BERLIN (JTA) — Fewer than half of all Germans believe that Iran poses the graver danger in the current tensions between Iran and Israel, a new poll has found.
According to the survey on the Infratest/Dimap website, 58 percent of Germans see Iran’s nuclear ambitions as an existential threat to Israel, and 48 percent see Iran as the greater threat of the two countries.
Twenty-two percent said the two countries are equally threatening, while 18 percent said that Israel was the more dangerous of the two. To the latter group belonged most supporters of the Left Party, which is the most critical of Israel among the mainstream parties. Supporters of the other mainstream parties pointed the finger at Iran.
One thousand citizens of voting age were interviewed April 17-18 for a survey that was carried out by the Infratest/Dimap polling firm for the Die Welt am Sonntag newspaper.
A European Commission flash survey in 2003 had found that most Europeans believed that Israel posed the biggest threat to world peace, with Iran next.
The latest results fly in the face of a recent controversial poetic essay by German Nobel Prize-winning author Guenther Grass, who raised a tempest by blaming Israel for the current tensions and criticizing the German government for its subsidized sale of submarines to the Jewish state.
This month’s survey found that Germans in general believe there is no taboo against criticizing Israel.
"Some suggest that one is not permitted to say certain things about Israel and the Jews in Germany," one survey question began. "Others say that In Germany, Israel and its policies can be criticized just as those of any other country. With which of these views do you agree?"
In response, 75 percent said Israeli policies were just as open to criticism as those of any other country. Again, the Left Party differed from the rest: only 46 percent believed that there is no taboo against criticism of Israel in Germany.
The Left Party has been severely criticized over its Israel policies in recent years. In May 2010, three Left Party parliamentarians were aboard the ill-fated Mavi Marmara flotilla boat that attempted to break Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza.