Israel’s foreign and domestic policy seems to have tarnished its image on the world stage as it came joint third in an annual international BBC poll assessing the negative influence of major countries. The poll asked which states were perceived to have had the most negative influence on the world. Iran and Pakistan took first and second place respectively, with Israel sharing third place with North Korea. Israel retained its position as one of the world’s most negatively-viewed countries, according to BBC’s annual poll published Wednesday night.
With 50% of respondents ranking Israel’s influence as ‘mostly negative’, Israel keeps company with North Korea, and places ahead of only Iran (55% negative) and Pakistan (51% negative).
The 2012 Country Ratings Poll was conducted among 24,090 people worldwide, and asked respondents to rate whether the influence of 22 countries was “mostly positive” or “mostly negative.”
Evaluations of Israel’s influence, already largely unfavorable in 2011, have worsened in 2012. Out of the 22 countries polled, the majority in 17 of them view Israel negatively, while only three (the US, Nigeria and Kenya) view Israel’s influence positively.
A trend that should worry Israel is rising negative perceptions in EU countries, reaching 74% in Spain (up 8%), 65% in France (up 9%), while in Germany and Britain the negative views remain high but stable (69% and 68% respectively). In other Anglo countries, perceptions of Israel are worsening, including in Australia (65%), and Canada (59%).
Among Muslim countries, perceptions of Israel’s influence have continued to deteriorate. Of particular concern for Israel is the country sitting on its southern border, Egypt, where 85% of the population views Israel negatively, up 7% since 2011.
In Asian countries, public opinion on Israel’s influence is growing increasingly negative. In China, just 23% of those surveyed view Israel positively compared with 45% negatively. In India, overall opinion has shifted from being divided in 2011 to leaning negatively.
The saving grace for Israel is United States, where the proportion of people viewing Israel’s influence negatively has decreased six points to 35% since 2011. This statistic marks the most positive views on Israel expressed in the US since tracking began in 2005. 50% of US respondents had a ‘mostly favourable’ view of Israel’s influence.
People viewing Israel negatively around the world cited Israel’s foreign policy as the main factor influencing their perception, while those who view Israel positively cite culture and Jewish traditions.