Next to North Korea, Israel is reported to be the country viewed least favorably in Britain. Alexander Joffe identifies four primary factors behind British hatred of Israel and of Jews more generally: the pro-Palestinian stance of the Labor party, anti-Zionist currents within the Church of England, the growing population of Muslims, who are “at the forefront of anti-Semitic agitation in Britain,” and (perhaps most importantly) lingering and contradictory feelings about the collapse of the British empire:
Losing the empire was bad enough, but losing Palestine to the Jews was a unique humiliation. . . . [Furthermore,] a wave of politically-correct guilt has swept over the British establishment. In [the resulting] revisionist view, the British empire, unlike any other empire over the preceding 5,000 years, was a singular source of evil in the world, and the impact in Palestine was uniquely so.
In this view, Britain’s contradictory promises to Arabs and Jews, alleged favoritism toward Zionism and repression of local Arabs, and the British role in maintaining an international system that has permitted Israel to exist, are deep wrongs yet to be righted. Little wonder that the BBC and British media focus relentlessly on Israeli wrongdoings, real and imagined, while glossing over those of its neighbors. In contrast, the British attitude toward Palestinians is marked by expressions of guilt and patronizing behavior.