TORONTO (Sep. 11)
Most Canadians are indifferent or neutral in the Arab-Israeli Middle East conflict according to the results of a national poll released by the Canadian Institute of Public Opinion (Gallup Poll).
The poll showed however, that 26 percent of Canadians sided with Israel and nine percent with the Arabs. In a similar poll taken in 1958, 14 percent sided with Israel and five percent with the Arabs. But 65 percent of Canadians polled now indicated no preference for either side, compared to 81 percent 11 years ago.
The chief reason given by Canadians for siding with Israel was that the Jews “have been kicked around for years, persecuted and threatened with extinction.” The main motivation of Arab sympathizers was that Israel was created out of an Arab country and it was only natural that the Arabs should fight back. Broken down by ethnic groups, 32 percent of English-speaking Canadians are pro-Israel compared to 17 percent of French Canadians.
Most of the indifferent group claimed they were “not interested” and did not follow the subject. Others said both sides were at fault and neither was trying to settle the dispute, while some maintained that Canadians should “mind their own business.” Pro-Israelis cited “warm feelings” toward Jews and admiration for the way the Israelis have developed their homeland. Pro-Arabs said Jews were “too aggressive” and “take advantage.”