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BBC Poll: International Attitudes Toward Israel on Downward Trajectory

bbc poll israel rankingThe BBC commissions an annual poll of international attitudes toward the world’s major nations.  The results are in for the 2012 edition (full version) and they aren’t good for Israel:

Evaluations of Israel’s influence in the world—already largely unfavourable in 2011—have worsened in 2012. On average, in the 22 tracking countries surveyed both in 2011 and 2012, 50% of respondents have negative views of Israel’s influence in the world, an increase of three points from 2011.

The proportion of respondents giving Israel a favourable rating remains stable, at 21 per cent. Out of 22 countries polled in 2011, 17 lean negative, three lean positive, and two are divided.

There is only one country in the world where views of Israel have become more favorable…you guessed it: the U.S.  Thanks to MFA hasbara efforts and the unrelenting pressure of the Israel lobby, perceptions of Israel here have improved and are now at the highest level (50% positive) since tracking began in 2005.

There are those among the pro-Israel crowd who will argue quite cynically that this is all the support Israel needs.  If the rest of the world says Israel can go to Hell, well then, what does it matter?  Our sugar daddy is willing to keep the money (and weapons) flowing.  The rest of ‘em can go to Hell themselves.  Those of us on the left have to concede that they have a point.  But only up to a point.

The U.S. is not an island in the world, impermeable and inattentive to attitudes on the rest of the globe.  The overwhelming negativity toward Israel will catch up here in the U.S.  Take a look at some of the results: Spain-74% negative, up 8 points since 2011, France-65%, up 9 points, German and Britain-69% and 68% respectively, Australia-65%, up 7%, Canada-59% up 7%, South Korea-69%, up 15 points.

Relying on hasbara to bolster your image in the world is the equivalent of running on fumes.  Sooner or later the fact that you have no real record to run on is bound to catch up to Israel.

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{ 64 comments… add one }

  • Bob Mann May 18, 2012, 3:09 AM

    You wrote that the US is the only country in the world where views of Israel have become more favorable. This is not accurate.

    In Nigeria, 54 percent said they had a positive view of Israel – an increase of 23 percent on last year’s survey, and in Kenya 45 percent held positive views – an increase of 16 percent on 2011.

    Why do you think there was such a sharp increase in positive views of Israel in Kenya and Nigeria? Why such a sharp contrast with Europe?

    • Richard Silverstein May 18, 2012, 12:45 PM

      Because people in those countries are making the same mistake Islamophobes everywhere make. They confuse the Shebab and Boko Haram with all Islam, believing that they are in common cause with Israel against the Islamic hordes.

      As with Israel, the problems in those countries are caused by the corruption dysfunction & failures of the Nigerian state & Somalia, which give opportunities to domestic opponents like these groups.

  • Chayma May 18, 2012, 3:44 AM

    It would be a foolish for any country to rely on polls which are not always reliable. What does a positive image in the USA acheive anyway? A country on a downward spiral, with it’s economy hocked to China. This is not the 20′s where a robust manufacturing sector ensured the Depression would be history.

    I also don’t believe that the image is as negative as made out to be in Europe. It depends on what you call a ‘negative image’.

    Bob Mann

    Err, Kenya and Nigera are African? Do they have some sort of special relation with Israel, do they buy arms from Israel? Europe doesn’t need anything from Israel. And it’s a mistake for Israel to assume Europe does not matter, first because Israel’s biggest trade partner is Europe, and second, the growing irrelevancy of the US and the rising importance of countries like China and India means there is a hugh poverty ridden class in the US, unlike in the EU.

    • Deïr Yassin May 18, 2012, 12:15 PM

      “I also don’t believe that the image is as negative as made out to be in Europe…”
      Do you have any facts to support your ‘belief’ ?
      In 2003, the European Commission commissioned a poll in the 15 member states at the time, 500 persons were polled in each state.
      Israel was considered the worst threat to world peace by about 60% of the polled. If my memory is correct it was as high as 8O% in Greece, and very high in Spain, Holland and Denmark too.
      There was an enormous fuss about it at the time, on the news etc. The Israelis reacted very strongly, of course playing the antisemitism-card, and the European Commision published some sort of apology: that the questions hadn’t been clearly formulated and blahblah. Of course the questions were clear, but they simply couldn’t handle the Israeli propaganda-machine.
      I’ve tried to find the poll but it’s not on the net, only some articles about the poll, but at the time we had the specific details on the news. I guess it has been ‘cleaned out’ and I’ve never heard of another EU-poll on the same topic since…
      I’m sure some of the commenters here living in Europe remember that scandal too.
      ***
      Concerning the 9% jump in France, maybe a two-hours documentary on the national television back in october on Palestine had an impact. I’ve never seen anything like that on the national television, the Wall, the land grapping and the stealing of natural ressources in the West Bank, the Bedouins in the Jordan Valley, the settler thugs and their green lawns next to Palestinian villages without water, testimonies of a Palestinian family in East Jerusalem expelled to give place to Jews, the discrimination within Israel, live footage from the Nakba etc.
      AND particularly the hysterical reaction from the French ADL: one hour after the end of the program, Prasquier, the local Abe Foxman, had filed a complaint against the national television, though he admitted he hadn’t seen but the last ten minutes. That only made more people see the documentary on the net.
      By the way, I wonder whether the poll in the US was made before or after Michael-There’s-A-First-Time-To-Everything-Bob-Oren admitted in 60 Minutes that he had tried by all means to make CBS cancel the program on Christian Palestinians.

      • Deïr Yassin May 18, 2012, 12:38 PM

        ‘grabbing’ etc…

        • Chayma May 18, 2012, 5:59 PM

          Deir, polls are based on selfish needs. I can create a poll and manipulate the target market to get the result I want.

          They do not reflect reality, they reflect feelings. In the thick and thin of it, they don’t matter and are irrelevant. . Saudi Arabia is probably right there with Korea, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, right at the bottom. But you don’t hear Europe or the US speak about the Saudi threat.

          Polls showing Americans as being pro Israel are irrelevant, why hasn’t Pollard been freed? Why havn’t the so called ‘Israel lovers’ called Chrsitian Zionists been able to get the embassy moved to Jerusalem?

          You want something done? You make sure you have something someone wants. No such thing as a free lunch.

          Polls are irrelevant.

          Richard and Bob Mann

          I agree that the BBC tries to be as fair as possible. But didn’t they fail when they predicted that Labour would win the election some time back? All the polls were showing a Labour win, but the conservatives won by a landslide.

          It is easy to let emotions get in the way, when it’s just a poll, but real life decisions need to be thought out.

          A man may hire a prostitute for a while, but he is not going to have a long term relation or a marriage with her.

          • Richard Silverstein May 19, 2012, 12:14 AM

            This is simply & patently wrong. Polls matter if they’re done by reputable polling companies. Peoples’ “feelings” determine their “reality,” and divorcing the two as you’ve done is simply bogus. The fact that impressions of Israel are up in the U.S. is important, contrary to what you claim.

            I don’t recall the polls predicting a Labor victory just before the election. I listened regularly to the BBC & it was clear then by listening to the news that Labor would lose. The only question was by how much. Polling may’ve been wrong at some other point in the election cycle, but not at the end. If you have evidence proving the contrary I’d like to see it.

          • Deïr Yassin May 19, 2012, 1:46 AM

            @ Chayma
            “Polls are based on selfish needs”
            Yeah, that’s why the EU Commission was VERY embarrassed when Israel turned out first in the 2003 poll across the European Union: that wasn’t the result they expected nor wanted.
            I know very well that polls can be manipulated, (I’ve done a little myself as a undergraduate student) just as public opinion. That’s why Israel isn’t first in this poll, probably.

            You still haven’t given anything to support that you “don’t believe that the image is as negative as that in Europe”. Do you live in Europe, do you follow what ordinary people think about Israel in various European countries ? I do and I’ve done so for a very long time, though I’m of course biased, but there has been an immense change in attitude on Israel over the last decades. Sabra and Shatila was a turning point for many former pro-Israelis, and Israeli actions to turn away any sympathy that people might have had, have occured constantly ever since.

            “You don’t hear Europe or the US speak about the Saudi threat”
            This is simply plain wrong ! First, this poll is not about Europe or US official attitudes but about the man in the street, and I don’t even understand how you can group Europe and the US, maybe because you don’t know Europe AND the variety within Europe ? In France and the Scandinavian countries – that I know best – lots of ordinary people are aware of the influence of Saudi (and Qatari) money in the rise of Wahhabism, and the enormous hypocrisy concerning the Saudi role in what’s globally called terrorism.

          • Chayma May 19, 2012, 5:27 AM

            Richard

            Polls matter if they’re done by reputable polling companies.
            Up to a certain point yes, but it also depends on what the subject is. You have to take into consideration that people may be motivated by other reasons which they may not vocalise. I believe that is the case where Israel is concerned.

            I listened regularly to the BBC & it was clear then by listening to the news that Labor would lose

            I was talking about the election in 1992, not this last one. This is only one example of how polls even BBC can be wrong. Well I concede, they do matter up to a degree, you’re right, but I don’t trust them for accuracy

            BBC Nine O’Clock News – Saturday 4 April 1992
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7PZJ9h-fkM
            According to the BBC, this would have meant Labour would be 8 short of an overall majority in the House of Commons with 318 seats, Conservatives would have 290 seats, Liberal Democrats 19 seats and the other parties 24 seats.

            In reality, John Major’s Conservatives won with 41.9% of
            ———
            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/conservative/9185917/Its-time-to-give-John-Major-the-credit-we-so-cruelly-denied-him.html
            Monday marks a notable date in political history – the anniversary of April 9 1992, the last time that the Conservative Party managed to achieve victory at a general election. Right up to the BBC exit polls, it was assumed that Neil Kinnock’s Labour would win. But John Major, always underestimated by a sneering metropolitan media class, triumphed against the odds.
            He won more votes – 14 million – than any other British prime minister has ever done.

          • Chayma May 19, 2012, 5:47 AM

            Deir

            You still haven’t given anything to support that you “don’t believe that the image is as negative as that in Europe”. Do you live in Europe, do you follow what ordinary people think about Israel in various European countries ?

            Yes, on all counts and my belief isn’t based on polls, but personal interactions,

            When I have probed, I have found that the reason for the animosity is a projection, they feel the Palestinians are victims of sterotypes they themselves hold about Jews which they project onto Israel, and contrary to what you say, it’s not something they do to other Middle Eastern miscreant states, Syria (Hama massacre), Jordan etc.

            It’s one of the reasons Palestinians are stuck with sad case losers as leaders who rob them. Sow, sorry Suha Arafat comes to mind.

            and Richard, the reason I don’t trust polls where Israel is concerned is because it’s not a country like other countries. 3 of the worlds major religions, and many of their offshoots, regard the land as sacred.

            If polls are to be based on reason, well then religion is not reason, it’s faith. Thus many people will be making their opinion on Israel prejudiced about their religious belief.

            How many Muslims, Jews or Christians respond to a poll thinking, we have rights to this land, and they don’t?

          • Deïr Yassin May 19, 2012, 1:02 PM

            @ Chayma
            So now you believe that the animosity to Israel in Europe is a projection, “that they feel the Palestinians are victims of stereotypes that they themselves hold about Jews which they project onto Israel”.
            So you’re basically saying that Israel has a bad image because of antisemitism, and not because of the occupation, the land grabbing, the discrimination, Cast Lead, etc. No, it a projection.
            How come Israel’s image in Europe is constantly deteriorating if the reasons are irrationnel and based on pure prejudice ? Or you don’t believe the image is deteriorating either ?

            “Contrary to what you say it’s not something they do to other Middle Eastern miscreant states…”
            I didn’t mention any other Middle Eastern states in my comment, and by the way I can’t see any logical link between your various sentences: your ‘projections about Israel’, the corrupt Palestinian leaders, the massacre in Hama and particularly Suha Arafat, except that they are all well-known Hasbara talking points.

          • Chayma May 19, 2012, 3:40 PM

            Deir,

            I didn’t mention any other Middle Eastern states in my comment, and by the way I can’t see any logical link between your various sentences: your ‘projections about Israel’, the corrupt Palestinian leaders, the massacre in Hama and particularly Suha Arafat, except that they are all well-known Hasbara talking points.

            There is a logical link, if you get your Hasbara paranoia out of your head.

            I care about facts, not about who is making them. If a Hasbarist says that some in the pro Palestinian camp are motivated by pure anti semitism, i will totally agree with that, because i have seen first hand that is true,

            How come Israel’s image in Europe is constantly deteriorating if the reasons are irrationnel and based on pure prejudice ? Or you don’t believe the image is deteriorating either ?

            No I didn’t say that, of course the occupation plays a part, and there are well meaning Europeans who are grossed out by Israeli crimes against Palestinians, i’m not saying they’re all anti semites. I said I don’t trust polls, not that they are 100% wrong.

            By the way, I don’t believe Hasbara is the reason, the sole reason. If it were, most American’s would be supporting a war against Iran, since that is the latest Hasbara propaganda attempt, to garner support for an attack on Iran.

          • Deïr Yassin May 19, 2012, 6:03 PM

            @ Chayma
            Many of your comments on this blog have been about Islamophobia and various bloggers doing in the Muslim-bashing business, but apparently you haven’t made any link between that and the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and this poll.
            Just as some people might be pro-Palestinians because they’re first of all anti-jewish, it hasn’t crossed your mind that it goes the other way around too: that many people are pro-Israelis because they are Islamophobes or hate Arabs, whether Christians or Muslims ? You’re basically saying that anti-Jewish feelings in Europe are stronger than anti-Muslim feelings (cf your statement on this poll) and you’ve completely made a blackout on American right-wing Zionists’ role in the production of Islamophobia, the subject of many articles that you’ve commented on this very blog.
            Amazing.

            I’m not paranoid about Hasbara, but I still wonder why you mentoned Suha Arafat and the corrupt Palestinian leadership in your comment, totally out of context. You did realize Palestine wasn’t part of the poll, didn’t you ?

          • Chayma May 20, 2012, 1:49 AM

            Deir,

            I don’t know how you assume that I don’t know about the link between far right Zionists and Islamophobia. I have made the link between the Islamophobia and the right wing Zionists. That doesn’t mean that i’ll ignore the anti semitism of Arab Christians who claim to be pro Palestinian and think they’ll get a free pass from Muslims, even as they pretend to convert to Islam to rob Palestinians. Sow Arafat is one of those.

            I have also made the link between the left wing extremists and anti semites.

            I have also made the link between socialists/secularists who refuse to see the religious needs of those directly involved in the conflict,

            I have also made the link between some of the afore mentioned charlatans and those in the Pro Palestinian camp who are so desperate for support for their cause that they will turn a blind eye crying ‘Hasbara’ to anything that may address the LEGITIMATE concerns of Israelis. These people are just as reprehensible as the Zionist radicals who ally themselves to neo nazis in an attempt to whip up hate against Muslims.

            I also do not appreciate your trying to analyse my comments, and then telling me how I fail to live up to your expectations.

            I think you’re an extremist.

          • Richard Silverstein May 20, 2012, 2:36 AM

            I think you are wrong. I don’t see Deir Yassin as an extremist at all.

          • Deïr Yassin May 20, 2012, 4:40 AM

            @ Chayma
            “I don’t know how you assume that I don’t know the link between far right Zionists and Islamophobia….. antisemitism of Arab Christians….”

            Contrary to you, I try to stick to the initial debate: the result of the poll in Europe, and I can’t see how you get Arab Christian antisemitism (in case it exists) mixed up with that. You think the Lebanese Maronites had an impact on the poll in France ? (They are often more pro-Israeli than the average Lebanese by the way though it has changed after 2006) Or that the Palestinian Ambassadors to England or the UNESCO, both Christians, have manipulated the poll ?

            You firstly claim that you don’t believe this poll, then you claim that if Israel has an negative image in Europe it’s primarily due to antisemitism, then you post an al-Jazeera-article basically saying the same thing as the poll you initially rejected.

            And if you see a link between far right Zionist propaganda and Islamophobia, how come you can’t imagine that has an impact on the result of this poll just as antisemitism. You only mention the anti-Israeli bias based on antisemitism, but not the pro-Israeli bias based on Islamophobia as having an impact on the result.
            Strange, particularly if you compare with the much lower negative image of Israel in Russia, a country where antisemitism has been/is very present. Following your ‘logic’, the negative image of Israel should have been much higher than 26%.

            “It doesn’t mean that I’ll ignore the antisemitism of Arab Christians who claim to be pro-Palestinians and think they’ll get a free pass from Muslims, even if they pretend to convert to Islam to rob Palestinains. Suha Arafat is one of them.”
            This is one of the most ridiculous and nonsensical comments I’ve ever read. Where is the link in all that crap ? Suha Arafat IS a Palestinian (though I wish she weren’t), she didn’t have to convert to blahblah…, she converted to marry Yassir Arafat (and I’m not saying that I approve conversion for such a reason). Many well-known Palestinian nationalists are/were Christians. Suha Arafat’s own mother, Raymunda Tawil, for a start, and her brother-in-law, Ibrahim Souss, former ambassador to France. What has her conversion to do with her betrayal of the Palestinian people ? And what has it to do with the poll ?

            “I also don’t appreciate your trying to analyse my comments, and then telling me how I fall to live up to your expectations”
            Don’t worry, Chayma, I have absolutely NO expectations as far as you’re concerned. I’ve read enough of your comments.

            “I think you’re an extremist”
            Yeah, you mean like considering homosexuals basically being sick people ?

          • Chayma May 22, 2012, 4:46 AM

            Richard,

            Sorry I disagree. Deir is an extremist, in that she/he/it show one side of the story and tries to stifle debate and alternative opinions on Zionism, by rebuking anyone who looks to the left or right, or even looks up from the narrow vision she/he holds herself.

            I find the left wing just as distasteful as the right wing.

            There is more I can say, but your rigid comment rules mean I cannot say more. I’m certain she thinks you are a Zionist extremist in disguise.

            Deir

            Like I said, don’t analyse my writings here and don’t try to pigeonhole me. You have a single agenda with no room for anything else here, but I don’t come here with one agenda in mind.

          • Deïr Yassin May 22, 2012, 10:42 AM

            @ Chayme
            Yeah, you don’t have an agenda, and you find the left wing and the right wing just as distasteful.
            Like Liron, you try to present the truth “as somewhere in the middle” , right ? That’s why your comments mostly have no substance, that’s why you post Ali Abunimah and then immediately after Emanuele Ottolenghi, a fulltime neo-conservative Hasbarist, a major war monger in Europe pushing for a war on Iran. And it’s not the first time you’ve posted that kind of people.

            And it’s not the first time either that you’ve tried to “explain” to Richard what I really think and feel. Maybe you should join a social club where you could gossip at your ease.

      • PJ London June 3, 2012, 11:37 AM

        Here is your link:

        http://www.wnd.com/2003/10/21566/

        Use BING, not as biased as Google

        • Deïr Yassin June 5, 2012, 4:36 PM

          Thank you so much. Yep, that was the poll I was looking for: 59% in the EU considering Israel the greatest threat to world peace. The US second. haha, I forgot that. I’ll try to find the details though the key words.
          And thanks for the advice about BING, though I’m a computer illiterate.

  • bar_kochba132 May 18, 2012, 5:22 AM

    Nigeria and Kenya have serious problems with Muslims.
    Many Africans, particularly Christians, have close emotional links with Israel and Jews. Israel has good relations with many African countries.

    I notice that you, Richard, lke so many Left/Progressives assume that the Israel’s popularity in the US is due to a nefarious conspiracy by AIPAC. It simply doesn’t occur to you that American people think for themselves and like Israel for their own reasons. When I read all you Left/Progressives, like yourself, MJ Rosenberg, Juan Cole, 972 and others it is a GIVEN that the vast majority of people in the world are an ignorant rabble who only think what they do because of capitalist-controlled media, or AIPAC’s manipulation or such . You seem to believe that only you people know the truth and everyone else who doesn’t agree with you is a simpleton ignoramus. How can you claim that youare the people who always want about “democracy” when you only have contempt for the average person’s intelligence.

    • Richard Silverstein May 18, 2012, 12:38 PM

      No actually the majority of people in the world DO think as we do about Israel. That was the entire point of the BBC poll which you appear to have missed. Only in the U.S. are views toward Israel more favorable than elsewhere. This is of course due to the enormous hasbara efforts of the Israeli MFA here and the scores, if not hundreds of millions of dollars spent each yr to buy such loyalty (in the case of Congress & the presidency) or to encourage it (in the case of the public).

      • Commoner May 18, 2012, 11:25 PM

        “This is of course due to the enormous hasbara efforts of the Israeli MFA here and the scores, if not hundreds of millions of dollars spent each yr to buy such loyalty (in the case of Congress & the presidency) or to encourage it (in the case of the public).”

        Some would say that accusing the Zionists/Jews of controlling the US mindset and foreign policy is a form of antisemitism. Similar accusations have been made before. You can find them in the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.

        Here’s another thesis. Maybe Americans are pro-Israel because that’s their opinion? Maybe it has nothing to do with “Zionist/Jewish money being poured into congress and presidency”?

        • Richard Silverstein May 19, 2012, 12:20 AM

          First of all, you’re guilty of grossly misrepresenting what I wrote. Second, accusing me of anti-Semitism is a major comment rule violation. All of which truly disgusts me.

          Saying that Israeli & American Jewish money is determinative regarding U.S. policy toward Israel is totally differnt than “accusing Zionists/Jew of controlling the U.S. mindset and foreign policy.” In fact, I’d say you’re either an idiot or else you’re deliberately and maliciously distorting what I wrote. I don’t allow that to happen here. Watch your step. If you persist in mangling my words & meanings you won’t be commenting here much longer.

          If you believe that American perceptions of Israel are based solely on the merits of the case then you’re either a blithering idiot who’s delightfully ignorant of reality; or else you’re one of the hasbarafia yourself.

          • Commoner May 19, 2012, 2:02 AM

            ‘If you believe that American perceptions of Israel are based solely on the merits of the case then you’re either a blithering idiot who’s delightfully ignorant of reality; or else you’re one of the hasbarafia yourself.’

            Well, I see that you brook no argument, if you’d resort to namecalling on the ground of a person merely disagreeing with you. Mind you, this tactic is used by scared boys and tyrants. You seem a mix of the two.

          • Chayma May 19, 2012, 3:28 PM

            Commoner,

            Hasbara along won’t convince people there have to have some other motivation, either religous, or another. After 9/11 support for Israel grew in the US, and then waned, and now picked up supposedly.

            Why doesn’t Hasbara work in Europe? I don’t have the link to hand but you can search Al Jazeera, an article in 2012 showed how Hasbara efforts fail to win over people in Europe.

          • Chayma May 19, 2012, 3:56 PM

            Commoner

            hasabara alone isn’t effective, something has to motivate people, to support a cause. That is a reason why far right Zionists/Likud/Nationalist Religous actively support and fund Islamophobia, although even that tactic is being recognised for the fraud it is now. It was effective enough to mobilise public support in the US for a war on Iraq. It doens’t work work now because the public are ‘wiser’

            Europeans divided on Israel

            A poll conducted in Europe reveals growing disconnect between governments and people over the policy on Israel.
            13 Mar 2011

            http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2011/03/2011313305512849.html
            In recent years Israel has invested inordinate sums of human and material resources to improve its public image in Europe. While the ICM survey showed that its European lobby has been influential in political as well as the media circles, this has not been transformed into public support.

            The underlying cause for this setback is the growing public perception of Israel as a state which seeks to progress and prosper through the subjugation of another people. The European public today sees things differently. Unlike their governments, they believe their own fulfilment would only be achieved through recognition of the basic human dignity and freedom of all other people, including the Palestinians.

          • Deïr Yassin May 20, 2012, 1:52 AM

            @ Chayma
            When you reproduce excerpts from an article you should use quotation marks so people can see it’s not your own writings.

            Do you even understand what you’re copying ?
            I mean, this comment of yours is in total contradiction with what you wrote further up the thread, i.e. that anti-Israeli feelings in Europe are primarily based on antisemitism, an idea exposed in the Ottolenghi-article that you posted.

            This al-Jazeera article – which is based on polls too, that you don’t believe in…. – is basically explaining why the image of Israel is so bad in Europe, something that you’ve used various comments on refuting.
            I come to the conclusion that you don’t really have an idea what you’re talking about.

    • RudyM June 3, 2012, 12:36 PM

      “I notice that you, Richard, lke so many Left/Progressives. . .” Just in passing, I would like to point out that this position is not exclusively left/progressive. There are conservatives and libertarians/Constitutionalist/etc. who share this view.

      As far as the main point, again and again I find stories or analyses in British media, Israeli media, on RT or Press TV or Al Jazeera (though perhaps less so now), and in alternative media (wherever) which do not appear in mainstream U.S. media. I know that most Americans in fact do know less than I do about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, not to mention the corrupting effect of the Israel lobby (including blackmail of U.S. elected officials), or massive Israeli espionage in the U.S., or the like. Some diehard Israel supporters in the U.S. might not be phased if they knew about these things, but I do think a more informed U.S. population would generally hold a much lower opinion of Israel.

      I will admit, some of the kneejerk support for Israel in the U.S., outside of Jewish circles, derives from Christian beliefs, even where not held particularly strongly. Raised in a Christian family, “Israel” was something very special mentioned in my faith’s holy book. The first time I can remember hearing about Palestinians was in the context of terrorist attacks. To whom would I naturally give the benefit of the doubt at that point, to the Jews who were a part of the religious story I was taught to believe in, or to Arabs and Muslims who had no special place within the beliefs I was taught? So I definitely see Christian religious indoctrination as a stumbling block on the way to a clear-sighted view of Zionism, and no, that’s not something invented by AIPAC, nor can it be blamed on the Scofield Reference Bible.

      (I am no longer a Christian, or otherwise religious.)

  • lifelong May 18, 2012, 6:38 AM

    The Nigeria figure can’t be correct…

  • Nostromo May 18, 2012, 9:12 AM

    Must be this new anti-Semitism the ADL is always harping on about. A sick, pathological disease, an irrational hatred.

  • Daniel F. May 18, 2012, 10:06 AM

    Although Israel has taken note of it’s tarnished image I fear that she fails to fully realize it’s possibly serious implications,ostracization whether warranted or not is more of an existential threat that Iran could ever be.
    Israel has allowed herself to indulge in many bad habits that she cannot afford, from the occupation of lands predominantly populated by Palestinians and their mistreatment to ever increasing nepotism and corruption in Israeli society.

    There are no free lunches and the price for these vices will have to be paid, later if not sooner.

    However, in examining the data above,I cannot escape an additional conclusion,namely that the Goyim miss the Jewish scapegoat and maybe the Jews in Israel miss the Goyim.

    Yes,I hear the screams,”What rubbish,do the South Koreans miss us” and those voices are also right.The South Koreans do not miss us but maybe in this era of Globalization,they are simply affected by the impact of a Tsunami of anti Israel propaganda in the media.Advertising works….Right!

    Turkey recently bombed and killed almost all of members (30+) of a convoy of simple smugglers that they thought might be Kurdish freedom fighters…did anybody hear anything about it…most of us did not…..but if that were to happen in Israel?.

    Think about it!……..Am Israel Chai.

    • Deïr Yassin May 18, 2012, 11:40 AM

      “However, in examining the data above, I cannot escape an additional conclusion, namely that the Goyim miss the Jewish scapegoat…”
      Typical Israeli reaction !
      You apparently didn’t take the time to look at the report itself and read what people stated as factors shaping their negative perceptions of Israel:
      > 45%: the Israeli foreign policy
      > 27%: the way Israel treats its own people.
      People aren’t buying your ridiculous State-sponsored hasbara any longer, that’s it.

      • Bob Mann May 18, 2012, 1:35 PM

        They were only offered four options:

        Foreign policy, traditions/culture, the way it treats its people, and economy.

        Foreign policy was also listed as the number two reason shaping the positive perceptions of Israel.

        It was a close second to traditions/culture at 26 percent.

        Overall, Israel remained pretty much unchanged from last year’s survey. “Mainly positive” was the same and “mainly negative” was up just 3 points.

        International attitudes were on a much more downward trajectory with respect to countries like the UK (positive down 6, negative up 4), France (positive down 4, negative up 5), and most of all the EU (positive down 8, negative up 8).

        The country showing the most positive trajectory was, oddly enough, North Korea, with positives going up 3 and negatives going down four. China had a similarly positive trajectory, actually one point better than North Korea’s.

        What is going on there, I wonder.

        • Deïr Yassin May 18, 2012, 2:46 PM

          I don’t get your point here: Are you trying to ‘drown’ the miserable image of Israel in the middle of an analysis of other countries’ ranking in the poll. That would be a typical hasbara procedure ….
          I was adressing Daniel’s pathetic statement on the Goyim and the Jewish scapegoat, I don’t see what China and North Korea’s rankings have to do with that.
          It would be interesting though to know how much the hasbara is responsible for the negative image of Iran. I’m pretty sure they have a good deal of responsability there too.
          “Israel remained pretty much unchanged from last year’s survey”
          And last year it’s image abroad was already lousy. You’re trying to “damage control”, it’s visible even across the Atlantic !

          • Bob Mann May 18, 2012, 3:08 PM

            There is no “damage control” – Israel is viewed negatively by most of the world. That is clear from this and other similar surveys. I am trying to address the question of why that might be the case. You presented one explanation, the other commenter gave a different one (which you derided).

            You mentioned the importance of reading the entire survey before jumping to any conclusions. I agree with you. My comments above were, in fact, a result of your post which encouraged exactly that – a careful examination of all the day.

            Upon doing so, I noticed some interesting items that I thought might be relevant in understanding the results with respect to Israel. I wish you could wrap your mind around the fact that not every comment that appears to show Israel in a remotely favorable light (which I actually don’t even think mine did) is a “hasbara procedure”. Can’t we just have an exchange of ideas or opinions without belittling each others remarks in that fashion?

            Israel is down in several of the European countries but up in two of the African countries. That seems noteworthy. The poll also shows that Europe is way down across the board (especially within Europe itself), Israel is, on balance, down slightly, China/North Korea/South Korea significantly up. Maybe Israel is down for reasons similar to why Europe is down. I would note that the US fell precipitously as well. Could there be a correlation there?

            In any case, I would hope that we (and others) could have a courteous and thoughtful exchange about the results of this interesting and somewhat surprising survey without resorting to dismissive comments and labeling. I think it’s worth the effort.

          • Richard Silverstein May 19, 2012, 12:10 AM

            If Israel’s public perception is down markedly in rich, powerful, influential nations like Germany, France, England, etc. by up in Kenya & Nigeria I hardly think this is “noteworthy.” In terms of Israel’s overall international stature is the way it’s perceived in Kenya noteworthy compared to the way it’s perceived in Europe? Which is more decisive & carries more weight overall?

          • Deïr Yassin May 18, 2012, 4:12 PM

            “Maybe Israel is down for reasons similar to why Europe is down”
            Oh, come on. It’s simply ridiculous. You’re comparing Germany’s 56% positive/16% negative, UK’s 51% positive/20% negative, and France’s 48% positive/22% negative, the European Union’s 48% positive/25% negative with Israel’s 21% positive/50 negative because they all have come out worse that in 2011.
            It’s like comparing a multi-billionaire and a homeless both being robbed of 100 dollars !

            PS.”Most of the EU”
            EU does not mean all the states within the European Union, but the European Union itself as a supra-national institution.

        • Richard Silverstein May 19, 2012, 12:07 AM

          Overall, Israel remained pretty much unchanged from last year’s survey. “Mainly positive” was the same and “mainly negative” was up just 3 points.

          Wishful thinking. In the most important countries in the world, which I outlined, public opinion of Israel was down massively. Saying the negative perception went up by “only” 3 points is like whistling past the graveyard. Negative perceptions of Israel went up substantially. In a presidential election a change of 3 points is a massive one.

          You’re using the typical deflecting rhetoric of hasbara. When the spotlight shines harshly on Israel yell and point your finger in the opposite direction and tell everyone to look over there because it’s so much worse there. Sorry but we’re not buying it.

          • Bob Mann May 19, 2012, 3:46 AM

            If there was a survey exclusively about world opinion of Israel and I responded by saying “but things are much worse somewhere else” then I would certainly take your point. But this survey specifically examines a variety of countries in relation to one another. Some countries fare poorly, others fare better. All I am doing is looking at the entire survey (which itself does not particularly focus on Israel) and trying to understand the results.

            I promise you I am not trying any tactics or meaning to deflect attention away from anything. It is unquestionable that Israel’s perception around the world is very negative, which is not an especially new development. What this survey shows is that Israel’s perception is increasingly negative in several European and Asian countries, but increasingly positive in several African countries and the United States.

            I think it is worth examining how respondents perceive other countries around the world to get a sense of what might be causing these results. Is there simply an anti-West sentiment evolving which has led to the decline of perception of the US, Europe, and Israel? (While countries like China and even North Korea are seeing the opposite trends)

            If perceptions of the US and Europe went up, while Israel went down, that would, I feel, be more noteworthy than if all three declined at the same time.

            In any case, it is an interesting survey with intriguing results. I am glad you have posted it, and I think it’s worth looking at closely. I appreciate that you’ve allowed this discussion of the results to continue, and I implore you to embrace the notion that my comments are based simply on reading through, contemplating, and trying to reach an understanding of what these survey results mean, not implementing some kind of tactic for Israeli public relations purposes.

          • Deïr Yassin May 19, 2012, 5:15 AM

            “Israel’s perception is …. increasingly positive in several African countries and the United States”

            Wow, Bob Mann is giving a new meaning to the word “several” in English, if that isn’t hasbara !

            Israel’s perception is increasingly positive in TWO African countries, Nigeria and Kenya, and increasingly negative in ONE, Ghana, and that is if you don’t consider Egypt an African country where the perception is increasingly negative too.

          • Bob Mann May 19, 2012, 11:51 AM

            Thanks for the correction. It was not several African countries, it was two. Unfortunately there were only a total of four included in the survey. I would love to see a survey involving a larger sample of countries across Africa. I wonder how Israel would fare in that case.

    • lifelong May 18, 2012, 12:49 PM

      Everyone from the dailymail to the nytimes reported on the Turkish airstrike. A rightwing favourite, The Guardian, did as well.

    • Richard Silverstein May 18, 2012, 12:49 PM

      Israel creates it’s own negative “propaganda.”. There is no “tsunami” of negative propaganda except what Israel itself creates.

      I think I’ve just created a new term. Let’s call it “reverse hasbara.”

  • Rain May 18, 2012, 12:34 PM

    Relying on a poll run by the BBC to measure Israel’s popularity is a little like relying on a poll of Israel Hayom to measure Bibi’s

    • Richard Silverstein May 18, 2012, 1:20 PM

      Nonsense. The poll was commissioned by the BBC but conducted by a reputable polling organization and a University of Maryland institute was also involved. That’s a far cry from Bibiton I’m afraid. Instead of whining about the poll’s alleged biases, which don’t you prove it in some substantive way.

      • Bob Mann May 18, 2012, 1:41 PM

        I agree with you that the poll is entirely reputable.

        The totality of the survey suggests an even more steeply downward trajectory in international attitudes towards Europe than Israel, and an oddly positive trajectory in attitudes towards North Korea and China.

  • Chayma May 18, 2012, 6:18 PM

    Bob, do you mean from last year, when you say attitudes towards Europe steep downwards? I wonder if the polled were victims of the EURO crisis ;)

    China’s star on the rise in the positive ratings isn’t a surprise, they are big spenders these days, but North Korea? Maybe the world feels sorry for having robbed them of their moment of glory :) Seriously though, Kim Jong did pass away, so that may have some bearing.

  • Chayma May 19, 2012, 5:15 AM

    Ali Abunimah wrote about this too,

    Israel’s popularity sinks even lower in 2012, new BBC global survey confirms

    http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/israels-popularity-sinks-even-lower-2012-new-bbc-global-survey-confirms

  • Chayma May 19, 2012, 5:18 AM

    To Israel with hate—and guilt
    Why Europe, unlike America, finds it so hard to love Israel
    Aug 17th 2006

    http://www.economist.com/node/7796479
    Emanuele Ottolenghi, an expert on Israel and Europe at Oxford University, argues that “Europeans see Israel as the embodiment of the demons of their own past.” The European Union is supposed to have traded in war, nationalism and conflict for love, peace and federalism. But Israel now reminds Europeans of darker forces and darker days.

    Could attitudes change? It seems unlikely, not least because Israel is now so stridently critical of the Europeans, especially of their media. In this area, at least, the transatlantic gap is widening.

    • Elisabeth May 20, 2012, 4:53 AM

      “Europeans see Israel as the embodiment of the demons of their own past.”

      I don’t see why Ottolenghi feels the need to psychologize. When I was young Israel was highly admired. People wished this brave little country every success and sympathized with its new inhabitants and the horrors they had suffered in Europe. The Palestinians were not really in the picture, and if they were mentioned their name was almost synonymous with ‘terrorist’.

      But years and years of increasing suppression and disposession of the Palestinans have passed, and so people’s attitudes have changed. Why the need to attribute the new attitude to psychological factors rather than realities on the ground?

      • Deïr Yassin May 20, 2012, 5:26 AM

        @ Elisabet
        “I don’t see why….”
        Because Ottolenghi, an Italian neo-conservative super-Zionist, is a member of the International Hasbara, so of course he can’t say that Israel’s negative image is a result of a their disgusting politics but has to come up with the antisemitc card (cf his entry on Sourcewatch and elsewhere).

        According to Ottolenghi, “Anti-Zionism is antisemitism”
        http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/nov/29/comment

  • rfjk May 19, 2012, 6:45 AM

    I think what’s needed is a little clarity here.

    The poll asked respondents if they had a “positive” or “negative” opinion of Israel. Not that they were uber “Israeli firsters” or “pro Zionists” as some seem convinced that’s what this poll means.

    Had the pollsters asked instead “do you believe US interests should be subordinate to Israel” or, “should America waste treasure and lives for Israel,” the responses would be spectacularly reversed.

    America is the last holdout on global opinion regarding Israel, and Israeli propaganda is full bore doing all it can to preserve that status. But Netanyahu and fellow thugs are like little Dutch boys, with all their digits plugging the leaking dike of hasbura holding back truth and the facts.

    Its a matter not of if, but when that dike breaks and inundates current American perceptions and attitudes regarding Israel. Americans have suffered far worse disillusionment’s these past 10 years than seeing Israel for what it is, a fascist, theocratic state oppressing half the people who live in it.

    • Bob Mann May 19, 2012, 12:52 PM

      You think Israel is a fascist, theocratic state? That seems a bit extreme.

      Also, the survey did not ask if people have positive or negative opinions of Israel. The survey asked if people thought Israel is having a positive or negative influence on the world.

  • uzi ben-asher May 19, 2012, 1:07 PM

    Sorry, but when Israel ranks just above North Korea and below both Russia and China in a popularity poll, you have to conclude that the Israelis are doing something very, very wrong. (See the long study to verify this.)

  • rfjk May 19, 2012, 4:54 PM

    I could have used a more accurate term, but the host has rules forbidding it.

  • bar_kochba132 May 19, 2012, 8:30 PM

    This poll is meaningless, even if carried out by a “reputable” outfit, and I wouldn’t necessarily include the BBC on that list. Most people queried couldn’t find Israel on a map and don’t have a clue what is going on here.
    IT is INCORRECT to say that “the world” supports the Palestinians and blames Israel for the Arab-Israeli conflict. Most people in the world don’t care about it, don’t care about the Palestinians, don’t care about the settlments and those who are aware of it mostly view it as another one of those innumerable conflicts that can’t be settled. The proof is the lack of interest in Syria where the human rights situation is far, far more acute that that the Palestinians are supposedly suffering. There are no big demonstrations against Assad, even in places like Paris and London where there are large Muslim populations and there is freedom to demonstrate. People SIMPLY DON’T CARE and all the more so regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict.
    If you want to say the increase in support for Israel is due to nefarious AIPAC influence (and not that people in the US really do support Israel..your implication is that they are stupid and don’t know what they are doing), I could turn it around and say the opposition to Israel is due to Arab/Iranian petrodollars influencing public opinion. Walt and Mearheimer ignore Arab money and lobbying efforts which have more finanicial backing that do pro-Israel efforts.

    • Richard Silverstein May 20, 2012, 2:34 AM

      Whether someone can find Israel on a map has nothing to do with whether they have the intellectual acuity to understand what Israel is doing and hating it. Rather, I’d guess it’s you who couldn’t find some of these countries on the map even with a magnifying glass.

      Of course it is absolutely correct to say that the world supports Palestine and blames Israel for the conflict. Contrary to what the hasbarfia says here many people in the world care about justice and know that Israel isn’t behaving justly which is why they’re critical of Israel. In this poll, there is an “I don’t know” category anyone who’s the ignorant lout you claim most of the world is could pick that category. But they didn’t because they have an opinion and wanted to express it.

      I’m sick & tired of the disgusting cynicism of settlerists like you who attempt to impose your own crass debased values on the rest of the world by claiming no one cares about what you’re doing.

      As for your claim about the “lack of interest” in Syria outside Syria, as usual you’re nothing but an ignorant lout. There are protests daily against the Assad regime. Just do a Google search and you’ll find them. And stop wasting our time with your propaganda drivel.

      I didn’t say Americans are stupid. They’re just willing to accept a sophisticated propaganda campaign supported by hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of pro Israel supporters and Israel government cheerleaders in this country. Repeat a lie often enough & have enough money backing you and virtually anyone might believe it.

      You lie about Arab money & lobbying efforts having more financial backing than the pro-Israel lobby. As for Arab petrodollars influencing public opinion, there is almost none. Arab American organizations have miniscule budgets compared to the Israel lobby groups.

      In fact, I no longer will accept your lies. If you don’t provide any credible support for your claim that there is more Arab money than pro Israel money influencing U.S. opinion you won’t publish another comment here.

      • Deïr Yassin May 20, 2012, 5:05 AM

        @ Richard
        Bar Kochba_132 aka Ben Israel aka XYZ (on 972mag after being banned as Ben Israel) aka I_Like_Ike_52 (a pen name he adapted on Israel Reconsidered) aka…. is a pathetic liar and a kahanist. He’s holding back on his hate here because you’ll moderate him otherwise.
        To Bar-Blah-Blah, Goldstein’s killing in Hebron was an ‘incident’, the Arabs had it coming in ’48, they were solely responsible for what happened to them, which in Bar-Blah-Blah’s opinion was nothing. In fact, the Arabs come from Arabistan and should go back there.
        Don’t ask him to provide any credible support. He’s incapable.
        He claimed Amira Hass was kidnapped in Gaza by Hamas, and that a ransom was paid to get her free. I asked many times for any proof.
        Mahmoud Abbas has claimed that the “socalled” Nakba (Bar-Blah-Blah’s quotation marks) is the worst thing that ever happened in human history. Absolutely no evidence on the net, except Bar-Blah-Blah’s own comment on the topic on different blogs under different pen names. I insisted many times but the only thing he could come up with was a ‘I don’t see why Abbass coulnd’t have said such a thing’.
        A full-time hasbarist whose politics is posting the same lies again and again: that’s why he’s easily recognizable in spite of his numerous pen names.
        Distinctive trait: obsessed by the “Left/Progressives” – that he always write like that, and that he hates as much as the Arabs, if not more.

        He’s a full time hasbarist

  • rfjk May 20, 2012, 4:31 AM

    As an anecdotal example, bar_kochba132 elucidates the madness driving the Israelis towards a 1 state solution, which in the having will end as badly for him as it did for his namesake.

  • Piotr Berman May 21, 2012, 6:43 AM

    “This poll is meaningless, even if carried out by a “reputable” outfit, and I wouldn’t necessarily include the BBC on that list. Most people queried couldn’t find Israel on a map and don’t have a clue what is going on here. [...]”

    One can observe that respondents in Kenya tend to like all countries, while in Turkey none etc. Poll in Nigeria was probably biased for southern cities (Muslim/Christian split is north/south). That said, Israel faces three possible challenges: (a) collapse of support in Europe, and sanctions from Europe (b) alliance of major regional Muslim countries, Egypt, Turkey, Iran (c) collapse of support in USA. With trifecta, it will not survive with current expansionist policies (which can turn for the best, or a disaster).

    Public opinion in Muslim countries is pretty much set, but they have profound difference, now chiefly on Syria. But there are big signs of aligning.

    Europe is where the largest change can come soonest. Consensus of 27 government is next to impossible, but Israel can do the trick, and most recent statement of foreign ministers is an indicator. Israel is dependent on support from countries where it is unpopular, but the population does not care too much. Would Israel attack Iran and provoke a major crisis, that may change quickly for the worse. The current oppression policies in West Bank are on collision course with sentiments in Europe, and would government change from pro-Israel positions, there will be no political price.

    I could see it watching Polish press. Israel demolished a village with Polish water projects and it is hard to understand how a little event like that was a full media disaster. You get a 20-something handsome aid co-ordinator getting TV and press interviews, balanced by a statement from Avigdor Lieberman shop?

    Reactions to the video of Lt. Col. Eisner bashing bicyclists were so bad that actually main media outfit did not dare to post it. Interestingly, local fascists loved it. But this is a distinct minority.

  • PJ London June 3, 2012, 12:04 PM

    Hey bar_kochba132 ,

    I don’t hate you because you are Jewish (Israeli – Semitic), I don’t hate you at all, but I just hate the way you behave.
    Please stop it.
    20 years ago you completely controlled the media, and (like embedded journalists in Iraq) we could not see what you were doing.
    Now you cannot hide.

    PS to understand Syria, please look at the following links from the US Unconventional Warfare manual.

    http://english.al-akhbar.com/sites/default/files/P_14_Diagram.jpg

    http://english.al-akhbar.com/sites/default/files/P_19_Diagram.jpg

    • Richard Silverstein June 3, 2012, 12:38 PM

      More anti-Semitic nonsense. Next time you go there you’ll be moderated. No anti-Semitic memes here.

  • Mark June 3, 2012, 12:15 PM

    Look at the evil things Israel does and it’s suprising anyone with an ounce of moral fiber would support anything the gov’t and military do.

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