One-in-five Britons believe Jeremy Corbyn has worked to deliver peace in the Middle East, while a third say he seems only interested in talking to terrorists, according to a new poll.
Respondents were asked about the Labour leader’s positions on Israel-Palestine for a BICOM/ Populus survey, through a series of opposing statements.
Of the 2,035 people polled, 19 percent agreed with the statement, “Jeremy Corbyn has worked hard to deliver peace between Israel and the Palestinians”.
Meanwhile, 35 percent agree that he “only seems interested in talking to those organisations deemed to be terrorists by the British Government, the EU and the US State Department”, while 46 percent said they didn’t know.
The Labour leader has been criticised in the past for inviting members of Hamas and Hezbollah to parliament, referring to them as his ‘friends’. Both are considered, in part or in full, as being terror groups by the UK, US and EU.
Amid the Labour antisemitism row, the survey also revealed that 38 percent of Brits think the Labour leader’s “actions and past history point to him being antisemitic”.
However 25 percent of people agreed that Corbyn “is a committed campaigner against racism of all kinds including antisemitism”.
“We were interested to measure support for Jeremy Corbyn’s own explanations for his conduct after accusations of antisemitism”, James Sorene, CEO of BICOM said.
“The results are clear”, as he added that “the poll was carried out when this issue was no longer being reported in the news”, between 5-7 October.
This comes after Jewish News and the Jewish Leadership Council commissioned a a ComRes poll in July in which a third of Britons were found to believe Margaret Hodge was right to label Jeremy Corbyn an antisemite, over his handling of the party’s row.
On questions of Israel and Palestine, Sorene said the numbers were “largely unchanged”.
48 percent of respondents “do not support boycotts of Israel and find it difficult to understand how others do given everything else that is going on in the world”, while 14 percent of people polled said they would support BDS, a rise of 3 percent.
This follows BICOM’s 2017 poll which saw support for BDS fall from 12 to 11, which was “its lowest level since we started measuring it in 2014”.
The polling indicates young people have significantly reduced their level of support for a BDS of Israel since 2015. “45 percent of young people aged 18-24 continue to oppose boycotts of Israel, continuing the significant shift in opinion from 2015 when only 28 percent opposed boycotts”, Sorene said.
Forty seven percent of respondents also believe that “hating Israel and questioning its right to exist” is antisemitic, which twenty percent of people disagreed with.
Support for strong ties with the Jewish state also increased, with Israel viewed as the third most important UK trading partner in the Middle East in the wake of Brexit, behind Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
49 percent of people also consider Israel as being an important British ally in the fight against terrorism.