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European poll reveals changing perceptions of conflict in Palestine

May 10, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Al Jazeera Centre for Studies in conjunction with the Middle East Monitor (MEMO) and the European Muslim Research Centre (EMRC) at Exeter University carried out a joint study in January 2011 to gauge British and European perceptions on the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict. No major study of this kind has been undertaken on a European level since October 2003, when a survey conducted by the European Commission revealed that approximately 60% of Europeans saw Israel as the greatest threat to world peace.

This report presents the findings of a research study conducted by the polling institution ICM Government & Social Research Unit on behalf of Al Jazeera, MEMO and the EMRC. ICM interviewed 7,045 adults across six major European countries: Britain, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy.

Key findings


A few of the most salient points drawn out from our study include the following. Of the adults surveyed:

  • 50% believe that being critical of Israel does NOT make a person anti-Semitic;
  • 70% believe that the pro-Israel lobby influences the media;
  • 67% believe that the pro-Israel lobby influences the political agenda;
  • 58% believe that European Law should not be changed to make it easier for those accused of war crimes to visit Europe; 
  • 65% believe that Israel does not treat all religious groups equally;
  • 45% believe that Hamas should be INCLUDED in Israel-Palestine peace talks;
  • 41% believe that Israel’s oppression of Palestinians is one of the biggest obstacles to peace in the Middle East;
  • 40% believe that Israeli settlements are the biggest obstacles to peace in the Middle East;
  • 51% thought of the Gaza Strip when they heard the words “Israel-Palestine conflict”;
  • 34% believe that Israel is not a democracy but 65% believe that (democracy or not) there is oppression and domination by one religious group in Israel over another;
  • 13% consider Israel to be the bigger threat to world peace compared with only 7% who said the same of the Palestinians;
  • 53% were aware that Israel’s economic blockade of the Gaza Strip is illegal;
  • 64% stated that the Israeli armed response to the boats carrying supplies to the Gaza Strip in May 2010 was illegal;
  • 60% were aware that the Israeli ground incursion into the Gaza Strip during the winter of 2008-2009 was illegal;
  • 48% think that Israel exploits the history of the suffering of the Jewish people in Europe to generate public support;
  • 39% believe that the Israel-Palestine conflict fuels “Islamophobia” in Europe; and
  • 54% believe that Jerusalem should be a neutral international city.

Download a full and thorough analysis of this study and what these statistics mean compiled by MEMO.
Download the detailed report compiled by ICM.

Download Report