Israel continues to remain one of the world’s most negatively-viewed countries, according to the BBC’s annual Country Ratings Poll. The majority in 17 out of 22 countries rank Israel negatively — a slight increase from 2011. This trend is particularly on the rise in Europe, and in Muslim and Asian countries.
Around 24,090 people worldwide participated in the 2012 poll. With 50 percent of respondents rating the country negatively, the Jewish state is on par with North Korea and only behind Iran (55 percent) and Pakistan (51 percent). Only the majority in the U.S., Nigeria and Kenya ranked Israel positively.
People who rated Israel as having a “mostly negative” influence cited the nation’s foreign policy as the main contributing factor. Adversely, those who attributed a “mostly positive” influence cited the Jewish state’s culture and traditions.
Of the European Union countries, negative perceptions of Israel rose in Spain (74 percent) and France (65 percent). In Germany and Britain, perceptions remained stagnant from 2011, at 69 percent and 68 percent respectively.
Of the Muslim countries, Egypt had the most negative views of the Jewish state, with 85 percent. The country’s respondents actually had the most negative views expressed by any of the 22 countries polled. This is up seven points from 2011, one year after the country ousted longtime President Hosni Mubarack. Islamic influence has grown in the country since and the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi is now president.
Asian countries’ perceptions of Israel continued to plummet, with South Korea registering the largest increase of negative views (15 points). China and Japan each reported a 45 percent negative view, and only 3 percent of Japanese respondents viewed Israel positively — the least positive rating of any country surveyed.
Australia and Canada also had high pessimistic views of the Jewish state, at 65 percent and 59 percent respectively.
The closest ally of Israel did offer some solace. Since 2011, U.S. respondents who view Israel negatively decreased six points to 35 percent, marking the most positive Israel has been viewed in the country since polling began in 2005.