Sunday, February 1, 2015
Britons dislike Israel more than Iran, new research suggests, following a surge in negative attitudes towards the country over the past two years, but North Korea is the most maligned nation outside of Europe
In a survey conducted by think tank Chatham House on public attitudes towards other countries, 35% of Britons said that they felt especially unfavorable towards Israel, an increase of 18% since 2012, while people’s unfavorable feelings towards Iran dropped from 45% to 33%. North Korea beat them both however, with 47% of Britons feeling especially unfavorable towards the nation led by Kim Jong-un. The research, entitled "Internationalism or Isolationism? British attitudes towards the UK’s international priorities" classed the top five least favorable nations as North Korea, Israel, Iran, Pakistan and Nigeria. It was conducted during August 2014, which the researchers noted was at a time when Israel was engaged in a military operation in Gaza against Hamas that caused large numbers of civilian casualties. The researchers suggested that the prominence of this news at the time contributed to the increase in unfavorable feelings towards Israel. For nations classed within Europe however, Russia was the most disliked at 56%, followed by Ukraine at a significantly lower 23%. The results come at a time when there has been an increase in overt negativity towards Israel and the country’s president Benjamin Netanyahu. CNN’s international correspondent quit his long-standing job on the network after he appeared to suggest that Israeli propaganda had played a hand in the brutal Charlie Hebdo terror attacks, while in the Philippines anti-Charlie Hebdo protesters held up burned images of Netanyahu and the Israeli flag with the message “Zionist conspiracy”.