15 May 2012
Israel, already one of the world’s most negatively viewed countries, according to an annual BBC survey, has seen its reputation sink even lower in 2012.
The result will come as a blow to Israeli officials and organizations who have been attempting to improve the country’s image through intensive hasbara – propaganda – campaigns.
The 2012 Country Ratings Poll, conducted by GlobeScan/PIPA for the BBC among 24,090 people around the world, and published on 10 May, “asks respondents to rate whether the influence of each of 16 countries and the EU is ‘mostly positive’ or ‘mostly negative.’”
The press release accompanying the full report notes briefly that “The most negatively rated countries were, as in previous years, Iran (55% negative), Pakistan (51% negative), and Israel and North Korea (both 50% negative).”
Israel: a negative influence
The detailed report elaborates:
Evaluations of Israel’s influence in the world—already largely unfavourable in 2011 — have worsened in 2012. On average, in the 22 tracking countries surveyed both in 2011 and 2012, 50 per cent of respondents have negative views of Israel’s influence in the world, an increase of three points from 2011. The proportion of respondents giving Israel a favourable rating remains stable, at 21 per cent. Out of 22 countries polled in 2011, 17 lean negative, three lean positive, and two are divided.
Not surprisingly, it was only in the US where Israel’s image improved among “Western country” publics:
Fifty per cent of Americans have a favourable view of Israel in 2012, and this proportion has increased by seven points. At the same time, the proportion of negative ratings has gone down six points to 35 per cent and, as a result, the US has gone from being divided in 2011 to leaning positive in 2012. These are the most positive views on Israel’s influence expressed in the US since tracking began in 2005.
Apart from the US, only in Nigeria and Kenya did views of Israel lean positive.
Israel loses ground among traditional allies and emerging powers
Israel’s position deteriorated in the EU as well as in emerging powers:
In the EU countries surveyed, views of Israeli influence have hardened in Spain (74% negative ratings, up 8 points) and in France (65%, up 9 points) — while positive ratings remain low and steady. Negative ratings from the Germans and the British remain very high and stable (69% and 68%, respectively). In other Anglo-Saxon countries, views have worsened in Australia (65% negative ratings, up 7 points) and in Canada (59%, up 7 points).
What’s remarkable – especially about Canada and Australia – is how out of step public perceptions are with official government policy, which in both countries has become ever more pro-Israel in recent years.
Significantly views of Israel deteriorated sharply too in South Korea, whose government has been traditionally close to Israel:
This hardening of opinion towards Israel’s influence in the world is strongly apparent in South Korea, where negative views have risen (69%, up 15 points) while positive views have decreased by 11 points (to 20%).
BRICs view Israel negatively
And the news is no better for Israel among the so-called BRICs:
Negative attitudes have also increased among the Chinese, the Indians, and the Russians. In China, a 9-point drop in positive ratings (to 23%) makes the overall balance of views even more negative (23% positive vs 45% negative). In India, negative perceptions have gone up 11 points (to 29%), and overall opinion has shifted from being divided in 2011 (21% vs 18%) to leaning negative in 2012 (17% vs 29%). In Russia, public opinion has shifted from leaning positive in 2011 to being divided in 2012 (25% positive vs 26% negative).
As for the Latin American power house, the report notes, “Brazilians continue to be strongly unfavourable to Israel’s influence, with a stable majority of 58 per cent who rate it negatively,” a picture repeated in other countries of South America.
Israel is most unpopular in Egypt
The past year of political change in Israel has also done little for Israel’s image:
Among the Muslim countries surveyed, perceptions of Israel have deteriorated in Egypt (85% negative ratings, up 7 points and the highest negative percentage in the survey), and remained largely negative but stable in Pakistan (9% positive vs 50% negative) and in Indonesia (8% vs 61%).
Israel’s behavior shapes views
Can all this be put down to “anti-Semitism” as Israel’s propagandists like to insist? Not according to the BBC survey. The factors shaping views of Israel are largely political, according to the report’s analysis:
For those who held negative views of Israel influence in the world, the foreign policy of the Israeli State is by some distance the main reason explaining their negative rating (45%). The way Israel treats its own people stands out as the second most important reason (27%). Of those holding positive views, Jewish traditions and culture are cited by 29 per cent globally, closely followed by foreign policy (26%).
Israels approval ratings
Permalink Nabil Al-Murabit replied on
All of that doesn't bother the Zionists, as long as they can count on Amerika being its #1 ass kisser
The Egyptians have a well
Permalink Anonymous replied on
The Egyptians have a well developed resentment of the pressures that USA had placed on Egypt to comply with Israel's requests to harden the barriers preventing Gaza residents from escaping, shut down Gaza imports from Egypt ("smuggling" via the tunnels, carried out in response to the near starvation conditions which Israel enforces against Gazans), and sell gasoline to Israel at far lower prices than to any other nations). Israel's foreign and domestic policies have been imperialistic, racist, and consistently brutal. Israel continues its unpardonable attitude that it is entitled to maintain an arsenal of 200 nuclear weapons, to ensure that it can continue to kill at will using its US funded superior conventional military forces, and to use its relationship to the USA to prevent other Middle Eastern nations from developing their own nuclear deterrence for protection from Israel. Israel routinely uses the exceedingly defamatory label "anti-Semitism" to demolish well founded criticism of its policies, ignoring the reality that the majority of the Palestinian Arab population, whom its subjects to totally illegal martial law, are actually more Semitic than the ethnically European Jewish population, especially those whose European surnames indicate histories of intermarriage with non-Semites. Israel has fully earned its diminishing international reputation. Only our own country still feels obligated to prevent international scrutiny of Israel's abuse of the indigenous Palestinian population, ignoring the reality that Israel's ethnic cleansing of the lands that are historically the property of Palestinian families (which was and continues to be real terrorism) is not justified by the hideous crimes of the Germans and Austrians in the 1930s and 1940s. Will we ever see the connection between US unquestioning support for Israel and the development of anti-US attitudes throughout much of the Arab and Muslim world?
Given the numerous other
Permalink Dan replied on
Given the numerous other cases of settlers throughout the world...too many to name here. Ok, just one....Muslim Bengalis in Chittagong Hill tracts.....and other military or population occupations in the world...I don't think negative views can be blamed on that.
Maybe it's to due with overblown and obsessive media coverage worldwide.
Hungarian Zionist volunteers -Spanish Civil War
Permalink Colin Smith replied on
A bit off topic, but a while ago I saw an ancient documentary on Hungarian TV about Zionist volunteers with the International Brigades returning to Palestine in 1938, when the Brigades were stood down. These volunteers went on to fight to steal the land of Palestine from the Palestinian (90% Arab) people. My mind boggles! Did they not see what they were doing? How can they go all the way to Spain to fight against fascism and then not see they were doing the same thing, if not worse, to the Palestinians? [Colonial wars are generally considered to be even less 'legitimate' than civil wars.] This is denial and willful blindness on an epic scale. I'm talking about a lot of people, not just fanatics. Did no one wonder whether what they were doing was morally legitimate or not? I would like to read a rationalization of their motives. It is no wonder that the Israelis have their heads so deeply in the ground, if this is what they were capable of. Were the 'white' Spaniards less deserving of freedom that the 'black' Arabs? Somebody help me with this! it is lunacy.
Israel's negative ratings
Permalink Tony Greenstein replied on
This should come as no surprise since there is hardly anything positive one can say about a state that rules over 3 million people with a rod of iron whilst steadily dismantling its own facade of democracy. Even Israeli Jews are likely to be clubbed if they protest against poverty. Palestinians are just shot at. The hunger strikes have merely emphasised that israel is a police state as far as Palestinian inhabitants are concerned. Israeli Arabs are guests in their own country and the levels of racism, as measured in opinion polls for papers like Yediot Aharanot, is frightening. 80% of those polled won't have an arab in their house, don't want to live next door to Arabs and a clear majority want to expel even Israeli Arabs.
Most alarming of all a majority of high school students is in favour of stripping Israeli Arabs of their right to vote (the only right they do have). Couple this with legislation which actually encourages racism, such as the Citizenship Law which prevents Israeli Arabs from marrying Arabs outside Israel and living with them in Israel, the surprise is that the poll isn't even more negative.
What is also striking is that in countries like Canada and Australia, where 2/3 of those polled have negative views of Israel, they also have governments which are vehemently pro-Zionist. It is confirmation of the fact that Israel is supported by the elites for imperialist reasons. Public opinion is largely a facade. After all those who commissioned this poll, the BBC, is an example of how you can have a thoroughly pro-Zionist public broadcasting service in the midst of popular hostility. See