In an absolutely incredible range of negative results, the British Telegraph surveyed Britons and learned that:

Israel comes top of the list of countries where people would least like to live and would least like to take a holiday.

It is also the country thought least deserving of international respect. Despite being the only fully democratic state in the Middle East, it is also thought to be among the world’s “least democratic countries”.

Of the 12 criteria set out in YouGov’s check-list, Israel comes out bottom in four cases and among the bottom five in a total of eight. Only Russia has a worse overall score.

I’m sorry, but this is ridiculous. Are the British really this far gone?

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  • Also, would somebody explain why they have placed the period outside the quotation marks?

  • Do they mean Israel is less democratic than, say, North Korea?
    And how do they know Israel is the least beautiful country if they won’t bother to visit?

  • I blogged on the same thing and have a link to the URL of the results. What would you expect when their only exposure to Israel is the BBC?


  • I have also blogged about the same thing and the results are simply not as shocking as everyone thinks. If you actually look at the questions, they are loaded against Israel. The respondents were asked to rank countries according to various criteria. They were given a choice of 23 countries, many of which were british commonwealth countries and few of which were war zones. The simplistic format also allows for no nuances — as I explain here.

  • Well, it’s easy to just say the respondents were ignorant with respect to Israel. But more importantly, this ought to raise some eyebrows amongst whoever the people are who are in charge of Israel’s public image. They have failed miserably. Israel goes off and sends humanitarian aid all over the place whenever natural disasters strike, Israel has produced amazing products in the realm of medicine, high tech and biotechnology. The country itself is relatively safe and exceptionally beautiful – I’d vacation in Israel a lot sooner than I would in cold, damp UK with its tasteless food and faded glory. Why do we not trumpet these facts every day? The part about Israel being cool I mean, not the part about England, you know, sucking.

  • the people are who are in charge of Israel’s public image … have failed miserably.

    That’s such an easy accusation to throw out, and not quite fair.

    Israel’s public image sucks primarily because we rarely have a single position to present, rather several conflicting ones being sent out at the same time. Look at ‘America’ (not that we need a reason to dislike it 🙂 America goes to war and the entire government gets behind Bush and presents the same policy or shuts up, or leaves. In Israel, besides the fact that the government rarely has a direction, every minister and member of parliament (even the opposition) is given equal airtime for idiotic sound bites like ‘occupation’ ‘grandmother and Nazis’ ‘religious extremists’ etc… And, as stated earlier, the BBC and ITN news identify with and pick up the leftist anti-zionist/Jewish stuff where as in America, Lyndon Larouche and Ralph Nader to not get the same exposure/credibility.

    It doesn’t matter how many gazillions of shekels were spent, along comes Sharon and says ‘end the occupation’ and wham, you you know all that moeny spent to say that ‘this land is our land’ went up in smoke.

  • I am sadly not surprised at all. After two years living in Oxford, it was clear that our little Jewish state, and Jews in general, are not too popular. The English are still pissed about William of Norwich (1166 ), failed Crusades, Hugh of Lincoln (1255), The Jews being allow back in England , the Jew Bill 1753, great Jewish boxers and bankers. I would like to contrast this with Poland, where I lived for five years. Poles love Israel, have eight chapters of the Israel-Polish Friendship league, have dozens of books about Israel as best sellers, and regularly visit there! It is one of the most pro-Israel countries I have ever visited or lived in. How’s that old chap?

  • “Also, would somebody explain why they have placed the period outside the quotation marks?”

    TM–I once read somewhere on the Internet that the British place punctuation outside quotation marks (but inside parentheses). I couldn’t find it again, but I did find this…

    Place the quotation mark after the full stop if your quotation ends there: The consultant said: ‘the child walked into my consultation room and sat down.’ Place the quotation mark before the full stop when quoting less than a sentence: The cello had been ‘her whole life’.
    from The Royal College of Surgeons of England: College Style Guide

    The quote here is less than a sentence.
    (Sorry, I get too involved when it comes to grammar…)

  • My father says he has never experienced antisemitism like he did when he lived in London in the early 70s. Friends of mine who have lived there more recently have had a similar experience.

    I suspect that the Guardian isn’t so much influencing public opinion as expressing opinions that mesh with people who buy newspapers in England.

    Aren’t we lucky that the Brits hate everyone else with a passion too (including Arabs)!

  • You DO have a point there Josh. Two Jews, three opinions – how do you spin that? But still, many very valid criticisms have been made of Israel’s “Hasbarah” efforts – I think we still have room for improvement.

  • “I’m sorry, but this is ridiculous. Are the British really this far gone?”
    Not sure…but Mobius clearly seems to be heading in that direction.

  • TM — The lonely little period is also AP style when a quote appears inside a sentence. Basically, you’re finishing the sentence that began before the quote did.

    If the quote stands alone, the period is placed inside the quote marks.

    And, oh yeah, the Brits are pigs. I had my own bad experiences with them as a student in London in the ’80s. Do they hate Jews more than Indians, Pakistanis, Arabs, Americans, Argentinians and the Irish? Hard to say, really. Depends on who’s upstaging them this week.

  • I just realized,
    can someone tell me what other country in the world has ‘hasbara’? (I don’t count countries with ‘ministers of information’)

  • I beg to differ (JRL) …the Brits love the Arabs. They write novels, fantasize and colonize Arab lands because they love the “exotic” and “untamed savage nature” Arabs represent. British women sleep with and marry Arab men looking for a way out of their uptight grey-pinstriped future. British men take vacations where they can pretend to be Laurence of Arabia, having wild adventures in the desert and return home to pristine England renewed. In all this having the hotz for the dark wild Mediterranean tribes, the Jews were somehow left out, except for Shylocks daughter, of course.

  • not sure why this is surpirsing to anyone. all canadians must have seen the recent poll results from canada which in my opinion are far worse than anything in that british poll:

    The polls found an overwhelming majority of 89 per cent “believe that both Israel and the Palestinians equally share responsibility for ongoing violence” in the conflict. ….

    “one of the most surprising findings of the research was that more than one-third of Canadians (36 per cent) believe that Israel has links to terrorist organizations” …

    “Less than half of Canadians surveyed (42 per cent) said that Israel is a democratic state. Similarly, a large majority of Canadians do not believe that Israel has freedom of speech or freedom of religion” …

    “Only 11 per cent said that the media is biased against Israel. More significantly, one-third of Canadians believe that the media is being unfair to the Palestinians” ….

    anyone who follows the news from MSM (especially the news wire services), public broadcasting (CBC, BBC, NPR) or the UN should not be shocked.

    the real question is: what’s being done to counter this? every year jewish groups spend more money than the previous year. and every year the poll numbers on israel look worse. i put in my two cents here.

  • I blogged on the same things, and I am APPALED

    I even suggested a suitable revenge tactic.

    (For those new to me, and mine, the tounge is firmly in cheek)

  • The real question here is not why this is so, but what are we going to do about it.

  • Just put me in charge of hasbarah…. you’ll see some pretty dramatic changes. Can’t promise they’ll be good changes but I do promise I’ll have a great time using my budget to hire comely assistants and go on brain storming sessions in inspiring settings like, uh… Vegas and Ibiza.

  • I also like how they think that the US is the most dangerous, even though the murder rate in South Africa is 15 times higher than in the US (and I’m guessing petty crimes follow a similar trend). Israel on the other hand has a homicide rate half that of the US. . . .

  • Well, ladies and gentlemen, I believe that only when all/ a big majority of the people on the planet accept that G-d is One (whether they become Jewish, Sikh, Moslem, or Unitarian or something else),
    then and only then will anti-Judaism disappear.

  • Well, they’d agree with us on basic fundamental belief- it’s very
    hard to dislike someone when you agree with them on what is important in the universe.

  • I’ll have a great time using my budget to hire comely assistants and go on brain storming sessions in inspiring settings like, uh… Vegas and Ibiza.

    you hit the problem SQUARELY on the mark. The first exotic setting you should have thought of was Eilat and the Dead Sea.

    Screw hasbara to the world, first we have to do it internally. This happens in our lives every single day! For ex: Haredi/Ultra-orthodox can generate dozens of Yad Sarahs and Zakas, but then comes along some Chaim Yankel throwing rocks and who the hell remembers that Haredim are good people, right?

    Hasbara starts at home. When we get that right, we can complain about the gentile not ‘getting the message’.

  • Josh – our offices would be in Eilat. Vegas and Ibiza would just be locations for fact finding missions. But once again, great point about “internal” hasbarah – the Chaim Yankel / Zaka lesson is one many of us can learn. For the clueless – Chaim Yankel is the idiot Haredi/Ultra Orthodox dude who spit on T_M’s wife, Zaka is a group of Haredi guys that retrieve every little bit of flesh and bone after asuicidebombing so as to assure proper burial. You may visit them at their new Web site (where you can leavea donation – they’ve even assisted in flood relief) at

  • But Dave–

    Muslims believe that God is one, and lots of them hate us.
    Many, many Jews believe that God is one and there’s an insane amount of sinat chinam amongst us.

    You make an intersting point, but I don’t think that’s the solution.

  • Dina, I agree with you except that the problem with the Moslems is political, it’s not theological. Because it’s political, it can eventually be resolved. However, when it’s a theological disagreement, it will be extremely more difficult to solve. Who would you rather meet for lunch, a Moslem or a evangelist Christian or a Messianic “Jew”?

  • Actually, it’s not that simple.

    Acording to the Koran, other religions, like Christianity and (surprise!) Judaism are “adding gods to God.”
    This accusation comes from their belief that the many different names we use for God are all refering to different gods, or that the way we use different names to represent different aspects (Adonei, Elokim…) is a way of “adding gods to God.”
    (If I misquoted, or misunderstood, I apologize to all Muslims–I learned this through a discussion with a friend who studied the Koran, not from the primary source.)

    In response to your question, which was probably theoretical, I would most rather have lunch with a “Messianic Jew” because if you’re a Jew–you’re a Jew. I am not one to judge who is serving God the “proper” way because I am an imperfect human–I am still on my own quest to figure out which way is best for myself. I don’t agree with Jews for Jesus, but I don’t agree with lots of my friends and I still respect them.

    I don’t think that the way to solve the world is through agreement on theological issues. I think the way for us to live in harmony and agreement is by respecting others (among other things).

  • Dina, I recently saw a talk show on French TV, featuring an interview with a Muslim author, Malek Shebel, who had written
    a book called “The 99 Names of God”. So I wonder how they square that with what you were saying.
    I would rather have lunch with a Muslim than a Messianic “Jew”,
    since a Messianic “Jew” has accepted Jesus Christ as the Messiah, and also the divinity of Jesus, which is contrary to Judaism, so a Messianic “Jew” is a Christian, which is perfectly fine, but he or she is no longer Jewish. All the Yiddish culture and Hebrew words in their “synagogues” won’t change anything.
    I’ll throw you another loop. When I was a kid, I believed in the Jewish concept of Meshiach. I no longer do. It is for this reason- if there is a Meshiach, will this person have quasi-divine powers? If so, that is totally contrary to Judaism. Yet some of the legends surrounding the Meshiach would suggest some sort of supernatural power or something about the Meshiach. At the very least some sort of “direct communication” between God and this person- again totally contrary to mainstream Judaism.
    Furthermore, I submit to you that the overwhelming majority of Jews do not “de facto” believe in the Meshiach. The reason is that every guy through history who has said he was the Meshiach has been rejected by the vast majority of Jews. So “de facto” we do not believe in the Meshiach. The whole concept of the Meshiach was developed during one of the periods of our oppression, where people had insufficient faith in God to save them, and needed some sort of human messenger/ helper. As such it indicates a lack of “perfect faith”.

  • *Ahem* The majority of “messianic” Jews, over 80% have no Jewish heritage whatsoever.

    Aside from that, halachicly a Jew who converts to another religion is seen to have turned his/her back on both HaShem and the Jewish nation until he/she repents and returns to Judaism.

  • My first question is–how can you determine who is a Jew and who isnt’? you can certainly figure who believes in Judaism, but you don’treally know who is a better Jew than others. Of course, if a Jews murders or steals or spreads hatred through lashon hora, I’d probably judge them. But by nature they are no less a Jew than you. You really shouldn’t judge who is better than others. But that’s just my opinion…

    And here again, I disagree with you. We apparently have very different ideas of what Mashiach is. I hear what you say–allow me to point out my side.

    I’ve been trying to figure out what this whole Mashiach thing is, too. Here’s the poing I’m at: Many mephorshim argue over what the phrase “tzelem Elokim” at the beginning of Beresheit means. The Nefesh HaChaim give this great commentary that tzelem Elokim is the ability to create and destroy. God can create and destroy. When God created man, God made man “b’tzelem Elokim,” in God’s image. There isn’t a single other creature in the world with the ability to affect change like people can.

    Adam and Chava were naked in Gan Edan and unashamed. Then they were kicked out and noticed their nakedness. That is one example of an act of spirituality making physical change. They sinned and subsequently lost their ability to see both spirituality and physicality equally and were only able to see something physical. So, they were embarressed.

    When Jews live in Eretz Yisrael and don’t observe shmitta, the land will kick them out. That too, is an example of something spiritual changing the physical.

    When you do a good deed, you make this world a better place. I know that sounds awfully flakey, but think about it. Mitzvah gorerret Mitzvah–it’s all the same concept. What you do actually changes the world.

    Now, with that covered, to Mashiach. In high school we learned the story (I don’t remember where it is, but it’s somewhere in Gemara) that there was a student of someone (sorry–awful memory here) who wanted to know who mashiach was. He was told to travel to Rome and where he’d find this man who was mashiach. He travelled and travelled and when he got to where he was told, the man he saw was a beggar sitting in the streets of Rome covered in rags. Strange story. Here’s what I took from it: anyone can be Mashiach. There are some people who are more inclined to becoming Mashiach, but everyone has the potential to become Mashiach.

    In Judaism there’s no need to proselytize because there’s no need. We don’t believe that Jews are right and everyone else is wrong. We believe that everyone has a role. The role of the Jews? The bring the era of Mashiach upon the world. How do we do this and more importantly–what the hell does that mean?

    If we were each created with tzelem Elokim, and we do all have the ability to change this world, that is what we must do. We each have to work on our middot so that we can become righteous, respectful, and downright–good–people. That is our mission. When we change ourselves we change the fate of the world (teshuvah is a minor example of that–when you pray and work on yourself, you change who you are and the fate doled out to you on Rosh HaShana or whenever no longer applies to you Dave Marshall, and you the New Dave Marshall deserve a different fate). We, as Jews, need to focus on bettering ourselves and the world around us–tikkun olam–so that we can change the world into the way it will be in the days of Mashiach. Mashiach will probably just be the person who leads us into this. Or Mashiach will be the person who, well, I don’t know. But I’m still trying to figure it out. 🙂

  • Thanks Dvorah!

    Now I’m curious to ask my friend Friedman if he can really trace his heritage back to Jews or if he just considers himself a “Jew for Jesus” just for fun…

  • Dina, Jesus is more than a messiah to Christians. He is a god, and the son of god (apparently only to some). At its root, that is the primary rejection of “Messianic Jews.” They are Christians who want to keep certain Jewish traditions, but they are not Jewish. Jews believe in one god. Also, as far as my understanding of Jewish messianism, if Jesus was our messiah, the world as we know it would be quite different.

    Now here comes CK to lecture me about Bronfman and real Jews…

  • TM,

    Not all Christian sects see JC as a god. There are really quite divergent views there before even tackling the whole trinity thing.

    As for “Messianic” Judaism, a little bit of research as to the origins of this movement reveals a lot. Mainly, it came about due to the failure of traditional methods various church groups used to gain converts amongst Jews. This movement theoretically allows a Jew to convert to Christianity without admitting they are actually converting. Most “Messianics” of Jewish decent will adamantly tell you they are 100% Jewish, even “completed Jews” all the while preaching JC to you. It’s scary and sad how these groups work.

  • Dvorah, I agree with you and I disagree with you.
    I disagree with you in that my understanding is that all Christian sects except the Unitarians believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ.
    I agree with you about the Messianic “Jews”. The Christian missionary movements have finally realized that the way to get to Jews is to get to them through Jewish culture, because as they see it, most Jews do not have any deep theological beliefs, so it should be pretty easy. That’s why they have made some inroads, because we Jews, have been kicked in the butt so often over the centuries
    , that we have heavily favoured ritual over belief, and like democrats in the Stalinist period of the Soviet Union, we have largely forgotten what we believe. I think that there is an equally important place for both mitzvot and beliefs, but quite frankly someone who accepts Jesus as the Messiah and a Deity, can lay tefillin every day, say Minha and Arvit and keep strictly kosher and strict Shabbat, their denial of God’s Unity still nullifies their Judaism.

  • Dave,

    Unitarians, JW’s, Christian Scientists are examples of sects that deny the divinity of JC.

    (Sleep deprivation makes me pedantic… sorry)


  • Dave,

    I don’t think Jews for Jesus and the like are too successful in converting or reaching out to Jews who identify as Jews. They may be having some success with those who are so assimilated that it is meaningless whether they join them or not.

    Dvorah, even if they don’t see Jesus as divine, they do see him as a messiah.

  • I also want to just point out that the Rambam, in Mishne TOrah, writes…

    3. One should not entertain the notion that the King Mashiach must work miracles and wonders, bring about new phenomena within the world, resurrect the dead, or perform other similar deeds. This is [definitely] not true.

    [A proof can be brought from the fact that] that Rabbi Akiva, one of the greatest Sages of the Mishnah, was one of the supporters of King Ben Koziva, and would describe him as the King Mashiach. He and all the Sages of his generation considered him to be the King Mashiach until he was killed because of [his] sins. Once he was killed, they realized that he was not [the Mashiach]. The Sages did not ask him for any signs or wonders.

    [Rather,] this is the main thrust of the matter: This Torah, with its statutes and laws, is everlasting. We may neither add to them nor detract from them.

    Shabbat Shalom!

  • TM, the point being made is that not ALL sects see JC as their god. Whether they see him as a messiah is beside that point…

    As for groups like J4J, they’ve been rather successful at targetting groups like Russian Jewish immigrants who don’t know much about Judaism to begin with. They also target the elderly, teens, and even children (there was a pretty big scandal in Texas a yr or 2 ago). But yes, on the bright side, even though they spend millions of dollars a year in their efforts, they get very little return.

    OTOH, the concept of B’nai Noach is becoming so popular amongst Christians that some churches have begun actively working against the movement. 😀

  • Wonderful! So they have some funds going out to convert us and some funds going out to convert confused Christians. 😆

    Dina, I don’t get it. What’s a messiah good for if nothing changes when they’re around?

  • TM, some funds is $25 million+/year just from j4j alone.

    Imagine if they were to put that money to actual good use. What a waste 😛

  • Wow! $25 million? I thought they got about $10 million. Or maybe I’m thinking of the Southern Baptists.

  • Making Levensraum in the Middle East

    I use the word lebensraum with purpose. For those unfamiliar with the term, it is a German word that literally translates to “living space” or “room to live,” and was part of the program of Nazi Germany. Indeed, it was one Hitler’s reasons for his war on much of the territory to Germany’s east. However, its origins go deeper than Hitler’s program for a thousand year reich. In fact, the desire for more lebensraum for the Germanic people was part of the reasoning behind the drive for the unification of the German provinces in the late 1800s. As the idea progressed, it became a codeword for German colonialism-an area where Germany lagged behind its European competitors-France, England, Spain. After the German defeat in World War I, the Nazi movement and Hitler o not only shifted the meaning of the word away from the colonization of non-European lands; he also added an element of racism (beyond that implicit in the idea of a German nation) to its definition. In his book, Mein Kampf, Hitler argued that Russia and the eastern lands were subservient to the Jewish people and should therefore be conquered by the German nation to create a unity between the German people and land that he believed should be German. After all, went his argument, just as it was “Impossible for the Russian by himself to shake off the yoke of the Jew by his own resources, it is equally impossible for the Jew to maintain the mighty empire forever.”(Mein Kampf) So, to save Russia and the world from the Jews and make room for the German nation as he and many Germans saw it, Hitler began his war on Europe.

  • You are a whore.

    I use the word whore with purpose. For those unfamiliar with the term, it is an English word coming from an Indo-European root meaning “to desire,” and it literally means “a prostitute,” although it has an alternate meaning of “people who quote extensively from laughably biased Counterpunch articles with inapplicable metaphors, because they hate the Jewish state.”