Image of a protest against Israel’s actions in the Gaza strip outside the British parliament in London, UK
A new poll has found that support for Palestine is widespread across all major political parties in Britain. The poll by YouGov indicates that the difference between Labour and Conservative voters with regards to the Palestinian cause is very small. Despite major differences over key policies, Labour and Conservative voters hold very similar pro-Palestinian attitudes toward issues such as illegal settlements and the boycott divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign.
Participants in the poll were asked whether they thought the 2005 Palestinian call for BDS was reasonable; 43 per cent thought it was. That is more than three times the number who thought that it was unreasonable.
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This trend is seen across the three major political parties in Britain, with a majority of Labour voters (51 per cent) and Liberal Democrat voters (54 per cent) thinking that the campaign is reasonable. The figure for Conservative voters was 40 per cent, which highlights a divergence between the Conservative Party leadership and party supporters. The data undermines Tory leader Theresa May’s previous claim that, “The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement is wrong, it is unacceptable, and this party and this government will have no truck with those who subscribe to it.” In fact, 40 per cent of potential Tory voters disagree with her.
Participants were also asked whether Britain should review its financial and trade relationships with illegal Israeli settlements. Nearly half of the British public, 45 per cent, said yes, and the difference between Conservative and Labour voters on this point was marginal, standing at 44 per cent and 52 per cent respectively. This suggests once more that there is a strong cross-party consensus on the issue. At 56 per cent, Lib Dem voters were the most likely to agree that the review should take place.
“This poll demonstrates the growing support for the campaign for justice for the Palestinian people,” said Ben Jamal, Director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. “This support is cross-party and the polling suggests increasing levels of support amongst younger generations.” Despite Theresa May’s protestations, he pointed out, the results show significant numbers of Conservative voters see Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions as a reasonable response to Israel’s policies of oppression. “There is no excuse not to call for a review of trade with illegal settlements now that polls show there is huge popular support for this measure.”
In other new data there is a suggestion of greater sympathy for the Palestinians than there is for Israelis: twice as many Britons have sympathy for Palestinians (20 per cent) than with Israelis (10 per cent). The sympathies of 18-24 year olds and 25-49 year olds were four to five times more likely to lie with the Palestinians (20 per cent) than with the Israelis (5 and 4 per cent respectively).
(Source / 02.06.2017)