It gives me no comfort to report this new poll by the BBC World Service which ranked 13 nations by their popularity. Israel came in dead last (only 17% favorable), almost in a dead heat with Iran. Third least popular was the U.S. and then North Korea. All four nations have a lot to be proud of I guess since much of the rest of the world believes the four are trying to blow us all to kingdom come.
The AP interviewed the pollster, who surveyed the results and provided this observation:
It appears that people around the world tend to look negatively on countries whose profile is marked by the pursuit of military power, said Steven Kull, director of the University of Maryland’s Program on International Policy Attitudes, which conducted the research along with pollster GlobeScan.
Countries that relate to the world primarily through soft power, like France and Japan and the EU in general, tend to be viewed positively, he added.
Wouldn’t it be nice to see an Israel at peace with its neighbors and once again thought well of by the rest of the world as it once was (a long time ago)?
Read Meryl’s take on this
Richard Silverstein says
Here is a portion of Yourish’s “argument” which makes absolutely no sense to me. Perhaps with you superior reading of your fellow pro-Israel hardliners you can parse this better than I:
Why does he “smell a rat” at the fact that 57% of American’s think the U.S. is seen positively by the world? And why, for Pete’s sake, does it make a whit of difference, let alone a “huge difference” that 4% say “it depends on circumstances” and 9% say “neither.”
And as for the BBC “admitting” the poll says nothing new, that’s not the case at all. Yourish tries to dismiss the results because the BBC says that many Arabs rated Israel most dangerous. This, of course, does not mean that many, many non-Arabs didn’t rate Israel most dangerous. Clearly if only 17% of respondents have a positive image of Israel, you’ve got a lot more than Arabs included in the remainder who feel the opposite.
You dismiss these results at your peril. But the fact that you & Yourish do so doesn’t surprise me in the least.
John Yorke says
It must be a little like falling out of love with someone.
At the start, there’s that intriguing quality in the other, the introduction to unknown, unseen layers in that person. Or a nation for that matter. But with time and familiarity, the experience begins to lose its novelty; the capacity to hold, to fascinate, no longer dominates. Unless the ability to recreate oneself anew is found, the process degenerates into a comfortable tolerance at best or dissolution, abandonment and regret at worst.
Israel may well be on its way to becoming a candidate in this category, another failed experiment merging into a background where so many have gone before. The one unforgivably sin in such a relationship is to become predictable, to refuse to adapt or generate new ideas, new ways to challenge the perils and changed circumstances abroad in the world today.
The old tried and trusted methods may well have been the best available in their time.
But, as we know to our cost, times change – and if we do not change with them, we all risk becoming increasingly irrelevant. Not a good prospect for any of us if this is the road we choose to take.
samuel burke says
If that poll were run only in the united states, israel would receive a much more favorable rating. The more truth one is exposed to about what happens in the middle east the more one is apt to view israel as the rest of the world views them. As for the united states, well that depends on what country were attacking or defending, if were defending europe from some menace like communism then they love us, if were giving them aid for some world disaster, then they would tend to love us until the cash runs out.
the u.s is hated for varied reasons, among them is a certain jealousy because they all think that we think were the best.
israel is hated for varied reasons, anti semitism would be one of them and the atrocities that they commit against arabs in palestine would be another huge one.
John Yorke says
In these days of global communication with information, opinion and events relayed across the globe in mere microseconds, it well behoves any nation worthy of the name to exhibit a more hands-on approach to the way in which the rest of the world perceives it.
This poll, accurate or not, hardly reflects well on the current position. Its message could never be described as a ringing endorsement of Israeli society. One or two others look as though they could stand some improvement as well.
How to do this? Play to your strengths. New ideas, new tunes, new ways of doing things. Make a difference – and make it count. Then the world will take notice of what happens – and its perception will change accordingly.
At the moment Israelis and Palestinians appear erratic, conflicted, disorganised. You lack harmony, cohesion, greatness.
It will be your undoing. (7/9 STV)
Jeanie Laurence says
I believed that started to happen after the Israeli Lebanese war. As much as I love Israel, I think they have been going down the wrong path. The cluster bombs sure didn’t help.
“Why does he “smell a rat” at the fact that 57% of American’s think the U.S. is seen positively by the world?”
Meryl Yourish is female. That is why there is a caricature of a woman on her masthead.
samuel burke says
check out this great article at atlantic free press, here is an exerpt.
When Does Opposition to Israel or the Israel Lobby Indicate Anti-Semitism?
Click Name for Bio of Walter C. Uhler
Wednesday, 07 March 2007
by Walter C. Uhler
But, curiously, Fish is not content to construe attacks on the largely Jewish Israel Lobby as evidence of anti-Semitism. He also seems to believe that the attacks on the lobby – by critics who do see it as the “de facto agent” of Israel – are indistinguishable from attacks on Israel. And by implying their similarity, Fish is able to invoke a recent study, which demonstrates that “anti-Israel sentiment consistently predicts the probability that an individual is anti-Semitic.” [Edward H. Kaplan and Charles A. Small, “Anti-Israel Sentiment Predicts Anti-Semitism in Europe,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 50 No. 4, August 2006, p. 548]
Moreover, Fish also is impressed with their conclusion that “Those with extreme anti-Israel sentiment are roughly six times more likely to harbor anti-Semitic views than those who do not fault Israel on the measures studied.” [Ibid, p. 550]
What were the “measures studied?” Four statements/questions addressed to five hundred respondents in each of ten different European countries. Three blame Israel for exacerbating Israeli-Palestinian relations and the fourth justifies the attacks on Israeli civilians by Palestinian suicide bombers. Any respondent who answers all four by condemning Israel or exculpating the Palestinians is deemed to be extremely anti-Israel.
According to Kaplan and Small, the more severe a person’s anti-Israel sentiment, the more likely was the respondent to affirm anti-Semitic beliefs, such as “Jews don’t care what happens to anyone but their own kind,” “Jews have too much power in the business world,” “Jews are more loyal to Israel than to this country,” or deny that “Jews are just as honest as other business people.” [Ibid, p. 551]
John Yorke says
There has always been a perceived pecking order in human society, a sometimes unspoken but often self-accepted role in the great scheme of things.
“We are God’s chosen people’ — the rest of you are therefore, by implication, not so favoured; ‘God is an Englishman’ — well, perhaps he was, way back there in the days of Empire; ‘What’s good for General Motors is good for America, God’s own country’ — not sure how shares in GM are doing at the moment but US stock, overall, is certainly well down; ‘There is no God but God and Mohammed is His messenger’ — and maybe that’s true today. But tomorrow brings what it brings and each new day tends to alter or reinforce our perceptions just that little bit more. The future is still a winding road leading God knows where.
But the future is also what we choose to make it. Our choices, at the moment, do seem limited in the extreme. But that may be because our fears, at such times, will seek to outweigh, to cloud our imaginations. Our imagination is the future, fear is a product of the present.
Always a tricky balance with these two but I think I know the one I’d rather choose.