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UK public support for Balfour Declaration drops during centenary year

October 30, 2017 at 12:07 pm

Auditorium of guests attending the Palestine, Britain and the Balfour Declaration 100 years on. conference [Jehan Alfarra/Middle East Monitor]

British public support for the Balfour Declaration has dropped during the past year, according to a poll commissioned by the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM).

Presented with the text of the Balfour Declaration, respondents were asked to what extent they agree or disagree “that in principle this was the right position for the British government to adopt”.

Only 38 per cent of British adults said they agreed, down from 43 per cent in last year’s poll. There was also a generation gap in this year’s poll, with only 30 per cent of those aged 18-34 expressing agreement, compared to 50 per cent of those aged 55+.

The poll, conducted for the pro-Israel lobby organisation by Populus in early October, also found that only 21 per cent of Brits have a favourable view of Israel, compared to 50 per cent who have a cold or unfavourable feeling. Amongst 18-34-year-olds, favourability fell to 17 per cent.

Read: No Palestinian state means Balfour Declaration ‘unfinished business’

BICOM’s poll also restored two boycott-related questions that had been missing from 2016’s poll, but present in previous years.

Asked whether “an economic boycott of Israel would increase Israel’s willingness to negotiate with the Palestinians”, 24 per cent agreed, up slightly from 23 per cent in 2015.


In addition, respondents were posed the following statement: “I would be more likely to boycott goods and produce from Israeli settlements in the occupied territories”; 26 per cent agreed, again, up slightly from 25 per cent in 2015.

In May 2017, a  poll conducted by YouGov on behalf of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign found that 43 per cent of Brits believe the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) until Israel complies with international law to be reasonable (13 per cent said it was unreasonable).