New poll finds even stronger opposition to boycotts of Israel

The number of British people who do not support economic boycotts of Israel has soared over the last year, according to a new Populus opinion poll for Israel and Middle East think tank BICOM.

The poll reveals that 51 per cent of people “do not boycott Israeli goods, and find it difficult to see why others would single out Israel given everything else that is going on in the world”. This is up eight per cent compared to last year’s survey. 56 per cent of people agree that a boycott hurts both Palestinians and Israelis and this has increased by nine per cent since October 2015.

Britons are also more than twice as likely to agree as disagree that hating Israel and questioning its right to exist is antisemitic. 48 per cent of people believe that it is antisemitic, while only 20 per cent believe that it is not. 57 per cent of people however agree that just criticising Israel is not antisemitic.

There has been an increase in the number of people agreeing with the British policy in 1917 to support the creation of a Jewish homeland, as expressed in the Balfour Declaration. The finding is especially revealing given that the document approaches its centenary in 2017. 43 per cent say they agree with the policy, up from 40 per cent the year before.

Israel is still considered to be Britain’s strongest ally in the Middle East. 57 per cent of Britons regard Israel as an ally of Britain in the Middle East, up from 52 per cent from October 2015 and the highest figure for countries in the region.

Overall British warmth towards Israel remains stable at 19 per cent, while British warmth towards Israelis is at 24 per cent. This is in comparison to 20 per cent warmth towards Palestinians, and 11 per cent support for the Palestinian authority.

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