November 7, 2003
EUROBAROMETER POLL'S MISTRUST OF ISRAEL KEYED TO
** Euros hold Israel's
government "at least partly responsible" for its poor image in
** The image of the U.S. as
a threat is consistent with deep skepticism of U.S. Iraq policy.
** Papers dismiss Israel's
claim that the poll results reflect anti-Semitism.
** Dissenters assert that
"blind pacifism" keeps Euros from "distinguishing between
friends and enemies."
Palestinians want 'nothing but...self-determination'-- According to German dailies, the Eurobarometer
poll's finding that Euros consider Israel the biggest threat to world peace was
"not quite right," but Sharon's "dramatic radicalization of
Israeli policies" has boosted that perception. The poll reflected Europe's image of Israel
as an "oppressive, occupying power" said Israel's left-leaning Ha'aretz,
while Muslim writers celebrated how Europeans "have finally grasped the
truth." Saudi Arabia's moderate Riyadh
Daily appreciated Europe's understanding of "Israel's own contribution
to...terrorism and its grave threat to world peace."
'Israel and the U.S. are definitely a threat'-- Polish and Arab dailies cited Iraq to explain
why Europeans view the U.S. as a threat.
Warsaw's radical Catholic Nasz Dziennik used the "unjust
wars waged by Israel and the U.S." to account for anti-American and
anti-Israel sentiment. Syria's
government-owned Al-Thawra concluded that Europeans agree with Muslims
in considering "the U.S.-led war on Iraq unnecessary." For Lebanon's moderate Daily Star, the
poll demonstrated that "the world respects American values and domestic
practices, but dislikes the way the U.S. uses its power."
Allegations of anti-Semitism are just Israel's 'most convenient
and effective weapon'-- Euro and Arab writers
agreed it was "quite inaccurate" to say the poll "reflects
European anti-Semitism." Austria's
liberal Der Standard declared, "There are attempts to prevent a
fact-oriented discussion...by accusing" poll respondents "of
harboring anti-Semitic feelings."
Saudi Arabia's pro-government Arab News labeled "dangerous
madness" Israel's propensity to "accuse anyone who criticizes it of
being anti-Semitic." Egypt's
leading Al Ahram agreed that "antagonism against racist
Zionism" does not equal anti-Semitism.
Europe's desire to appease Islam 'endangers world peace more than
anything else'-- "The greatest
threat to world stability isn't Israel or the U.S., but those who would destroy
them," according to the nationalist Ottawa Citizen. It and other conservative dailies criticized
Europe's "profound intellectual and ideological malaise" for equating
the U.S. and Israel with "Arab-Islamic terror." Italy's business-oriented Il Sole 24-Ore
commented that Israel is Europe's "number one enemy" because of its
"continuous affronts on European pacifist logic."
EDITOR: Ben Goldberg
EDITOR'S NOTE: This
analysis is based on 36 reports from 19 countries over 3 - 6 November
2003. Editorial excerpts from each
country are listed from the most recent date.
GERMANY: "As Upholder
Of Moral Standards To The Middle East"
Stefan Kornelius judged in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung
of Munich (11/5): "The highly
complex Middle East conflict cannot be reduced to one sentence and by no means
to a stupid question in an opinion poll.
For this reason, it is not quite right to speak of Israel as a threat to
global peace. Israel permanently defends
itself against terrorist attacks. But
the means to defend itself are in general false, and the number of
provocations--the construction of settlements, personal chicanery--are
enormous. With the construction of the
border fence on Palestinian territory, a point has now been reached in which
this monument of stupidity will deprive Israel of the remaining sympathies and
mainly of its legitimation. This is also
backed by the opinion poll, but a danger for global peace? This is hardly the
case.... Israel is the only functioning
democracy in the Middle Eastern crisis spot, and as such important for Europe's
interests, too. This is sober
realpolitik and has little to do with moral or historical commitments towards
the country.... It is likely that the
opinion poll is considered evidence of European anti-Semitism, but this
interpretation is wrong. It is rather
the expression of a one-sided European foreign policy. Europe either sides with one party or is, at
best, at odds with each other, thus making the biggest mistake one can make in
the Middle East.... An interest policy
that minimizes emotions is strange to many Europeans and to Germans in
particular. They like to think in
categories of perpetrators and victims...but they easily forget that moral
judgments weigh much more, are much more difficult to make, and can hardly be
revised. In a region where all sides
fight for every single square meter, these categories have faded. We may regret this, but nothing will change
in the Middle East if people use absolute arguments and if moral judgments are
made. This is true for Israel but also
towards the Palestinians."
"How Opinion Polls Reflect Policies"
Gerd Appenzeller argued in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of
Berlin (11/5): "Of course, the opinion
poll...does not reflect the official EU position...but the fact that the
outcome of the poll has caused such an outrage does not mean that there are
people who seriously consider it wrong but the poll reflects a European
perception of the world that creates unease--and hopefully
thoughtfulness.... The official EU
policy towards Israel has been considered pro-Arabic and critical of Israel in
Jerusalem. International Jewish organizations
like the American Jewish Committee tried to prove that European media inform
the public in a one-sided manner of the Middle East conflict. Why should this not also be reflected in the
formation of opinion in Europe? But this
is only one side of the coin. With Ariel
Sharon, Israel's policy has experienced a dramatic radicalization in the
European perception. Even though
Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount is erroneously considered the reason for the
second intifada, it was a provocative demonstration nevertheless. The government in Jerusalem is at least
partly responsible for Israel's picture as a power that does not tend to find
an accommodation with the Arabs."
Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger opined in center-right Frankfurter
Allgemeine (11/5): "For years,
Israel has been losing support in Europe.
This is worrying. The pictures
that have been received from the occupied territories seem to transport moral
messages--tanks against stone-hurling kids--and are often used to achieve a
clear goal, have sped up the loss of sympathy.
It would be wrong to declare this phenomenon as anti-Semitism. It would also be wrong to ignore the
viewpoint of many Europeans as partisan or to claim that these pictures justify
terrorism. Seen from a rational point of
view, some courage is necessary to describe Israel as the main danger for
global peace, but, and this is something we must say, this perception is also
an echo of Israel's policy."
“An Old Europe Without A Compass”
Adriana Cerretelli noted in leading
business-oriented Il Sole-24 Ore (11/4):
“The emotional wave produced by the Iraqi war undermined Atlantic
cohesion and divided the EU, whether for good or not, only time will tell. It
brought out the inconsistencies and paradoxes that in part are conveyed in
polling results giving way to a photograph of a society that is in a state of
total mental confusion. It [Europe] is in the midst of a nervous breakdown and
it is abetted by an often blind pacifism that hinders it from distinguishing
between friends and enemies, between democratic states and totalitarian
regimes, between laicism and the most exasperated [form of] fundamentalism. And
so the United States, which for over half a century has been the guarantor of
the European peace through the shield of NATO, has become the number two enemy
of a culture that prefers renunciation to risk, peace and quiet at any price
(it’s better to let the others pay, including the Americans). It’s the
appeasement. And so Israel, that is fighting and not giving up, becomes the
number one enemy perhaps more for its continuous affronts on European pacifist
logic than for a real relapse of anti-Semitism in the Union.”
“The Prejudice Beyond The Wall”
Renzo Foa held in pro-government, leading center-right Il
Giornale (11/4): “Now we know that
in Europe there is another symbol of evil. It’s not terrorism. It’s not the
totalitarian regimes. It’s Israel.... It
is hypocritical not to distinguish between a country like Israel, that is a
full-fledged democracy, and its enemies--the Palestinian autocracy, the Syrian
tyranny, the Iranian theocracy, the absolute Saudi monarchy and so on. Better
still, hypocrisy is not only not distinguishing, but ending up choosing others
by forgetting about terrorism, by pointing to a purely formal international
lawfulness and neglecting the fact that the violation of human rights, in that
part of the world, is not the result of an endless war, but it is in the first
place the practice of power systems like the Arab ones, built by indestructible
elites. It’s true that no one may like a wall, but to confuse Sharon’s with
Berlin’s is an arbitrary interpretation on an historical, moral and political
level (the former is being built to defend a democracy, the latter was built to
defend a tyranny)--an arbitrary interpretation--this is the crux of if, let’s
call things by their name--that underlines the contiguity of a part of Europe
with the new nihilism.”
AUSTRIA: “Silly Questions”
Gudrun Harrer wrote in liberal Der Standard (11/5): "Criticizing Israel is often a favorite
pastime of people who either want to distance themselves from the burden of
their own historical background, or--in the worst case--are motivated by pure
anti-Semitism, and try to hide this behind the larger context of the Middle
East conflict. However, the phenomenon can also be reversed: there are attempts
to prevent a fact-oriented discussion of the situation in the Middle East by
accusing the discussants of harboring anti-Semitic feelings, if they fail to do
what for any other country would be seen as absolutely out of the question:
siding with the a rather right-wing political mainstream. In a word, the
subject is complicated enough, even without a recent EU survey, the topic of
which could not be any more stupid: ‘Which of the following countries, in your
opinion, is a threat to world peace?’ And the majority of interviewees does not
answer with ‘Iran,’ Iraq,’ or ‘the European Union,’ but with ‘Israel.’ Even
Silvio Berlusconi, who is not exactly blessed with semantic sensibilities, has
uttered the suspicion that what the participants actually meant was: the
conflict between Israel and Palestine is, for whatever reasons, by far not all
of which are Israel’s fault, the most explosive international conflict the
world is currently faced with....
Anti-Semitism in Europe has long become the playground of morons, which
is not to say that there aren’t any of those left. But certainly not as many as
some people--again, to further their own motives--are trying to read into this
CZECH REPUBLIC: "Whom
The Europeans Don't Like"
Frantisek Sulc commented in center-right Lidove Noviny
(11/6): "The Eurobarometer poll
showed that 59 percent of the Europeans consider Israel to pose the major
threat to world peace.... Immediate
reactions blamed the Europeans of anti-Semitism. European politicians rushed to express their
abhorrence of the results, and said that the [poll] questions were
misleading. That's even worse than the
result itself, though.... The abhorrence
is adequate, but to excuse the [negative] result by doubting the questions is a
childish way of hiding problems....
There are several reasons why people stated [in the poll] what they
did. One of them is the fact that the
poll was conducted in October, that is a few months after the war in Iraq that
has polarized both Europe and U.S.--Europe relations.... Why Israel, though? First, because it is the U.S.' 'prolonged
arm' in the Middle East.... Second, because
when compared to its Arab neighbors, Israel represents a relatively stable and
well-off society that sports a powerful military and doesn't hesitate to use
it. Through this view, the Palestinians
are the poor guys who want nothing but the right of self-determination.... Third, the traditional European anti-Semitism
that also seems to play a role here is further prompted by the growing number
of Muslims settling in the EU countries....
However, to say that the result of the poll reflects European
anti-Semitism would be quite inaccurate.
A high percentage of the Europeans condemning Israel did so because of
their mistrust of the current Israeli leadership.... The poll shows one other thing, and that is a
lack of information and a lack of will to seek it on the part of the
Furious At 'Biggest Threat To Peace' Tag"
Conor Sweeney noted in the center-right, populist Irish
Independent (11/4): "The U.S.
and Israel are among the biggest threats to world peace, Irish people believe,
according to a controversial new survey.
The sample of 500 Irish people phoned last month for the Eurobarometer
survey placed the two developed countries just behind North Korea as a single
greatest global danger.... The Irish
fear of the United States, at 60pc of those polled is well ahead of the average
European response, of 53pc.... The
results were the second part of a poll, which followed the publication of
earlier findings on the war in Iraq. It had showed that the Irish public are
just as sceptical as most other Europeans about the justification for the
US-led war in Iraq. They also believe
the US should pay the bill for the reconstruction of the ravaged country but
that the UN should be in control of the process. Just 8pc of Irish people felt the Iraqi
intervention was absolutely justified while a further 32pc said it had some
“Thunder That Misses The Mark”
Zygmunt Slomkowski observed in leftist Trybuna (11/5): “Never before has any survey caused a
political storm and international grudges, including even an official protest
from one of the governments. Why did the survey conducted by Eurobarometer in
the 15 members of the EU cause such reaction? The answer is simple. The poll
results upset the common opinion aggressively advocated by many governments and
powerful media. It has become a cliché that the countries threatening world
peace are Iraq, Iran, North Korea, some also added Syria, Pakistan, and India.
Yet the survey indicated Israel [is the biggest threat to peace], and also
placed the United States high on the list. Immediately thunderclaps fell on
Eurobarometer, even though it only played the role of a messenger bringing the
bad news.... It is one more indication
that gone is the time when people took on faith whatever they were told.”
“3 to Nothing, Or The Failure Of Lies”
Sebastian Karczewski wrote in radical Catholic Nasz Dziennik
(11/5): “To say that Israel is the
biggest threat to peace is nothing new, and Nasz Dziennik has reiterated this
repeatedly.... Even prior to the U.S.
attack on Iraq we wrote that such an action had no justification. It turns out
today that 68 percent of EU citizens are of the same view. Moreover, on the day
of the aggression on Iraq we stated that America’s insane policy constituted a
much more serious threat to peace than Iraq. According to the recent European
Commission poll, more than half of the EU population is of a similar opinion.
‘Indignation’ is the right word to describe a response to the deceptive
machinations media use almost every day to conceal primitive deceptions U.S.
policy resorts to, which despite those efforts, come to light from time to
time. ‘Irritating’ are all those dishonest tricks designed to win public
support for unjust wars waged by Israel and the U.S.”
“Predictable As Eurobarometer”
Jacek Pawlicki wrote in liberal Gazeta Wyborcza
(11/4): “The biggest threat to peace is
Israel, followed by the U.S., together with North Korea. At least that’s
according to a Eurobarometer poll whose results were published yesterday.
America is more ominous than Iraq or Syria, which supports terrorism, or
Pakistan and India, which constantly threaten each other with nuclear weapons.
The poll did not include either the African countries plunged into conflicts,
al Qaida, or other terrorist organizations. The survey caused embarrassment in
Europe, Israel and the USA. However, we could have known in advance what
answers France, Germany or Belgium would give to such a question that implied a
premise. Their anti-Americanism and anti-Israeli moods are very strong today.
We should not expect that West Europeans fear Kim Jong Il the most, because
they think that showing him as a threat is part of American propaganda. The
Eurocrats that monitor Eurobarometer learned a long time ago how to ask a
question to get a convenient answer.”
ISRAEL: "The Dark Days
Settler leader Israel Harel observed in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz
(11/6): "If after three years of
terror attacks against Israel, she and not the Palestinian terror organizations
is perceived as the country 'most dangerous to world peace,' meaning the most
hated by citizens of the EU, this grants legitimacy and motivation to
Palestinian and world terrorism.... If
one were to ask the citizens of practically the only western country [the
United States] that still has a desire to face terror and not flee from it,
they would state, as is the fitting response for any free person, that more
than anything else, it is Arab-Islamic terror, and not its victims or those who
fight against it, that endangers world peace today."
"Lessons From A Superficial Poll"
Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized
(11/5): "Israel is the country that
most endangers world peace. That is not
a fact, but a headline of a public opinion poll taken in European Union
countries.... The poll reflects flaws
among the rankers no less than the ranked countries.... [In Europe], the old image of a people's
state recovering from a terrible disaster and defending itself against greater
forces, has given way to the image of an oppressive occupying power that fights
to hold onto land that doesn't belong to it and suffers frequent, ruthless
terror attacks in its civilian rear....
These flaws...do not absolve Israel of the need for some serious
soul-searching.... Hostile public
opinion makes it difficult for Israel to win over Europe, a traditional
supporter of the Arab position, forcing Israel to rely even more on the
Americans. One of the lessons of the
poll is that too little is invested in bringing Israel's view to the European
(and American and Asian) publics, whether directly or through local media and
its representatives in Israel....
Instead of complaining about ignorance or anti-Semitism, Israel should
be improving both its policies and the way they are reflected in public
"A Danger? Us?"
B. Michael stated in mass circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot (11/4): "A U.S.
intelligence chief added that in the absence of progress on the
Israeli-Palestinian arena (or an acceleration of democratization in Iraq), 'the
U.S. can expect continued, growing and threatening Arab and Muslim hostility in
the foreseeable future.' Another
tragic-comic piece of news was made public this week about the European public
opinion poll that awarded Israel the title of 'greatest danger to world peace. Why tragic?
Because it was unpleasant. Why
comic? Because it is yet another effect
of...the joy of polling, which is based on the axiom that everybody has a view
about everything.... The stupidity of
that poll does not exempt Israel from the need to ask about...why it is
included in the list.... With its
neo-colonialist whims, Israel endangers the U.S. soldiers in Iraq and deepens
Islamic enmity toward the entire U.S....
[Second,] despite the Israeli-American insistence, not every kind of
terrorism is the same.... As long as
they haven't been resolved, bleeding local conflicts are a breeding ground for
the growth of unwavering terrorism."
"Worse Than North Korea?"
Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post declared
(11/3): "Asked to rank 15 countries
on how they threaten 'world peace,' Europeans chose their top threats thus:
Israel, Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the United States. A full 59 percent of those polled in 15
European nations ranked Israel as the top threat.... We know that Europeans tend to regard any
discussion of good and evil, or democracy and dictatorship, as 'cowboy talk'
and terribly unsophisticated. But now we
find the European opposition to such petty distinctions taken to an opposite
extreme. How sophisticated is it for
Europeans to become the modern-day equivalent of the old non-aligned movement
with respect to the greatest threat of the day, the threat from militant Islam
and its embrace of terrorism? Truly
sophisticated Europeans would perhaps notice that continental nihilism is
getting out of hand.... The fact that so
many Europeans feel that Israel and the U.S. are threats to world peace
comparable to Iran and North Korea bespeaks a profound intellectual and
ideological malaise.... Memo to Europe:
demonizing a democracy under attack is no way to win friends and influence
WEST BANK: "The Truth
Talal Okal commented in independent Al-Ayyam (11/6): “A recently conducted European public opinion
poll placed Israel and the U.S. on top of a list of states posing the biggest
threat to world peace.... Immediately, a
series of Israeli objections, accusations and threats erupted, using the most
convenient and effective weapon: Anti-Semitism.... There is nothing to apologize for. The poll talks about Israel as a state,
policies and practices. It doesn’t talk
about Jews, their religion or race....
Yes, Israel and the U.S. are definitely a threat to the Palestinian
people, the Arab region as well as to world peace.”
"Angry Israeli Reaction"
Basem Abu Sumaya held in official Al-Hayat Al-Jadida
(11/6): “As would have been expected,
the whole EU trembled in fear of the angry Israeli reaction to the outcome of a
poll showing that Israel is the number one country that threatens world peace. It was natural then for Israel, being the
accused country, to blame the poll’s outcome on feelings of anti-Semitism. Israel has gotten used to raising a fuss
every time any of its policies is criticized, demonstrating that it would not
be content until it avenges itself or forces its accusers to apologize and beg
for forgiveness. More than once Israel
has engaged in such a battle, claiming to defend itself against
anti-Semitism...and more than once it has been able to benefit and extract the
Or Victory Of Truth?"
El-Sayed Yassin maintained in pro-government Al Ahram
(11/6): “The accusation of anti-Semitism
has become a synonym for antagonism against racist Zionism.... It is enough to look at how American Jews
were able to occupy U.S. Congress.... It
is enough to watch the Bush Administration’s conduct.... The U.S. is not the only country that
succumbed to Jewish blackmail. Germany
had to pay compensations...in the 1960’s....
Even though we do not support the Western conspiracy theory...we cannot
fail to identify suspicious American-Zionist congruity especially in the Bush
“Israel In European Eyes”
Pro-government Al Ahram senior columnist Salama Ahmed
Salama observed (11/5): “The EU
Commission hid parts of the latest poll which revealed that 59 percent of
Europeans see Israel as the greatest threat to world peace.... This reveals the twisted European policy
toward the Middle East dispute.... The
EU responded to American and Israeli pressures by placing Palestinian
resistance organizations on the list of terrorists but has failed to take an
open position condemning Israel’s daily massacres.... As long as Italy is the EU President, Europe
is not expected to take a position independent of the U.S. and Israel.”
“Europe Announces Israel And The U.S. Threaten World”
Aggressive pro-government Al Akhbar declared (11/5): “American youth agreed with this
poll.... The U.S. Army occupying Iraq
failed both to find the alleged WMD and to arrest Saddam. The U.S. only succeeded in destroying Iraq
and sending U.S. soldiers back to the U.S in coffins.... The U.S. Administration does not care about
billions of U.S. taxpayers’ dollars. It
is only concerned about the impact of American losses on the presidential
election campaign.... Hopefully Sharon
and Bush--who claim to be fighting terrorism--are happy [about the outcome of
the E.U. poll.]”
SAUDI ARABIA: "Warped
Jeddah's English-language pro-government Arab News
commented (11/5): "Israel accuses
anyone who criticizes it of being anti-Semitic, as if somehow its past places
it above criticism. This is dangerous
madness. Honest men believe that Israel is wrong and are saying so. They are not bigots. If Israel cannot deal calmly and rationally
with its critics, then it will be opening the way for those who do not
think.... Perhaps this is what Israel
wants. Maybe its leaders believe
Israelis need to feel hated to stay strong and united. It is a horrifying calculation, and currently
the sums are being counted in the bodies of innocents, Israeli as well as
Palestinian. If so, the Europeans are
right. Such a warped realpolitik does
pose a considerable, if not the greatest, threat to world peace."
"The Biggest Threat"
Riyadh's English-language moderate Riyadh Daily maintained
(11/5): "The Europeans have been
quick to comprehend Israel's own contribution to the field of terrorism and its
grave threat to world peace. They have
seen through this "biggest threat" despite the Zionist eyewash. The EU poll should not be brushed aside, but
acted on resolutely if the Middle East, and the world at large, is indeed to be
a safer place to live in."
JORDAN: "The Europeans
Support Peace And Condemn Israeli Terrorism"
Mahmoud Rimawi stated in semi-official, influential
Arabic-language Al-Rai (11/6):
“One surprisingly notices that the EU deliberately chose to take its
time and was reluctant before it released the results of the poll. The
requirements of Western democratic and constitutional life impose on the
countries of this union to be guided by those results and to formulate their
policies based on them. This is given that as a whole, European stands are good
and objective but lack implementation and translation into tangible steps and
measures.... All Arab parties,
individually or as a whole, should 'empower' themselves from the results of
this poll so as to organize a political and diplomatic attack against the
criminal occupying Israeli force, which does not stop threatening to drown the
region in blood in addition to its exercise of the policy of ethnic cleansing
against Palestinians--the sons of the occupied territories.”
“The European Public Opinion And Israel: Peace And Anti-Semitism
In A Poll”
Semi-official, influential Arabic-language Al-Rai held
(11/5): “The results of the European
poll are a clear indication that the free world condemns and denounces what the
Government of Israel is committing in terms of capital punishment and killings,
the construction of dividing walls, racial segregations, the toppling of the
peace process, and closure of any political door that leads to resolving the
Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It is time for the leaders of Israel to review
the files again instead of resorting to broken records and exhausted
accusations that describe the world and public opinion as Anti-Semitic.”
Opinions On Israel Are A Wake-up Call For All Of Us"
Executive Editor Rami Khouri wrote in the moderate, English-language
Daily Star (11/5): "It is
not so surprising, according to a public opinion poll commissioned by the
European Union and released Monday, that Europeans ranked Israel as the
greatest threat to peace in the world....
Neither is it surprising that the next two ranked countries were Iran
and North Korea (53 percent each). More
noteworthy is that the U.S. shared that second place with Iran and North
Korea.... There is scope here for
serious analysis of recent global political trends, and also much ammunition
for simplistic, knee-jerk reactions from both Americans and Europeans. My own sense, after discussions this week
with Europeans, Americans and Middle Easterners in Paris and London, is that
these poll results should be treated as a sobering wake-up call by all
concerned. They should prompt us to understand the polarization that has
brought us to this situation where the two countries that see themselves as the
fountainheads of democracy, peace, and prosperity in the Middle East (the U.S.
and Israel) are perceived in Europe as the No. 1 and 2 threats to world
peace. This is neither a statistical
sampling error, nor a reflection of primordial hatreds or entrenched
anti-Semitism and modern anti-Americanism certainly partially explain these
results--but only partially.... The
European poll is only one sign of a much wider, global phenomenon.... The world respects American values and
domestic practices, but dislikes the way that the United States uses its power
around the world. The same applies to Israel and its behavior: The world
generally admires Israel’s feats in nation-building, human ingenuity, and
economic productivity and prosperity, but strongly rejects Israel’s colonial,
often racist, policies towards the Palestinians.... I hope these European poll findings elicit a
more rational and reflective response in the U.S. and Israel than has been the
case to date. But I also hope they get the serious attention of people in the
Arab-Islamic world, because there is also a wake-up call for us in this poll:
Eight of the top 14 countries that Europeans perceived as threats to world
peace were from the Arab-Islamic world."
MOROCCO: "Opinion Poll
Is A Blow To Washington And Its Protectorate Israel"
Pro-government Arabic-language Al Alam noted (11/5): "Most Europeans consider Israel a danger
to world peace and oppose war in Iraq."
"According To A European Commission Opinion Poll"
Independent, Arabic-language Al Ahdath Al Maghrebiya opined
(11/5): "The U.S. and Israel are
among countries which constitute a danger to security and peace in the
The English-language semi-independent Gulf
Times declared (11/5):
"The U.S...orchestrated the overthrow of the Taliban...for reasons
that were at least understandable, and then proceeded--egged on by [Sharon]--to
fabricate a pretext for attacking...Iraq....
Any serious analysis of the [EU] voters' reasoning might conclude that
they were too generous to Israel, putting it only six percentage points ahead
of the next greatest threat."
"The U.S. Image In The World"
Mohamed Khair al-Jamali stated in government-owned Al-Thawra
(11/6): "In the European opinion
poll, America is no longer a great country, but rather a country which poses a
threat to world peace after the exposure of the hegemonistic nature of its
policy and failure of the political goals of its war on Iraq.... The US has shifted from being a center of
democracy to a source of evil and danger threatening democratic freedoms,
sovereign states and international law....
The images of the US and Israel have started to shake due to their
security, military and economic impasses incurred by their military losses in
war. It will be impossible for the US occupation to control security in Iraq,
and for Israeli occupation to control security in Palestine."
"Europeans Stated It Openly"
Ahmad Dawa declared in government-owned Al-Thawra
(11/5): "The majority of Europeans
have said their word: 'Israel is the most dangerous for world peace.' They
stated this fact without intimidation or fear of being accused of being
anti-Semitic.... What is important in
this opinion poll is not only the big shift in the European people's position
towards Israel, but in how Arabs can invest this shift in favor of exposing
Israel's aggressive intentions towards the region.... This shift has not happened overnight; rather
it was an accumulation over years. Arabs should realize this fact and should
deal carefully with Israeli ideas so as not to give Israel the chance to market
itself in the international arena as a peaceful entity as it used to do."
"What If America Follow Europe?"
Khaled al-Ashhab opined in government-owned Al-Thawra
(11/5): "For the first time in
fifty years, the majority of Europeans found Israel to be most dangerous for
world peace.... 86 percent of the
Europeans who participated in the poll believed that there is a real need for
cultural and civilization exchanges with Arab countries. The important thing is that there is a new
European readiness to intermingle with Arab culture; there is also an implicit
conviction that it is a culture of dialogue and interaction, and not a culture
of terrorism as some people portray it. What is also important is that Arabs
today should respond to the implicit invitation for dialogue as the opinion
poll showed. Arabs should correct their image, which has been distorted by the
Zionists. This opinion poll reflects a
free public opinion, which plays an effective and impressive role in shaping
the political positions of its government... We have to make use of it by
initiating dialogue and cooperation with the Europeans who have finally grasped
the truth and have become inclined towards it!"
"EU Poll Reveals No Surprises"
The English-language pro-government Gulf News
noted (11/5): "An EU poll claims
that nearly 60 per cent of Europeans consider Israel the greatest threat to
peace in the world. An Israeli
spokesperson stated...the EU had engaged in 'rampant brainwashing' in forming
public opinion against the state. But
that knee-jerk response from Israel is more indicative of a cornered person
wildly swinging at anything in defence.
For surely, so many Europeans cannot be deceived about Israel? If such a
survey was taken, say, in Asia (excluding the Middle East) then the likely
result would be very similar. The reason is, the biggest threats to global
peace lie in the Middle East and, more specifically, in the confrontation
between Israel and Palestine. All Arabs
and Muslims see the long-running battle as an obstacle to normal living not
only in the region, but also wherever Arabs and Muslims reside, since they tend
to get tarnished with the same brush as used by westerners. With much of the media in the West, including
Europe, being controlled by Israelis or those sympathetic to their cause, it is
ironic that Israel should now charge that 'those responsible for forming public
opinion'--that is, the media--should be to blame for giving the Israelis such
bad press. What the Israeli government seems not to understand is that the
media, despite internal influence, cannot forever hide the truth of what is
going on in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Which is why so many independent
opinions have arrived at the conclusion that it is not all the fault of the
Palestinians. In fact, a more careful
analysis of events on the ground usually has people becoming more empathetic to
the plight of Palestinians, and condemning Israeli atrocities."
"Paralyzed And Blind"
Pan-Arab Al-Khaleej opined (11/5): "Western democracy is...sometimes
paralyzed and blind when it comes to the Zionist entity and its babysitter, the
U.S., because it fears the sword of 'anti-Semitism'.... Europeans...are afraid of making Israel and
the U.S. angry."
INDONESIA: “Why Israel Is A
Threat To World Peace”
Leading independent Kompas commented
(11/4): "The result of a poll in
Europe on world peace was stunning. More
than 60 percent of the respondents said that Israel was the biggest threat to
world peace compared to the U.S., Iran, Iraq, North Korea or Afghanistan. Undoubtedly, Israel is regarded as the main
barrier to a solution in the Middle East conflict. So long as the rights of the
Palestinians to establish their own country are obstructed, the conflict will
continue, which brings about negative complications to world peace.... No matter the result of the poll, it is very
sensitive. It is not surprising that the
European Commission has been strongly criticized by the Jewish communities for
fear that it will revive anti-Semitic sentiment in Europe.”
"The Europe Barometer"
The center-right English-language national Nation
opined (11/5): "The findings of a
EU opinion poll on how Europeans view various countries as hazards to world
peace should cost Tel Aviv and its blind supporter, the U.S. administration a
few sleepless nights.... It is a wake-up
call for Washington that Europeans consider the US a bigger threat to world
peace than Syria and Iraq though Washington and its most loyal European ally,
Britain have been crying hoarse about their dangerous disposition. Another finding that shows that European
thinking is closer to that of the Muslim world is that it considers the
U.S.-led war on Iraq unnecessary.
However there is no consolation for Pakistan here either. The opinion poll notes that 48 percent
Europeans consider Pakistan a threat to world peace while only 22 percent feel
the same about India. One can conclude
from these statistics that Kashmir as a nuclear flashpoint may account for half
the apprehensions about Pakistan; the rest is linked to perceptions about our
association with terrorism in Afghanistan and reports that Pakistan remains a
haven for Al-Qaeda operatives. Food for
"Don't Blame Israel For World Instability"
The nationalist Ottawa Citizen editorialized (11/5): "The U.S. and Israel are the main
enemies of militant Islam--the 'great Satan' and 'little Satan,' as Islamists
call them. For European pacifists, who
believe that if only Israel and the U.S. would disappear then radical Islam
would be appeased, both countries do, in a perverted sense, threaten world
stability. But in truth, if the U.S. and
Israel disappeared today, tomorrow's suicide bombers would target France,
Denmark and wherever else they detected pluralism and modernity, including
Canada. Europeans--and the rest of the
world--should understand that the greatest threat to world stability isn't
Israel or the United States, but those who would destroy them."