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November 4, 2016 5:04 pm

Number of Britons Who Oppose Boycotting Israel Rises by 8 Percent, New Poll Finds

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Opposition to the BDS movement is on the rise in Great Britain, according to a new poll. Photo: Takver via Wikimedia Commons.

Opposition to the BDS movement is on the rise in Great Britain, according to a new poll. Photo: Takver via Wikimedia Commons.

Opposition to the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is growing in Great Britain, according to the results of a new survey published on Friday.

The Populus poll — commissioned by the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) — found that 51% of Britons agreed with the statement, “I do not boycott goods or produce from Israel and find it difficult to see why others would single out Israel to boycott given everything else that’s going on in the world,” up 8% from last year. Only 12% of respondents disagreed with the statement.

Furthermore, according to the poll, 56% of Britons believe a boycott of the Jewish state would hurt both Israelis and Palestinians, up 9% from last year.

Asked whether Israel was a British ally, 57% of respondents replied affirmatively — a 5% rise from last year — while 19% said no.

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Next year marks the 100th anniversary of the issuing of the Balfour Declaration, in which the UK announced its support for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” 43% of survey respondents said that this had been the right position for the British government to take in 1917, while 18% disagreed.

Also, the poll found that 48% of Britons thought “hating Israel and questioning its right to exist is antisemitic,” while 28% disagreed.

“Our poll shows a very significant shift against the idea of boycotting Israel,” BICOM CEO James Sorene said. “The British sense of fair play is a clear theme in the poll as time and again respondents reject singling out Israel, given everything else going on in the world.”

“In a year where we have seen several public figures attempt to explain their hatred of Israel as a political position, the judgment of the British people is stark,” he continued. “They clearly understand that hating Israel and questioning its right to exist is antisemitism, pure and simple.”

Board of Deputies of British Jews President Jonathan Arkush said Britons “have seen through the sour and destructive pro-Palestinian lobby.”

Israeli Ambassador to the UK Mark Regev stated the poll 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, antisemitic, and must not be tolerated.”

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