Members of the Jewish community in north London .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The majority of British citizens consider Israel to be its strongest ally in the Middle East, a recent poll revealed in a nationwide survey published Friday.
According to The Jewish Chronicle citing an online poll conducted by Middle East think-tank Bicom, 57% of Brits said they consider the Jewish state its most reliable friend in the volatile region, a five percent increase from the previous year.
The poll, surveying some 2000 adults over the internet, also found that 51% do not boycott Israeli products, with 56% believing that boycotts disadvantage both Israelis and Palestinians.
Questioned on whether it was antisemitic to hate Israel and believe it did not have a right to exist, one-fifth of respondents said it was not. 57% of the participants, however, said it was not antisemitic to simply criticize Israel.
"Our poll shows a very significant shift against the idea of boycotting Israel. The majority opposing it has increased by as much as eight per cent over the past year," said James Sorene, chief executive of Bicom.
"In a year where we have seen several public figures attempt to explain their hatred of Israel as a political position," Sorene continued," the judgement of the British people is stark.
"They clearly understand that hating Israel and questioning its right to exist is antisemitism, pure and simple."
Asked by The Jewish Chronicle
to comment on Bicom's finding, Israel's Ambassador to the UK Mark Regev said: “Today’s results affirm the strong ties between our two countries. It is encouraging that more than ever, Britons view Israel as their strongest ally in the region. Equally important, most people correctly believe that demonization of Israel is in fact anti-Semitic, and must not be tolerated”.