How does terrorism influence citizens’ willingness to deny basic liberties to domestic groups alleged to be “fellow travelers” of the perpetrators of terrorism? Based on intergroup threat theory and social identity theory, we hypothesize that political intolerance toward fellow traveler groups is determined by three factors: (1) the level of terrorism, (2) the degree to which domestic outgroups are alleged to be demographically or politically associated with terrorist groups, and (3) whether individuals identify strongly with the political Right. Consistent with our hypotheses, we find that higher levels of terrorism in Israel over a thirty-year period produce a “diffusion of political intolerance” among Israeli Jews on the Right that extends to domestic groups distant from the perpetrators of terrorism. Our findings have important implications for the study of terrorism, democracy, and political tolerance.
- political identity
- political tolerance