Israelis have the most negative view of the United Nations by a large margin among countries polled in a new survey.
The poll by the Pew Research Center published Monday, as the UN General Assembly convenes in New York, showed 65 percent of Israelis view the UN negatively — a number considerably higher than in any of the other 31 nations surveyed. Only 31% view the world body in a positive light.
The Israeli part of the survey was conducted among 974 adults with a margin of error of 4.2%.
Second in unfavorable views was Russia, with 43% holding negative opinions and 34% holding positive opinions; next was Tunisia, 40% to 33%; then Greece with 36% negative, though positivity won out in that country with 48%.
The Israeli view was an outlier in Pew’s spring 2019 Global Attitudes Survey. The poll, which included 34,904 respondents across 32 countries and was conducted between May and August, found a median of 61% have a positive view of the UN, while a median of 26% have a negative view.
The highest ratings came from the Philippines (86% positive), South Korea (82%), Sweden (80%) and Poland (78%).
In the US 59% viewed the organization positively and 33% negatively. Pew noted that Democrats have a far rosier outlook than Republicans, with 77% of the former and only 36% of the latter stating a positive stance. The partisan divide between the parties has grown steadily in recent decades, and the current Republican favorability rating is the lowest since Pew began conducting surveys in 1990 (when it was at 68%).
Israeli leadership has long complained of systemic anti-Israeli bias across UN institutions, and that view appears to have been adopted by the general public.
A particular cause of ire for Israel is the UN Human Rights Council and its so-called Agenda Item 7, a fixture on the council’s schedule exclusively devoted to resolutions condemning Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.
Israel is the only country with a dedicated agenda item.
Last year the US quit the council, citing chronic bias against the Jewish state.
And this year Israel and the US left the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), with Jerusalem accusing it of having been “corrupted and manipulated by Israel’s enemies, and continually [singling out] the only Jewish state for condemnation.”
Israelis also hold a dim view of UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA. Israel and the US have long accused UNRWA of perpetuating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by extending refugee status to millions of descendants of Palestinians who fled or were forced out of homes in today’s Israel at the time of the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948, rather than limiting refugee status only to the original refugees as is the norm with most refugee populations worldwide.
In addition, the threat of prosecution for war crimes at the International Criminal Court in The Hague (which is independent from the UN but has close operating ties to it) has long loomed over Israel and its leaders, for various alleged atrocities during the many years of conflict with the Palestinians.
Earlier this month the new US envoy to the UN Kelly Craft vowed to continue to push for reform at the world body and to fight against “unrelenting bias and hostility in UN venues.”