A majority of Brits think the UK should not try to help solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but a similar majority think the UK should recognise Palestine as a state, according to the findings of a YouGov survey.
The poll, commissioned by the Council for Arab-British Understanding (CAABU) and the Arab News newspaper, surveyed 2,142 people in August.
It showed a lack of tolerance for Arab and Muslim refugees, with 55 percent supporting racial profiling of Arabs and Muslims for security reasons and seven in ten arguing that the UK should take less refugees from Syria and Iraq.
The poll also should a huge lack of understanding about the Arab world in general, with eight out of ten respondents saying they knew little or nothing about the region, and 37 percent saying Israel was part of the Arab world.
Despite the fact that most were unfamiliar with the region, however, 53 percent said Britain should recognise Palestine as a state, while 55 percent said that “in view of its historic role… Britain should not take responsibility in helping sort out the Israeli-Palestinian conflict now”.
The survey found that supporters of Labour or the Liberal Democrats were almost twice as likely to hold Britain responsible for the conflict as Conservatives. Likewise, more educated respondents were more likely to feel the UK ought to step in.
“Considering the enormous importance of the Arab world to Britain, it is alarming that 81 percent of the British population say they know little or nothing about this vital region,” said CAABU director Chris Doyle. “At a time when mutual understanding is more needed than ever, this chasm must be addressed.”