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”We see an increase in hate crimes in the aftermath of major attacks”

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Hi there, Jakob Enlund, PhD student in economics, and Love Christensen, PhD student in political science, who in an ongoing study examine the effect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on hate crimes against Jews and Muslims in the United States. Based on your research, how do you view recent media reporting on, among other things, harassment of Jews in the US, Sweden, and elsewhere?

”Unfortunately it shows that our research is highly topical. The media reporting that both Jews and Muslims are exposed to hate crimes linked to events in the conflict is in line with our results, where we see an increase in hate crimes against these groups in the aftermath of major attacks and intensive news reporting on the attacks."

PhD students Love Christensen, political science, and Jakob Enlund, economics.

You study the effect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and American news reporting on it, on hate crimes against Jews and Muslims in the United States over a long period of time, between 2000 and 2016. Why is this important to investigate?

”To understand the impact of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is important to investigate hate crimes even during quiet periods in the conflict. There is a risk that the media primarily focus and report on this type of hate crime when the conflict flares up. By studying the effects of the conflict over a long period of time, we can be sure that it actually has an impact on hate crimes against Jews and Muslims in the United States. We can also see that this effect is not limited to a single time period in the conflict or to a specific US state."

What do your results point to?

”We see a systematic increase in hate crimes after major attacks and intensive media reporting on the conflict. It is primarily the religious group associated with the attacking party that is subjected to hate crime: Jews are subjected to hate crimes after Israeli attacks and Muslims are subjected to hate crimes after Palestinian attacks. We thus see that hate crimes are increasing against both Jews and Muslims. This is a result we did not expect. Anecdotal evidence provides support that the conflict leads to increased hate crimes against Jews, but there is much less reporting that Muslims are also exposed to hate crimes in connection to conflict events."

Text: Lars Magnusson

More information

The study "Echoes of Violent Conflict - The Effect of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict on Hate Crimes In the U.S." is currently available as a so-called working paper and is thus not yet published in a peer-reviewed journal.