Religious Discrimination, Diaspora, and United Nations Voting on Israel

Tatyana Haykin, Jonathan Fox, Nikola Mirilovic

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This study examines whether discrimination against religious minorities and diaspora politics influences United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) voting on Israel and the Israeli Palestinian conflict between 1990 and 2014. We test discrimination against Jews, discrimination against Muslims, and general discrimination against all religious minorities in 183 countries. Our results indicate that repressive countries vote against Israel in the UNGA partly as a diversionary tactic seeking to divert attention from their own poor behavior. This is because discriminating against both Jews and Muslims, as well as religious discrimination in general, predict anti-Israel voting. We also find that countries with larger Jewish minorities are more likely to support Israel and countries with larger Muslim minorities are less likely to support Israel, although the latter effect is more conditional and most consistently pronounced in countries where discrimination against Muslims is low. This suggests that diaspora politics and transnational religious ties influence UNGA voting on Israel.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberorab024
JournalForeign Policy Analysis
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2021

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