Poll: Most Britons hold negative views about Israel

A new poll has revealed the depth of negative feeling most Britons hold towards Israel.

The poll by Populus, which was commissioned by the Israel lobby organisation BICOM, revealed that 47% of Britons hold negative views about Israel, whereas only 21% hold positive views.

But the poll revealed a similar score for the Palestinians with 45% expressing a negative view and 21% expressing a positive one.

Respondents also said that Israel was more to blame for the Arab-Israeli conflict than the Palestinians. Twenty three per cent said the Israels were more to blame while only 8% said the Palestinians were. Most respondents (60%) said both were equally to blame.

Populus conducted an online sample of 2,026 adults 18+ between November 1-3. Data was weighted to be representative of the population of Great Britain.

In other findings, 44% of respondents said Israel was an important ally to the UK in fighting terrorism, while 19% said it was unimportant.

Thirty six per cent of respondents said Israel was an important trading partner in the post Brexit era, while 39% said it wasn’t.

Only 21% said they would support Israel as a majority Jewish state irrespective of whether it came to a two-state solution deal with the Palestinians; while 40% said they would support it if it did come to an agreement. Only 8% said they wouldn’t support it as a majority Jewish state come what may.

When it came to boycotting Israel, 48% were against the idea, but 28% said they would be willing to boycott Israeli goods from the Occupied Territories.

And 52% said that criticising Israel was not antisemitic, although 45% said that hating Israel and denying its “right to exist” was antisemitic.

When asked to describe Israel:

  • 25% said Israel was aggressive
  • 16% said Israel was a bully
  • 8% said Israel was legitimate
  • 2% said Israel was peaceful
  • 4% said Israel was trustworthy
  • 5% said Israel was colonial
  • 8% said Israel was Apartheid
  • 31% said Israel was under threat

James Sorene, Bicom’s chief executive, argued the most striking feature of these results was the stability of British beliefs about the Middle East, with many key indicators unchanged when compared to a similar poll conducted last year.

Mr Sorene said: “Warmth towards Israel and the Palestinians has largely stayed the same for five years, though we have seen small decreases in both this year.

“The importance of close defence and intelligence ties between Britain and Israel is acknowledged in the survey with 44 per cent of people saying Israel is an important partner for Britain in the fight against terrorism.”

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