Israel has been described as the top threat to world peace, ahead of North Korea, Afghanistan and Iran, by an unpublished European Commission poll of 7,500 Europeans.
The survey, conducted in October, of 500 people from each of the EU's member nations included a list of 15 countries with the question, 'tell me if in your opinion it presents or not a threat to peace in the world'. Israel was reportedly picked by 59 per cent of those interviewed.
The results appear to be a mark of the widespread disapproval in Europe of the tactics employed by the government of Ariel Sharon during the present intifada.
Israeli Ministers and spokesman have been at pains recently to insist that a definition of modern 'anti-semitism' should include criticism of the way the state of Israel chooses to protect itself, defining that criticism as an overt attack on Israel's survival.
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre, demanding that the EU be excluded from the Israel-Palestinian peace process and accusing Europe of suffering the worst outbreak of 'anti-semitism' since World War Two.
'This poll is an indication that Europeans have bought in, "hook, line and sinker", to the vilification and demonisation campaign directed against the state of Israel and her supporters by European leaders and media,' said Rabbi Marvin Hier, the Wiesenthal Centre's founder.
'This shocking result that Israel is the greatest threat to world peace, bigger than North Korea and Iran, defies logic and is a racist flight of fantasy that only shows that anti-semitism is deeply embedded within European society, more then at any other period since the end of the war,' he added.