New Survey Reveals Steady Support for Israel Among British Public
Despite the prominent role of UK pro-Palestinian organizations in the international BDS movement, many ordinary Britons are well-disposed toward Israel and see the Jewish state as an ally, a new poll by the Britain-Israel Communications and Research Center (BICOM) — a pro-Israel advocacy body based in London — revealed on Monday.
The BICOM survey recorded the lowest level of support for boycotts since 2014, at 11 percent. Forty-eight percent 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 notable drop in the support for the BDS movement among young people was also visible. “Young people have significantly reduced their level of support for boycotts in the last three years,” a BICOM analysis noted. “This year, 45 percent of 18-24s said they opposed singling out Israel for boycotts, in 2015 just 28 percent opposed boycotts.”
Meanwhile, 46 percent of respondents believe that “hating Israel and questioning its right to exist” is antisemitic, the survey reported. Since 2015, when far-left politician Jeremy Corbyn was elected its leader, Britain’s opposition Labour Party has been immersed in scandals involving antisemitic attacks on Jewish supporters of Israel, often disguised as “criticism” of Israeli policy.
As Brexit negotiations between the UK the European Union drag on, 37 percent of respondents agreed that Israel was a vital trading partner for Britain — 54 percent said the same of Saudi Arabia, while Iran was named by just 22 percent.
With Britain marking over the coming week the centenary of the Balfour Declaration — in which the UK government expressed its support for a “Jewish national home” in Palestine — 38 percent of respondents said they agreed with the goal of the declaration, with 17 percent agreeing and the remainder holding no opinion.
As an overall issue, Israel still polarizes the British public, the survey showed. Fifty percent of respondents said they felt “cold” towards the Jewish state, 21 percent “warm,” and 30 percent “neutral.”