Official: BBC image survey is troubling, but 'not serious'

Says survey included several Muslim countries in which Israel is viewed very negatively.

anti israel and US in Ir (photo credit: AP [file])
anti israel and US in Ir
(photo credit: AP [file])
A Foreign Ministry official on Wednesday characterized as "troubling" a BBC survey released earlier this week that ranked Israel alongside Iran and the United States as the countries with the most negative images in the world. The survey asked more than 28,000 people in 27 countries to rate 12 nations - Britain, Canada, China, France, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, North Korea, Russia, the US and Venezuela - as having a positive or negative influence on the world. Fifty-six percent of the respondents view Israel negatively while 17% gave positive evaluations. "It's our job to overcome stereotypes about Israel and to combat the misperceptions," said the official, who asked not to be identified. "Both Israel and the United States are higher than 50%, so in many ways, we're in good company." The official said that the survey included several Muslim countries in which Israel is viewed very negatively, which distorted Israel's ranking, he said. "It was not a systematic, in-depth survey," Government Press Office Director Danny Seaman said. "It's not a serious evaluation of what people in the world think of Israel. We have groups that do that [conduct surveys] for us and the results are significantly different." Seaman attributed the results of the survey to the way it was presented, the question's phrasing and news coverage. Iran followed closely behind Israel with 54% negative evaluations and 18% positive. The US came next with 51% negative and 30% positive. Fourth from the bottom was North Korea, which had a 49% negative rating. The pollsters questioned 1,000 people from 28 countries between November 3 and January 16, during a time when Hamas and Fatah were fighting each other in the Gaza Strip. Canada, Japan and France received the best responses from the survey.