One in five Britons like Israel, more support Palestinians

However, 46% said they would not support a boycott of Israeli products, while a similar number said that hating Israel is antisemitism.

jewish boys with israel and britain flags 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
jewish boys with israel and britain flags 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Fewer than one in five Britons feel warmly toward Israel, a new poll has found, placing the Jewish state behind the Palestinians in Britain's affections.
The Populus poll for Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) found that just 19% of the 2,026 British adults polled between November 1 and 3 felt warmly toward Israel, a drop of one percent from last year's polling on British attitudes toward Israel.
Meanwhile, 21% of Britons felt warmly toward the Palestinians, representing a two percent decrease since last year, while 16% felt warmly toward Turkey, down from 24% last year, the survey found. The lowest ranking country in the survey was Iran, toward which a mere six percent of Britons were positively inclined.
Asked to rank Middle Eastern countries on how important they would be as trading partners for Britain post-Brexit, Saudi Arabia topped the charts, with 48% of respondents naming them as an important potential trading partner.
Qatar was next on the list at 37%, while Israel ranked third at 36%. At the other end of the scale, only 18 percent thought that Iran would be an important trading partner, and fewer than a third named Turkey.
Conversely, 26% said that Israel was unimportant as a UK trading partner, while 39 percent answered "don't know".
However, on the matter of fighting terrorism, Britons were far more inclined to see Israel as an ally, with 44% naming Israel as an important ally of Britain in the fight against terrorism, against 19 percent who said Israel was unimportant, and 37% who didn't know.
The figure put Israel in the number one spot, just one point ahead of Saudi Arabia. A quarter of people, meanwhile, felt that Iran is important ally on terrorism, the lowest figure on the list.
And there was good news for Israel on the antisemitism and the boycott movement - 45% of those surveyed believe that hating Israel and its right to exist is antisemitic, while 46% said they don't boycott goods from Israel and find it difficult to understand why others would, given everything else going on in the world.
However, the figures indicate a softening of opinion on this: both figures represent a two point decrease compared to last year.
Meanwhile, 18% of people disagreed with the statement on antisemitism, also representing a two point decrease from last year, while those who support a boycott on Israel remained unchanged on 14%.
And support for boycotts has risen among young people, with 37 percent of respondents aged between 18 and 24 saying they would not boycott goods from Israel, a drop of eight points compared to 2018.
Respondents were also polled on their attitudes to Iran. Asked o what extent they think Iran is a threat to the security of the UK, 20% believe the Islamic country to pose a significant threat, against 16% who say it poses no threat at all. 25% were unsure.
BICOM CEO James Sorene said: “In a highly volatile political environment, the most striking feature of these results is their stability. Warmth towards Israel and the Palestinians has largely stayed the same for five years. Support for boycotts of Israel is unchanged.
"Perhaps the real story is the large drop in support for Turkey, no doubt a reaction to the Turkish invasion of northern Syria which took place just two weeks before the survey was carried out. Iranian violations of the 2015 nuclear deal and the seizure of a UK flagged tanker in July also appear to have had an impact."