According to the BBC’s Annual Country Ratings World Survey, Israel is the fourth least popular country in the world. It ranks ahead of only Iran, North Korea and Pakistan.
Germany ranks as the world’s most popular country with Canada in second.
Upon closer scrutiny, many of the countries surveyed are in the Muslim world: Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan and Indonesia. Only 1% of Egyptians have a positive view of Israel.
Other countries surveyed outside the Muslim world have had a long history of anti-Semitism: Russia, Germany, Poland, France and the United Kingdom. Indeed, 72% of UK respondents have a negative view of Israel which is the highest total in Europe.
Sadly, Canada and Australia did not fare much better with mostly positive responses of 25% and 16%, respectively.
Many countries with little contact with Israel viewed the Jewish State in negative terms. Only 3% of Japanese surveyed indicated they had a positive view of Israel.
The United States was the only country where more than 50% of those surveyed had a positive view of Israel. Several sub-Saharan African countries had generally positive views of Israel – Ghana (44%), Kenya (42%) and Nigeria (35%). Perhaps Israel’s airlift of Ethiopian Jews during the famine in the mid-1980s could be responsible for this enduring goodwill or possibly its good relations with the newly independent Southern Sudan. Unfortunately, these countries are the exception to the rule.
Sadly, the world’s oldest hatred endures with no signs of dying.