Israel 'threat' survey sparks ire - BBC, UK
- Israel 'threat' survey sparks ire
Senior Israeli figures are divided over the importance
of a European survey labelling their country the
greatest threat to world peace.
Nearly 60% of Europeans said yes when asked in a
Eurobarometer survey if Israel presents a threat to
The survey put Israel ahead of Iran, North Korea and
the US, each of which polled 53%.
An EU spokesman said the poll results would not affect
European policy-making in the short term.
Israeli Minister Natan Sharansky said the results
showed the EU engaged in "rampant brainwashing".
"The European Union, which shows sensitivity on human
rights issues, would do well to stop the... demonising
of Israel before Europe deteriorates once again to
dark sections of its past," the Diaspora affairs
But Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom appeared less
disturbed by the findings.
He said the poll findings reflect the greater press
coverage of Israel than of states such as Iran and
"There's no comparing the amount of media exposure
Israel gets in Europe compared to Iran or North Korea.
The images broadcast from here have an impact, but we
should not get exerted by it," he told the Israeli
He said a poll published a month ago suggested
Israel's image was improving in Europe.
"But who cares about such polls?" he asked, saying
that negative findings tended to get greater
prominence than positive ones.
"One need not dramatise every poll and there's no need
for bile," he said.
No policy change
An EU spokesman also played down the importance of the
A THREAT TO PEACE?
Iran, North Korea, US 53%
Percentage who replied "Yes" to each country
"We don't put excessive emphasis on one poll result,"
the spokesman, Gerassimos Thomas, told the Associated
Press, adding that it would not affect EU
"Policy is defined on the basis of a number of factors
and a number of inputs," he said.
But the BBC's Tim Franks in Brussels says the findings
may reduce European diplomats' effectiveness in
dealing with the Israel-Palestinian conflict by
heightening Israeli distrust of the EU.
The Palestinian Authority was not included in the poll
because the EU does not consider it a country.
The survey of 7,515 people in the 15 EU countries was
carried out between 8 and 16 October.
Respondents were asked to say whether or not each
country on a list represented a threat to world peace.
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