PSC: New polling shows Palestine support goes beyond party politics

PSC/ London/

  • Support for Palestine is remarkably consistent across party lines – despite Corbyn & May’s differing views on subject. On the issue of reviewing trade with illegal settlements, the difference between Labour and Conservative voters was just 6%.
  • 43% of Brits thought the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) was reasonable – over 3x as many as those who thought it was unreasonable (13%).
  • Nearly half of the British public (45%) think the UK should review its trade and financial relationships with illegal Israeli settlements.

New YouGov polling on British public support for Palestine has shown a high level of support for the Palestinian cause – and a level of consensus that is remarkably consistent across party lines.

Participants were asked whether Britain should review financial and trade relationships with illegal Israeli settlements. There was little difference between Conservative voters agreeing (44%) and Labour voters agreeing (52%), suggesting a strong cross-party consensus on the issue. Lib Dem voters were the most likely to agree the review should happen at 56%.

Participants were also asked whether they thought the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions issued in 2005 was reasonable. A majority of Labour (51%) and Lib Dem voters (54%) thought BDS was reasonable. A total of 40% of Conservative voters also found BDS reasonable – underscoring a divergence between the Conservative leadership and party supporters.

The data fundamentally undermines Theresa May’s previous claim that “The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement is wrong, it is unacceptable, and this party and this government will have no truck with those who subscribe to it”. In fact, 40% of potential Tory voters disagree with her.

In other new data,

–        Two times as many Brits have sympathy for Palestinians (20%) rather than with Israelis (10%) in current Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The sympathies of 18-24 year olds and 25-49 year olds were four to five times more likely to lie with the Palestinians (20%) than with the Israelis (5% and 4% respectively).

–        Almost a third of Brits (29%) said the UK should place a ban on imported settlement goods.

Ben Jamal, Director of the PSC said:

“This poll demonstrates the growing support for the campaign for justice for the Palestinian people. This support is cross party and the polling suggests increasing levels of support amongst younger generations.  Despite Theresa May’s protestations, the results show significant numbers of Conservative voters see Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions as a reasonable response to Israel’s policies of oppression. There is no excuse not to call for a review of trade with illegal settlements now that polls show there is huge popular support for this measure.”