights transgressors should be viewed as more justified. A second purpose was to demonstrate that because mortality salience also increases antisemitism and demonization of Israel, it should disproportionately increase support for the anti-Israeli political cartoons more than for those of another country.


H1: If offensive political cartoons are indeed an expression of prejudice then participants will view the cartoons of both the Chinese and Israelis as more justified under bogus pipeline conditions.

H2: If mortality salience increases our sense of belief in a moral world order, then mortality salience should also lead to an increase in agreement, with offensive cartoons demonizing countries violating human rights (subtle forms of hostility).

H3: If mortality salience increases antisemitism, then it should increase hostility toward Israel more than it does toward other countries.


One hundred and seventy-six participants were recruited from a Northeastern university psychology course. Participants received course credit for their participation, which lasted about 20 minutes. Participants were run in one session. Fourteen Jewish participants and 6 Chinese participants were removed from analyses, leaving a total of 156 articipants. Four participants were dropped due to missing data; participants included 97 females and 54 males. Ten identified themselves as African-American, 26 as (nonChinese) Asian-American, 17 as Latino, 82 as White, and 12 as belonging to other ethnic groups. One hundred and four identified themselves as belonging to one of the many Christian faiths, 12 as Hindu, 5 as Muslim, 1 as (non-Chinese) Buddhist, and 29 as "other."

Experimental Design and Procedure

The present study employed a 2 (mortality salience: death vs. exam) x 2 (bogus pipeline: camouflage vs. bogus pipeline) x 2 (target country: Israel vs. China) independent groups design.

Bogus pipeline. Half the subjects were made to believe that the purpose of the experiment was simply to study a variety of attitudes ("camouflage"), and others were made to believe that the purpose of the experiment is to study attitudes and that any lies about their true attitudes can be detected ("bogus pipeline").

The participants in the camouflage condition were led to believe that experimenters were looking for attitudes on social and political issues. Accordingly, the cover page in the camouflage condition neither made it very obvious that prejudice was being measured nor pointed out that questionnaires can catch people lying. It was, therefore, a control condition.

Participants in the bogus pipeline condition received the same information about the survey as did those in the camouflage condition, with one crucial difference. They were also informed that the study was focused on attitudes, but they were led to believe that any deception on their part (lying to appear unprejudiced) would be detected by sophisticated methods developed by psychologists. In keeping with the cover story, participants then completed a series of personality measurements (to be used as filler questionnaires).

Mortality salience. In the mortality salience (MS) condition, participants responded to two open-ended questions relating to their own mortality, which read as follows: "Please describe the emotions that the thought of your own death arouses in you." And, "Write down as specifically as you can what you think will happen to you physically when you die."

Pain salience. In the pain salience (PS) condition (control), participants responded to parallel questions regarding thoughts of pain as follows: "Please describe the emotions that the thought of intense physical pain arouses in you." And, "Write down as specifically as you can what you think will happen to you as you experience pain and when it's over." Pain salience provided an apt control condition because, as demonstrated in previous TMT studies, thoughts of physical pain are an unpleasant as well as anxiety-provoking, yet non-lethal, event.

PANAS-X. Given that previous TMT research demonstrated that MS manipulations emerge after a short delay and distraction (Greenberg et al. 1994), following the MS manipulation participants completed the PANASx (Watson and Clark 1992) to assess the affective consequences (or lack thereof) of the MS manipulation, and a short literary passage used in previous studies to provide the delay and distraction.

Readings and questions. Participants then read a short vignette discussing either Israeli brutality toward Palestinians or Chinese brutality toward a group of monks in Tibet. They were then shown two cartoons presented in random order (to rule out the possibility of order effects). The first depicted the prime minister of Israel or China eating Palestinian or Tibetan children (Figures 3 and 4, respectively). The second depicts a Jew or a Chinese man controlling the world at the expense of the Palestinian or the Tibetan (Figures 5 and 6, respectively).

Participants then replied to three questions asking participants, on a scale of 1-5, to what degree they felt the cartoons of either Israeli (Jewish state) leader or the cartoons of Chinese leader is justified (Cronbach's alpha = .82): "Do you believe this representation to be an accurate portrayal of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?"; "Based on the passage you just read, how justified is the following cartoon?"; and "Do you find this cartoon offensive?." In order to keep participants' score on the original 1-5 point scale, participants' responses to the three questions were summed and divided by 3. This average constituted each participant's score on this scale. Participants then provided demographic information and were debriefed and thanked for their participation.


Preliminary analyses. An initial series of univariate ANOVAs, using mortality salience (death, pain) by bogus pipeline (bogus pipeline, camouflage) by each of the demographic characteristics was performed. Because there were too few non- Whites and non-Christians to assess general effects of ethnicity or religion, participants' ethnicity was recoded into White vs. non-White, and their religion was recoded into Christian vs. non-Christian. A series of univariate ANOVAs (four cartoons [Israeli/Chinese leader, Israeli/Chinese world]) by 2 orders (leader first, world first) by three sets of demographics (sex, ethnicity, religion) yielded only 3 out of 24 possible interactions of a demographic variable with mortality salience and bogus pipeline and, therefore, are not discussed further. (1) All subsequent analyses were conducted as 2 (mortality salience) x 2 (bogus pipeline) x 2 (country) ANOVAs.

To determine if mortality salience affected mood, an analyses of variance was performed on an abridged version of the PANAS-x, including Positive Affect and Negative Affect. Consistent with previous TMT research demonstrating that mortality salience did not influence affect, there were no significant differences found for any of these analyses (pvalues > .1). Means, standard deviations, and intercorrelations among variables are presented in Table 1.

Cartoons. This study produced a main effect for the bogus pipeline manipulation F (1,150) = 5.16, p = .03 for the leadership cartoon and a sig main effect for the world cartoon F (1,148) = 8.93, p = .003. Participants in the camouflage condition evaluated them as being less justified (respective leadership and world means: M = 2.60; M = 2.61), while when told they would be caught lying, participants viewed the cartoons as more justified (respective leadership and world means: M = 2.88; M = 3.03).

Analyses yielded a significant MS x country interaction for the leader cartoon F (1,150) = 7.53, p = .007. In accord with the second hypothesis, participants in the mortality salience condition rated the cartoon of the Israeli leader eating Palestinian babies as more justified than in the control condition (M = 2.90, SD = .95 v. M = 2.50, SD = .83, t [147] = 2.18, p < .05). This was not the case with those rating the cartoons of the Chinese leader eating Tibetan babies (M = 2.61, SD = .75 v. M = 2.84, SD = .64, t [147] = 1.30, p > .1).

Both the leader and world cartoons yielded an unpredicted significant three-way mortality salience x bogus pipeline x target country interaction--respective leadership and world Fs: F (1,150) = 6.31, p < .02, F (1,148) = 4.13, p < .05 (see Tables 1 and 2 for means and standard deviations).

Based on these findings, the cartoon conditions were combined to form a single cartoon condition. In line with the first hypothesis, analyses yielded a significant main effect for the bogus pipeline manipulation F (1,149) = 11.23, p = .001. Participants did indeed view both the offensive Chinese and Israeli cartoons as more justified in the bogus pipeline condition (M = 2.95, SD = .61) than in the camouflage condition (M = 2.59, SD = .71).

These main effects were qualified by a significant three-way mortality salience, bogus pipeline, and target country interaction F (1,149) = 11.23, p = .001. Based on these findings, the hypothesis--that levels of justification for the cartoons would be highest in the mortality salience/bogus pipeline/Israel group--was tested with a one-degree of freedom contrast in which the mortality salience/bogus pipeline/Israel cell was coded as 7, and all other cells were coded as -1. Cell means and contrast coefficients are presented in Table 3.

The pattern of cell means (see Table 3) clearly supported the hypothesis. Mean attitude toward Israel was 3.41 in the mortality salience/bogus pipeline cell, whereas it was near 2.79 in all of the other cells. Furthermore, the one-degree-of-freedom contrast was significant, t (141) = 4.17, p <.001. This contrast, therefore, strongly supports the claim that mortality salience in conjunction with the fear of being caught lying to appear unprejudiced increased demonization of Israel more than for other countries.


The present study tested the hypothesis that expressions of hostility toward the Jewish state would be magnified by a mortality salience induction. Expressions of antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment in the form of demonization were assessed through obtaining the impressions of two offensive political cartoons. Results showed that mortality salience in conjunction with a bogus pipeline manipulation increased perceived justification for offensive political cartoons of Israel but not China. These effects may be interpreted as an effect of mortality salience on moral sensibilities and disdain for transgressors of human rights. Because there were no effects for China, however, the best interpretation of the results is that the antisemitism aroused by mortality salience led to these findings (see Figure 7).

Even with media reports of antisemitism on the rise, social psychological research has yet to resume its once prominent emphasis on understanding antisemitism (Bachner 2003). This is, however, an unfortunate state of affairs, which the present paper begins to rectify. This research extended the findings of Cohen et al. (2009) and provided insight into the psychological underpinnings of antisemitism.

First, it demonstrated that under the right (wrong) conditions, antisemitism readily emerges. Denials of antisemitism, therefore, cannot necessarily be taken at face value. Opposition to Israel is a good/convenient method for expressing antisemitism without seeming to do so.

Second, the hypotheses derived from the MASIM model were built on the original tenets of terror management theory and presented preliminary experimental evidence to support the model. Given the recent rise in the salience of terrorist acts against civilians in the West (e.g., World Trade Center, Spanish train attacks, London bus bombings), it seems likely that mortality salience has been chronically raised. If so, then the current model provides a strong explanation for recent acts of antisemitism (BBC News 2012).

MASIM contributes one explanation toward establishing the relationship between antisemitism and opposition to Israel. Because war, conflict, and extreme economic conditions--unprecedented since the Great Depression (Wills August 1, 2009)--raise mortality salience concerns, anti-Semitic attitudes may be triggered. Higher levels of antisemitism, in turn, increase hostility toward Israel. And bitter public condemnation directed at Israel may feed back to increase antisemitism. The major advances within social psychology over the last 50 years (i.e., since the last major wave of antisemitism research) provide an extraordinary opportunity to understand the sources and consequences of antisemitism. They also will undoubtedly help detect the sometimes veiled manner with which antisemitism is expressed, and the conditions under which opposition to Israel reflects and does not reflect antisemitism.

(1.) There was a significant interaction of race (White, non-White) with bogus pipeline for evaluation of the world cartoon, F (1,146) = 3.97, p = .048. There was a race difference under camouflage conditions (Ms = 2.33, 2.06, for Whites and non-Whites respectively, t [146] = 3.15, p <.01), but there was no race difference under bogus pipeline (Ms = 3.02, 3.08 for Whites and non-Whites, respectively t[146] = 1.08, p > .1).

There was also a significant interaction of gender (male, female) with mortality salience for evaluation of the world cartoon, F (1,148) = 4.15, p =.044). There was a gender difference under mortality salience (Ms =2.60, 3.12, for males and females respectively, t [148] = 2.61, p = .01), but there was no gender difference under pain conditions (Ms = 2.77, 2.72 for males and females, respectively t [146] = .25, p > .1).

Future research might want to further explore these types of race and gender differences regarding evaluations of political cartoons; they are, however, beyond the scope of the present research and are not discussed further.

Appendix A

Opinion Survey

Violence against Palestinians/Tibetan groups by Israeli/Chinese security forces is not new; it has accompanied the occupation for many years. Recently, however, a significant increase in the number of beatings and instances of abuse has occurred, in part because of increased friction between Palestinians/Tibetans and Israeli/Chinese security forces. According to many testimonies given to human rights organizations, the security forces use violence, at times gross violence, against Palestinians/Tibetans unnecessarily and without justification.

Most cases involve a "small dose" of ill treatment such as a slap, a kick, an insult, a pointless delay at checkpoints, or degrading treatment. These acts have become an integral part of Palestinian/Tibetan life in the Occupied Territories/Tibet. From time to time, however, cases of severe brutality occur.

Many instances of abuse are not exposed because they have become the norm, and, for Palestinians/Tibetans, filing complaints is very time consuming. Furthermore, many Palestinians/Tibetans even refrain from filing complaints in cases of severe brutality because they fear that filing the complaint will only bring more harm on themselves. Based on past experience, many do not file complaints because of lack of trust in the system--a system that tends not to believe them, and that tends to protect rather than prosecute those who injured them. The numerous restrictions on movement imposed by Israel/China in the Occupied Territories/Tibet make it very difficult for Palestinians/Tibetans who want to file complaints to do so. Please look at the pictures on the following page and then answer the questions that follow.









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Florette Cohen *

* Florette Cohen is a social psychologist and assistant professor of psychology at CUNY Staten Island, and associate editor for the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism.
Table 1
Means, standard deviations, and intercorrelations for variables.

Variable           1         2          3        4          5

Cond-death         1
Cond-bogus         -.05      1
Country            -.02      -.04       1
Cartoon World      .08       .24**      -.11     1
Cartoon Lead       .05       .17*       -.02     .33**      1
M                  1.50      1.48       1.48     2.81       2.71
SD                 0.50      0.50       0.50     0.88       0.81

*p < .05, ** p < .01
N = 151 for all correlations.

Table 2
Cell means and contrast coefficients on the leadership cartoon scale.

Mortality Salience   Bogus Pipeline      Country     N      M      SD

Pain                 Camouflage          China       19     2.65   .66
                                         Israel      19     2.47   .91
                     Bogus Pipeline      China       20     3.03   .57
                                         Israel      18     2.52   .77
Death                Camouflage          China       21     2.67   .79
                                         Israel      20     2.55   .94
                     Bogus Pipeline      China       19     2.56   .73
                                         Israel      15     3.38   .74

Scores were based on a 5-point Likert scale. Higher scores indicate
higher levels of perceived justification for the cartoon. These means
are participants' average score on the three questions comprising
this scale.

Table 3
Cell means and contrast coefficients on the world cartoon scale.

Mortality Salience    Bogus Pipeline        Country    N   M     SD

Pain                  Camouflage            China      19  2.70  .90
                                            Israel     18  2.41  .90
                      Bogus Pipeline        China      20  3.10  .86
                                            Israel     17  2.67  .63
Death                 Camouflage            China      21  2.89  1.10
                                            Israel     20  2.45  .85
                      Bogus Pipeline        China      19  2.90  .72
                                            Israel     15  3.44  .54

Scores were based on a 5-point Likert scale. Higher scores indicate
higher levels of perceived justification for the cartoon. These
means are participants' average score on the
three questions comprising this scale.

Table 4
Cell means and contrast coefficients on the leader and world cartoon
scales combined.

Mortality Salience  Bogus Pipeline   Country  N    M     SD     CC

Pain                Camouflage       China    19   2.68   .59    -1
                                     Israel   18   2.44   .75    -1
                    Bogus Pipeline   China    20   3.07   .47    -1
                                     Israel   17   2.60   .55    -1
Death               Camouflage       China    21   2.78   .78    -1
                                     Israel   20   2.50   .73    -1
                    Bogus Pipeline   China    19   2.73   .59    -1
                                     Israel   15   3.41   .55     7

Scores were based on a 5-point Likert scale. Higher scores
indicate higher levels of perceived justification for the
cartoons. These means are participants' average score on
the two cartoon scales.
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Author:Cohen, Florette
Publication:Journal for the Study of Antisemitism
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:70MID
Date:Jun 1, 2012
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