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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

That BBC poll

The BBC has come out with another poll that shows how much the world hates Israel (we even beat Iran which beat the United States this time) and it's become a hot topic of conversation here.
A majority of people believe that Israel and Iran have a mainly negative influence in the world, a poll for the BBC World Service suggests.

It shows that the two countries are closely followed by the United States and North Korea.

The poll asked 28,000 people in 27 countries to rate a dozen countries plus the EU in terms of whether they have a positive or negative influence.

Canada, Japan and the EU are viewed most positively in the survey.
An al-AP report notes that
Pollsters questioned about 1,000 people each in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Korea, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United States between Nov. 3 and Jan. 16. The margin of error in each country ranged between plus or minus 3.1 percentage points and plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.
Note that they did not ask anyone in Israel.

Haaretz's Bradley Burston accuses the BBC of framing the question for the desired result, and he may well be right about that. Here's what the actual poll results have to say about Israel:
Israel is viewed quite negatively in the world, possibly because the poll was conducted less than six months following the Israel/Hezbollah war in Lebanon. On average, 56 percent have a mainly negative view of the country, and just 17 percent have a positive view, the least positive rating for any country evaluated. In 23 countries the most common view was negative, with only two leaning towards a positive view and two divided.

Unsurprisingly, the most negative views of Israel are found in the predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East, with very large majorities in Lebanon (85%), Egypt (78%), Turkey (76%), and the UAE (73%) having negative views.
Large majorities also have negative views in Europe, including Germany (77%), Greece (68%) and France (66%). Indonesia (71%), Australia (68%) and South Korea (62%) are the most negative countries in the Asia/Pacific region. Brazilians (72%) are the most negative in Latin America. [Germany is surprising given that it may be our strongest supporter in Europe. France has always hated us and Indonesia is a Muslim country. The negative view in Australia is surprising. CiJ]

The two countries with mostly positive attitudes about Israel do so in modest numbers. Forty-five percent of Nigerians and 41 percent of Americans have positive views of Israel’s influence in the world, while nearly one-third in each country has negative views. [Nigeria is surprising. They also do not even mention Canada, which was 56-27 against us. CiJ] Kenya and India have populations with divided views of Israel.

This being the first time Israel was included in the list of countries rated in the survey, there is no evidence that current ratings are better or worse than historical views.
However, at the end of the day, why do I care what the rest of the world thinks of us? It's a reality that we cannot change.


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