Britain – “colonial angst”?

HT: Judeosphere – ‘So What’s Up With Britain?‘.

The recent Pew Global Attitudes survey finds France and Germany have a markedly more sympathetic attitude towards Israel in its conflict with Palestinians than in 2002 when similar research was carried out:

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%).

An Israel Project European Poll found a significant drop in support for Palestinians which principal investigator Stan Greenberg attributes to a shift away from an anti-colonialist belief “that Europe could cancel out its own colonial history by taking the ‘right’ side by supporting the Palestinians”:

Greenberg believes the change was caused by a paradigm shift of the frame through which the French view the Israeli-Palestinian conflict … The shift has occurred because today the Europeans are focused on radical Islam and its impact on them,” he said. “The Europeans are now asking themselves ‘who is the moderate in this conflict, and who is the extremist?'” France, with the largest Muslim population in Europe – the vast majority of whom are Arab Muslims – is the place where this view has been pushed into greatest focus. The election of the extremist terror group, Hamas, as the leader of the Palestinians has reinforced the perception among the French.

Judeosphere wonders:

Why has there been such a dramatic shift in public opinion in France and Germany, but not in Britain? Is anti-zionist sentiment more entrenched in British institutions (academia, trade unions, the media) than in France and Germany? Does Britain’s historic connection to Israel-Palestine make it harder for it to “get over” its colonial angst? Any theories?

A commenter attributed it more to “French and Germans’ growing consternation with its Muslim populations” which the British doesn’t have. France’s Muslim population comprises 10% of the whole and has experienced recent unrest whereas Britain’s is tiny, less excluded and with more opportunities for political, religious and cultural expression – it may be that a view of Muslims as a threat is a requirement for Greenberg’s paradigm shift from a concern with anti-colonialism to a concern with extremism, and in turn a rejection of Hamas, Hizballah etc. Concerning terrorism in Britain, the commenter also observes that there might be a certain amount of resignation in Britain because of its role in Iraq whereas “France and Germany took a pass”.

Any more? – comment on the Judeosphere post.


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