The poll shows that 51% of the 2,050 respondents “do not boycott Israeli goods”, an eight percent rise when compared to figures from a similar poll in October 2015.
56% of respondents thought that Israel boycotts “hurt both Palestinians and Israelis” – nine percent more than 2015.
The boycott movement suffered a significant setback in February this year when the Government announced new proposals to curtail anti-Israel boycotts by publicly funded UK authorities, including local councils.
57% of respondents felt that Israel was Britain’s ally, the highest percentage for any Middle Eastern country. This figure was also higher than in 2015, seeing a five percent increase.
Of those surveyed, 48% of those polled felt that “hating Israel and questioning its right to exist” was “anti-Semitic,” with 45% of Muslim respondents agreeing with that statement, while only 20% disagreed with the statement. 57% of respondents said that simply criticising Israel was not in itself anti-Semitic.
The poll found that 43% of respondents said they agreed with Britain’s then-foreign secretary Lord Balfour, who wrote in support of a Jewish homeland in mandatory Palestine in the 1917 Balfour Declaration.
Israel’s Ambassador to the UK, H.E. Mark Regev commented on the BICOM poll: “Today’s results affirm the strong ties between our two countries. It is encouraging that more than ever, Britons view Israel as their strongest ally in the region. Equally important, most people correctly believe that demonisation of Israel is in fact anti-Semitic, and must not be tolerated”.
BICOM chief executive James Sorene said: “Our poll shows a very significant shift against the idea of boycotting Israel… “The British sense of fair play is a clear theme in the poll as time and again respondents reject singling out Israel, given everything else going on in the world”.