Israel, which has always ranked close to the bottom in the BBC survey, was the only one of the four for which negative views diminished – albeit by only two percentage points – in 2010, according to the annual BBC World Service Country Rating Poll released Monday.
More than 28,000 people were polled between December of 2010 and February of this year in a survey designed to gauge attitudes towards various countries worldwide.
Just 21% of those polled expressed a positive opinion of Israel, while 49% expressed a negative attitude towards the Jewish state. However dismal, the numbers are still an improvement from last year, when just 19% were pro-Israel.
Of the 17 countries included in the survey, only three were found to be less popular than Israel – Pakistan, North Korea, and Iran – with 17% and 16% of those polled supporting them, respectively. More than 55% of those polled expressed a negative attitude towards these states.
The countries in which the majority of residents showed a positive opinion of Israel were few. In the US, 43% supported Israel while 41% opposed the state, in Russia the ratio was 35% to 27%, in Ghana 32% to 27%, and in India 21% to 18%.
The other 23 countries polled revealed a vast majority of people opposing the Jewish state. China was the only country in which support for Israel grew – by 10% - but it remained at a ratio of 40% to 48%. In many Western countries – Britain, Canada, Australia, Spain, and Portugal – support was found to be waning.