Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism in Iran: The Effects of Identity, Threat, and Political Trust

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Antisemitism and anti-Zionism constitute two important ideological building blocks of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This article is the first to present quantitative empirical survey data elucidating attitudes towards Jews and Israel among an opportunity sample of Iranians. This study examines the correlates of antisemitism and anti-Zionism in Iran with particular attention to the effects of identity, threat, and political trust. Consistent with emerging research into antisemitism and anti-Zionism, there was a positive association between both forms of prejudice, suggesting social psychological overlap between the constructs. Given the pervasiveness of antisemitic and anti-Zionist representations in Iran, there were no significant differences in levels of anti-Zionism or antisemitism on the basis of gender and educational orientations. Political conservatives did manifest greater antisemitism and anti-Zionism than political reformists, although both groups scored high on these scales. There was a significant interaction effect of Iranian national identity and political trust on anti-Zionism, and a significant interaction effect of Muslim religious identity and political trust on antisemitism. Political trust was by far the most powerful predictor of both forms of prejudice, followed by the perception of identity threat. These observations are considered through the lenses of Social Identity Theory and Identity Process Theory from social psychology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211–235
JournalContemporary Jewry
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015


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