Ethnic Group Conflict: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Essay

Ethnic Group Conflict: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Essay

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Social perception is powerfully mediated by cultural conformity, especially when it concerns religious beliefs. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict demonstrates this concept vividly. Both sides harbor antagonistic social perceptions against each other. Only by changing these perceptions can a reconciliation be reached. The opposing views result in a biased lens, which only serves to uphold the traditionally held generalities each culture has of the other. Even though religion is a primary theme in the conflict between these two groups, it may only be the bridge that transcends all the differences of the two ethnic groups. The concept of peace building may help to change perceptions and cultivate positive interactions when it emphasizes the need for common ground (Byrne, 1961).
Conformity
Shiraev and Levy (2010) explain, “Conformity is a form of social influence in which individuals change their attitudes and/or behavior to adhere to a group or social norm” (p. 283). Social psychologists view conformity as a way to accommodate those in the majority, maintain a sense of accord, and to avoid negative consequences. It is also a way for people to preserve positive relationships by living up to others expectations (Shiraev & Levy, 2010). Rational actor theories are another perspective of why people conform. This approach suggests that conformity is a rational choice made by individuals after they have examined all possible alternatives and their benefits and consequences (Shiraev & Levy, 2010).
In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, both ethnic groups are bound by their respective religious beliefs and customs. In both cultures, political and religious conformity is of significant importance and citizenship is dependent on it (Ho...


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...world order. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Krueger, J. I., & DiDonato, T. E. (2008). Social categorization and the perception of groups and group differences. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 2(2), 733-750.
Mollov, B., & Barhoum, M. I. (1999). Building religious/cultural bridges between Israeli and Palestinian uiversity students. Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics, 9, 55.
Shamir, J., & Shikaki, K. (2002). Self-serving perceptions of terrorism among Israelis and Palestinians. Political Psychology, 23(3), 537-557.
Shiraev, E. B., & Levy, D. A. (2010). Cross-cultural psychology: Critical thinking and contemporary applications (4th ed.). Boston: Pearson/Allyn Bacon.
WGBH Educational Foundation. (2002). Global Connections. Retrieved from PBS: Public Broadcasting Service: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/globalconnections/mideast/themes/religion/index.html

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