Growing opposition to boycotts on Israel in UK, poll shows

A new poll shows that a growing number of British citizens are opposed to boycotts against Israel.

The number of British people who oppose boycotts on Israel has soared over the last year and support of Israel in general has increased, this according a new poll conducted by the Britain Israel Communications & Research Centre (BICOM).

The survey, which was published Friday, shows that 51 percent 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.” Only 12 percent of the respondents disagreed with this statement.

This is an eight percent increase over last year’s survey.

Similarly, 56 percent of people agree that a boycott on Israel hurts “both Palestinians and Israelis,” a nine percent increase since October 2015. Only 6 percent disagreed with this statement.

Hundreds of Palestinians have lost their jobs after Israeli companies facing boycotts were forced to fold or relocate.

The poll also showed that Britons are also more than twice as likely to agree as disagree that hating Israel and questioning its right to exist is “anti-Semitic,” with 48 percent saying it is anti-Semitic, and only 20 percent saying it is not.

However, 57 percent agree that criticizing Israel is not anti-Semitic.

A century after the famous Balfour Declaration, which is now under attack by Palestinian and anti-Israel elements, there is 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, with 43 percent saying they agree with the policy, up from 40 percent the year before. Only 18 percent disagreed with the historical move.

The poll also showed that Israel is still considered to be Britain’s strongest ally in the Middle East, with 57 percent of Britons regarding Israel as an ally of Britain in the Middle East, up from 52 percent from October 2015 and the highest figure for countries in the region.

Overall British warmth towards Israel remains stable at 19 percent, while British warmth towards Israelis is at 24 percent, higher in comparison with 20 percent warmth towards Palestinians, and 11 percent support for the Palestinian Authority (PA).

“Our poll shows a very significant shift against the idea of boycotting Israel,” explained BICOM CEO James Sorene. “The majority opposing it has increased by as much as eight percent over the past year. The British sense of fair play is a clear theme in the poll as time and again respondents reject singling out Israel, given everything else going on in the world.”

“In a year where we have seen several public figures attempt to explain their hatred of Israel as a political position, the judgment of the British people is stark. They clearly understand that hating Israel and questioning its right to exist is anti-Semitism, pure and simple,” he added.

“Israel is rightly seen as a strong ally of Britain, and Brits agree with the part we played declaring our support for a Jewish homeland in the aftermath of the First World War almost 100 years ago,” he stressed.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News