Polls: Boost for Israel in Europe

By Marc Perelman

Published June 23, 2006, issue of June 23, 2006.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Recent polls suggest that Islamic radicalism has achieved what Israeli public relations efforts never could: a significant boost in Western European support for Israel.

According to two recent polls, the level of French and German support for Israel has increased significantly in the past few years.

The annual Pew Global Attitudes survey found that French support for Israel has doubled over the past four years, to 36%, from 19%, putting it on a par with support for the Palestinians. Similarly, a poll conducted by the Israel Project found that support for the Palestinians among opinion elites in France had dropped to 21% today from 47% in 2002.

“In past Global Attitudes surveys, the American public’s strong pro-Israel stance set it apart from other countries,” the authors of the Pew project wrote. “But that has changed as Germans, in particular, have become much more sympathetic to Israel in its dispute with the Palestinians.”

The Pew survey found that 37% of Germans support Israel, while only 18% support the Palestinians.

To explain the change, pollster Stanley Greenberg, who conducted the survey for the Israel Project, stated that Europeans were less inclined to see the conflict “in a post-colonial framework.”

“Previously, there was a sense that Europe could cancel out its own colonial history by taking the ‘right’ side by supporting the Palestinians,” he said in comments accompanying the poll. “The shift has occurred because today the Europeans are focused on radical Islam and its impact on them.… The Europeans are now asking themselves, ‘Who is the moderate in this conflict, and who is the extremist?’”

Earlier this month, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert visited Britain and France to seek support for his unilateral withdrawal plan from the West Bank. Both British and French leaders reiterated their preference for a negotiated two-state solution with the Palestinian side. He is set to visit Germany next month.

According to the Pew survey, which was conducted among nearly 17,000 people in the United States and 14 other countries from March 31 through May 14, more than two-thirds of the Germans and French believe that a Hamas government will not improve living conditions for the Palestinians, while the British are evenly divided.

The Israel Project found that more than 60% of French and German “opinion elites” — defined as people with a high level of education who closely follow the news, especially foreign affairs — have a negative image of Hamas.

Despite the diplomatic standoff between the West and Iran over its nuclear program, the Pew survey found that in Western Europe the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is still considered to be a greater threat than the Islamic fundamentalist government in Tehran. According to the Pew survey, 45% of British respondents, 35% of the French and 15% of the Germans see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a threat to world peace.

In November 2003, a controversy erupted after a poll commissioned by the European Union found that Israel was considered by 59% of Europeans as the biggest threat to global stability.

Americans are the only ones who see Iran as posing more danger than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, though only by a slight margin: 46%-43%.

Pew researchers concluded that “America’s global image has again slipped, and support for the war on terrorism has declined even among close U.S. allies”; they noted that the American presence in Iraq was cited at least as often as — and in many countries, more often than — Iran as a danger to world peace.






Find us on Facebook!
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.