A majority of people believe that Israel and Iran have a mainly negative influence in the world, a poll for the BBC World Service suggests.
It shows that the two countries are closely followed by the United States and North Korea.
The poll asked 28,000 in 27 countries to rate a dozen countries plus the European Union in terms of whether they have a positive or negative influence.
Canada, Japan and the EU are viewed most positively in the survey.
What is really incredible about this is that Israel probably has less direct effect on the people in those 27 countries than any of the others. The policy of the United States, whether or not you approve of it, is quite likely to have great effect on the world. And one can understand how regimes that threaten to use nuclear weapons, as Iran and North Korea have, would generate a lot of strong feeling.
But if Israel were to disappear, or alternatively to build 100 new settlements in the territories, the effect on 99 percent of the world’s population would be exactly — nothing.
The BBC piece mentions the ‘controversial’ war in Lebanon. But even the most exaggerated estimates of the total death toll on both sides in this war don’t exceed 1,500. Contrast this with the ongoing conflict in Chechnya, which began in 1999 and where at least 10,000 have been killed in the last 4 years. And this is just one of many ongoing wars.
The BBC mentions that Muslims are particularly anti-Israel. Indeed, but most of the dead in Chechnya are Muslims, including plenty of civilians.
Maybe the explanation lies in the fact that the people they polled were BBC listeners!