BBC Polling: How the World Sees Israel

By Jamal Kanj

In response to questions rating which country ‘… is having a mainly positive or mainly negative influence in the world?’ Israel was tie with N Korea for third place with highest negative influence on the global stage.

The 2012 BBC Country Ratings Poll was conducted jointly by GlobeScan, an international opinion research consultancy, and The Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, USA.

Respondents were asked to rate 16 countries for their “mostly positive” or “mostly negative” influence on the world. A total of 24,090 citizens in 22 countries were interviewed in late 2011 and early 2012. People’s perception was based on the world’s view of the country’s foreign and domestic policies.

Ever since commissioning the poll in 2005, Israel has solidly ranked high on the list of nations with negative influence. Israel’s perceived unfavorable influence in the world has increased from 47 to 50% in 2012.

The Spaniards negative rating of Israel led the European Union at 74%, followed by France at 65%. Britain and Germany maintained the same high negative rating level at 68% and 69 % for each.

In the Korean peninsula, the strong negative view of Israel climbed by 15 notches to 69%. Among the Chinese, Israel’s negative rating remained stable at 45%, while its positive perception dropped by 9 points to 23%.

In India, public opinion on Israel has shifted from being divided in 2011 to negative in 2012, 29% vs 17%. Russia has moved from leaning positive in 2011 to negative in 2012, 26% vs 25%.

Latin America maintained its overall negative perceptions with high majority in Chile, Peru and Mexico.  Brazilian’s led South America by maintaining the same soundly unfavorable rating of Israel’s influence at 58%.

In Australia and Canada, Israel’s negative influence has increased by seven points to 65% and 59%, respectively.

As expected, the only Western nation with favorable response came from the US at 50% vs 35%.

In the only Arab country included in the polling, the negative perception of Israel increased by 7 points to 85%. Egypt is one of two Arab countries having peace agreements with Israel, topped the negative rating in the 2012 BBC polling.

Unlike the overly cosseted Israel, nations receiving high negative rating like Iran and N Korea were vilified pariah states by the West. However despite its pampering and Murdoch’s media empire, Israel still ranked equal with the mocked nations for the disgraced position.

In studying the BBC tracking poll since 2005, the correlations between the survey’s outcome and the influence of the Israeli lobby in Western countries is compelling.

In the US for instance, candid critical discussion of Israeli policies in the media is overly self-censored. Unlike EU and even Israeli papers, there is no single US nationally syndicated columnist in any major newspaper who openly challenges Israel or its lobby. Those who did were either sidelined as in the case of Buchanan and the late Novak to name few, or became jobless like UPI White House bureau manager Helen Thomas.

True American public opinion vis-à-vis Israel can be validated only after its political emancipation from Israel’s lobby. Until then, US’ sole Western positive rating of Israel remains a factor of America’s servile media and the pro-Israel election money machine.  

– Jamal Kanj writes frequently on Arab World issues and the author of “Children of Catastrophe, Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America”, Garnet Publishing, UK . Jamal’s articles can be read at He contributed this article to Contact him at:

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