Several weeks ago, a coalition comprised of Canadians for Justice and Peace, Independent Jewish Voices Canada, Murray Dobbin and yours truly commissioned a poll from EKOS Research Associates regarding Canadians’ attitudes toward Israel and Canadian government policy toward Israel/Palestine.
We came together to sponsor this poll because we wanted to determine whether there was broad public support for the Canadian Government’s unqualified and long-standing support for the Government of Israel. The poll results are in. The poll found that there is, in fact, a dramatic disconnect between Canadian public opinion and the Canadian Government’s unqualified support of Israel.
The key findings of our EKOS survey are set forth below. The Full Report on the poll results can be seen here: https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/cjpme/pages/2537/attachments/original/1487216531/EKOS_Poll_Results_Report_-_2017-02-16-Final.pdf?1487216531.
Also, The Toronto Star has just published an article by Linda McQuaig which discusses our survey: https://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2017/02/16/israeli-stance-hinders-trudeaus-chances-of-getting-seat-on-un-security-council.html.
It is time for Canada’s political establishment to confront the reality that unqualified support for the State of Israel cannot be reconciled with Canadian public opinion.
KEY POLL RESULTS
Perception of the Israeli government: Of those who had an opinion, far more Canadians had a negative (46%) than a positive (28%) opinion of the Israeli government.
Political affiliation: Liberal, NDP, Green, and Bloc supporters were far more likely to have a negative (ranging from 55% to 78%) opinion of the Israeli government than a positive one (ranging from 5% to 22%). Conversely, those who support the Conservative Party were far more likely to hold a positive (58%) than a negative (21%) opinion of the Israeli government.
Age: Younger Canadians (under 35 years old) (51%) tended to hold a negative view of the Israeli government, while those over 65 were most likely to have positive views of the Israeli government (37%).
Education level: Those with high school or less education had the most positive view of the Israeli government (33%), while those with Bachelors or Post-graduate degrees had the most negative view of the Israeli government (60% and 57%, respectively).
Perception of Canadian government bias: Among those with an opinion, far more Canadians believe that the Canadian government is pro-Israel (61%) than pro-Palestinian (16%). Among Liberal, NDP, Greens, and Bloc respondents, far more (ranging from 70% to 77%) believe the Canadian government is pro-Israel. But among Conservatives, only 42% believe the government is pro-Israel.
Perception of Canadian media bias: Among those with an opinion, a plurality of Canadians view the media as neither pro-Israel nor pro-Palestinian (45%). More Liberal, NDP, Bloc, and Green respondents tended to view the media as pro-Israel (ranging from 36% to 43%) versus pro-Palestinian (ranging from 8 to 11%). More Conservatives, by contrast, tended to view the media as pro-Palestinian (44%) versus pro-Israel (23%).
Among those with an opinion, almost all (91%) reject the view that criticism of Israeli government policy is necessarily anti-Semitic.
A major conclusion of this study is that the Liberal, NDP and Bloc Québécois party platforms on the question of Israel/Palestine do not accord with the views of their respective constituencies. In Canada, political party elites act as if a vigorous defence of Palestinians rights is political suicide. The results of this survey strongly suggest that the opposite is true, that demanding Israel’s respect for Palestinian rights will attract support from centrist and left-leaning voters. Canada’s political parties would be well-advised to revise their political platforms in relation to Israel/Palestine to better reflect their constituents’ views. Furthermore, given these survey results, members of these parties should more confidently call for policies that are more respectful of Palestinian rights.