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Analysis

BICOM Populus poll of UK attitudes to Israel and Middle East issues

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Populus surveyed a nationally representative sample of 2035 GB adults from 5-7 October 2018 on behalf of BICOM. The annual survey asks questions about countries in the Middle East with specific questions about trade, counterterrorism and support for a boycott of Israel.

Below is a summary of the key findings:

Support for Israelis and Palestinians is exactly the same

The survey asks respondents to rate their warm towards countries, people and organisations in the Middle East. This year warmth towards Israelis and Palestinians were both 23 per cent. Warmth towards Israel is 20 per cent and warmth towards the Palestinian Authority is 11 per cent. Warmth towards Israel and the Palestinians has been largely stable for five years. Of all the Middle East countries in the survey, the UK public feels most warm towards Turkey at 24 per cent and least warm towards Iran at 9 per cent.

 

 

Britain-Israel bilateral trade and cooperation

Saudi Arabia is considered to be the most important UK trading partner in the Middle East after Brexit, Qatar is second and Israel is third.

49 per cent of people believe Israel is an important British ally in the fight against terror, more than any other Middle Eastern country in the survey.

 

 

Opposition to boycotts of Israel remains high

Forty eight per cent of respondents “do not support boycotts of Israel and find it difficult to understand how others do given everything else that is going on in the world” a one per cent increase since last year. 14 per cent disagree with the statement, a 3 per cent increase since last year.

Young people have significantly reduced their level of support for a boycott of Israel since 2015. 45 per cent of 18-24s said they opposed singling out Israel for boycotts in 2018, in 2015 just 28 per cent opposed a boycott of Israel.

 

 38 per cent believe Jeremy Corbyn is an antisemite

Each year the survey includes a new question on a topical issue and this year BICOM measured support for Jeremy Corbyn’s own explanations in light of accusations of antisemitism.

25 per cent agreed with the statement ‘Jeremy Corbyn is a committed campaigner against racism of all kinds including antisemitism.’

38 per cent agreed with the statement ‘Whatever Jeremy Corbyn claims, his actions and past history point to him being antisemitic.’

19 per cent agreed with the statement ‘Jeremy Corbyn has worked hard to deliver peace between Israel and the Palestinians.’

35 per cent agreed with the statement ‘Jeremy Corbyn only seems interested in talking to those organisations deemed to be terrorists by the British Government, the EU and the US State Department.’

Forty seven per cent of respondents believe that “hating Israel and questioning its right to exist” is antisemitic. Twenty per cent of people disagree with this statement.

 

 

 

Additional notes:

  1. On behalf of BICOM Populus surveyed a nationally representative sample of  2035 GB adults from 5-7 October 2018. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. For more information: populus.co.uk.

Detailed polling data is as follows –

 

Support for Israelis and Palestinians

We asked the British public if they felt warm, cold or neutral towards Israel. Warm: 20% Neutral/don’t know: 31% Cold: 49%

We asked the British public if they felt warm, cold or neutral towards Israelis: Warm: 23% Neutral/don’t know: 31% Cold: 45%

We asked the British public if they felt warm, cold or neutral towards the Palestinian Authority: Warm: 11% Neutral/don’t know: 39% Cold: 51%

We asked the British public if they felt warm, cold or neutral towards Palestinians: Warm: 23% Neutral/don’t know: 33% Cold: 44%.

 

Bilateral trade and cooperation

We asked the British public if they consider Israel to be “an important ally of Britain in the fight against terror.” Important: 49% Not important: 19% Don’t know: 32%.

We asked the British public who they consider “an important trading partner of Britain post-Brexit” – Saudi Arabia: 53% Qatar 40% Israel: 38% Turkey: 36% Egypt: 31% Iran: 22%.

 

Boycotts of Israel

We asked the British public if they agree with the statement “I don’t boycott good or produce from Israel and find it difficult to understand why others would single out Israel to boycott given everything else that’s going on in the world.”
Agree: 48% Disagree: 14% Neither agree nor disagree: 38%

Age 18-24: Agree: 45% Disagree: 16% Neither agree nor disagree: 39%

 

38 per cent believe Jeremy Corbyn is an antisemite

Respondents were asked to rate which statements they agreed with:

Statements 1) Jeremy Corbyn is a committed campaigner against racism of all kinds including antisemitism: 25%

Whatever Jeremy Corbyn claims, his actions and past history point to him being antisemitic: 38%

Don’t know: 37%

 

Statements 2)

Jeremy Corbyn has worked hard to deliver peace between Israel and the Palestinians: 19%

Jeremy Corbyn only seems interested in talking to those organisations who have been deemed terrorists by the British Government, the EU and the US State Department: 35%

Don’t know: 46%

We asked if respondents agreed with the statement ‘hating Israel and questioning its right to exist is antisemitic.’ Agree: 47% Disagree: 20% Neither agree nor disagree: 33%.