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Among the findings of a new international survey, commissioned by the BBC and performed by an outfit called Globescan, is that the four least popular countries in the world, or at least in the 22 countries surveyed, are Pakistan, Iran, North Korea – and Israel.
Polling residents of the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Brazil, Britain, Germany, France, Spain, Russia, China, Japan, South Korea, India, Pakistan, Australia, Indonesia, Kenya, Egypt, Ghana, and Nigeria, Globescan found that only 21 percent of respondents had a positive impression of Israel, and that the only one of the Western countries surveyed whose residents have an overall positive view of Israel is the U.S.
Looking at the study in its entirety, one discovers that while 50 percent of Americans took a positive view of Israel and 35 percent were negative, the breakdown in Canada was a very different 25-59. Of Russia, France, Britain, Germany, and Spain, guess which had the most positive view of Israel? Believe it or not, Russia – land of the shtetls and pogroms, of Sakharov and Sharansky. While French attitudes toward Israel split 20-65, British 16-68, Germans 16-69, and Spaniards 12-74, the Russians broke almost even, 25-26. Indeed, Nigerians (54-29) and Kenyans (45-31) were far friendlier to Israel than any of the Western European countries. Unsurprisingly, the Muslim countries surveyed were not terribly pro-Israel: the figures for Egypt were 7-85, for Pakistan 9-50, for Indonesia 8-61. But the country that was most hostile of all was Japan, where only 3 percent had an affirmative view of Israel.
The report, of course, only confirms what many of us already know: that with the exception of the U.S., the countries of the West – in which diaspora Jews have lived for centuries and which, in the wake of the Holocaust, fell all over themselves apologizing for, and trying to atone for, their roles in the destruction of the Jews – are today no friends of the Jewish state. Mountains of anecdotal evidence, moreover, make it clear that it is impossible to separate this antagonism from pure and simple anti-Semitism.
American Jews who still believe that they are living in a world – or, at least, in a Western world – in which anti-Semitism is, by and large, a thing of the past need to open their eyes. They should be aware of what is going on in the minds of many of the people they encounter when they travel to places like Paris or London. They should recognize that the relative lack of Jew-hatred that they experience in the U.S. is an outright aberration – an aberration, moreover, that, as rhetoric emanating from the Occupy Wall Street movement has suggested, may not persist for much longer.
Similarly, Western European gentiles who think that they inhabit the most civilized, tolerant, and peaceable corner of the world need to think again. For the ancient prejudice that led Europe down the road to the Holocaust has come crawling back out of its dark hole.
Clearly, the main reason for the widespread enmity toward Israel in Western Europe is that left-leaning individuals in positions of influence – from politicians and journalists to schoolteachers and professors – have been engaged for quite a long time in a relentless campaign of disinformation and demonization directed against Israel and, frankly, Jews generally. In turn, a major (if not the only) reason for that effort is a misbegotten desire to please, and appease, European Muslims.
“I am so tired,” complained Søren Espersen of the Danish Folkeparti last Friday on his Jyllands-Posten blog, “of all the lies about Israel.” He elaborated:
I am often invited to high schools, where both teachers and students get such a very special masochistic thrill out of seeing and meeting someone like me – the very epitome of Danish political evil ….! It is, of course, [my] foreign policy they most want to be outraged by, but the second most important topic at Danish schools is actually the Middle East. The relationship between Israelis and Arabs, between Jews and Muslims.
And time after time it has struck me that even in a situation where the interest in the Middle East conflict is burning hot, for the most part neither the teachers nor the students are aware of the historical background.
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