Unpopularity contest: Iran first, Israel second


Israel was second only to Iran in a survey of the world’s most unpopular nations.

A BBC World Service annual survey of views on various countries found that the highest number of respondents, 54 percent, voiced negative views about Iran’s influence on global affairs, with Israel next at 52 percent.

Iran has been criticized greatly for its nuclear program and support of terrorism. Israel, in turn, has been lambasted for its crackdowns on the Palestinians and the 2006 war in Lebanon.

Pakistan was the third most poorly rated country in the poll published Wednesday.

International opinion about the United States appears to have improved, with 35 percent of respondents rating it positively as opposed to 31 percent last year.

The BBC quoted experts as saying the imminent departure of President Bush, whose war on terror has proven unpopular abroad and at home, may have affected views.

According to the survey, negative views on Israel have decreased slightly in Western Europe, South America, Turkey and even the United Arab Emirates. But there has been an increase among Americans with 39 percent, up from 33 percent, leaving them nearly divided on their views at 43 percent positive and 39 percent negative.

The poll of 17,457 respondents in 34 countries was conducted between October and January. No margin of error was given.


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