There has been a marked change in views of the Middle East conflict in both Germany and France. In both countries, increasing numbers sympathize with Israel; Germans now side with Israel over the Palestinians by about two-to-one (37%-18%) (PEW Center).Perhaps the biggest surprise is France, regarded by many Jews as Israel's most intractable foe on the continent. According to Shmuel Rosner of Ha'aretz, 38% of French respondents side with the Israelis, and 38% side with the Palestinians; the "tie" is a marked improvement over previous results. A different poll conducted by The Israel Project registered a drop in pro-Palestinian sentiment in France from 47% (in 2002) to 21% today.
In Britain, however Palestinians still draw 4% more support than Israel. Anti-Israel sentiment was strongest among Spanish respondents. Interestingly enough, PEW reports a similar decline in approval of the US:
Just 37% of the Spanish feel favorably toward Americans, down from 55% last year.It remains to be seen what effects if any these poll data will have on the reception accorded to Olmert's "convergence" plan in Europe - on which more to follow.
Also significant is that 77% of Turks, often perceived as America's allies in the Muslim world, now describe themselves as being opposed to America's war on terror (up from 56% in 2004). At the same time, the PEW Center notes that
Negative views of France have increased over the past year, especially in Muslim countries. In Turkey, 61% feel unfavorably toward France, up from 51% last year.These numbers from Turkey are probably a reflection of France's (relatively) bold stance on recognition of the Armenian genocide, and French legislators' attempts to outlaw its denial (see our earlier post on this).