How Threats of Exclusion Mobilize Palestinian Political Participation

The forthcoming article “How Threats of Exclusion Mobilize Palestinian Political Participation by Chagai M. Weiss, Alexandra Siegel, and David Romney is summarized by the authors below. 

Exclusionary policies target minority citizens around the world. Such policies range widely in severity, from assaults on religious freedom and targeted travel bans to direct threats to citizenship. Past research has explored how such policies affect minorities’ identities as well as their social and economic well-being. But how does the threat of these policies impact minorities’ political behavior and mobilization? In our research, we find that the threat of an exclusionary policy targeting Palestinian citizens of Israel, drove political mobilization on social media, turned out voters, and increased participation in civil society.  

Understanding how the threat of exclusionary policies impacts minorities’ political behavior is important because politicians often declare their policy intentions well before exclusionary policies become law. Minority mobilization might therefore prevent those policies from ever becoming reality. But studying the effect of exclusionary policies on minority mobilization is difficult. Governments might promote exclusionary policies for strategic reasons, responding to the increasing visibility or mobilization of a minority group. It is therefore challenging to determine whether minority political mobilization is the cause or an effect of government exclusionary policies. 

In our research, we develop a theory and design that help us answer this question. We argue that being targeted by an exclusionary policy can create or resurface political grievances that increase the propensity of minority communities to mobilize politically. To test our argument, we focus on Donald Trump’s 2020 announcement of a peace plan for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A portion of this peace plan proposed transfers of Palestinian residents in specific Israeli towns close to the West Bank (called the “Triangle”) to a future Palestinian state, posing a threat to the citizenship status of the Palestinian Citizens of Israel residing in those towns. We leverage two aspects Trump’s announcement—its timing and its differential potential impact on Palestinian citizens of Israel within and outside of the Triangle area—to identify the effect of this threat on political mobilization. Specifically, we adapt a “difference-in-difference” design, through which we trace patterns of political participation in Triangle and non-Triangle localities before and after Trump’s declaration. 

Analyzing over 170,000 Facebook posts, voting data from three parliamentary elections, and sign-up data from a social movement, we show that Palestinian citizens of Israel who were confronted with a threat to their citizenship status were more likely to discuss political issues on Facebook, vote in national elections, and join the listserv of a growing Jewish-Arab social movement. These results emphasize that government exclusion can increase minority mobilization. Our results also open a door for future research to examine the conditions under which minority mobilization may inhibit the implementation of exclusionary policies. 

About the Authors: Chagai M. Weiss is a Political Science PhD candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Middle East Initiative predoctoral fellow at Harvard Kennedy School. Alexandra Siegel is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Colorado at Boulder and David Romney is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Brigham Young University. Their research “How Threats of Exclusion Mobilize Palestinian Political Participation” is now available in Early View and will appear in a forthcoming issue of the American Journal of Political Science.

Speak Your Mind



The American Journal of Political Science (AJPS) is the flagship journal of the Midwest Political Science Association and is published by Wiley.

%d bloggers like this: