In April 2009, the Australian Friends of Palestine Association (AFOPA), in co-operation with the Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine (CJPP), commissioned social research on Australian attitudes to Palestine and Israel. The major findings of this survey are detailed below.
Key Findings of the 2009 Opinion Poll
- 42% of Australians found Israel’s attack on Gaza, Operation 'Cast Lead', was "not justified", whereas only 29% found it "justified".
- 94% of Australians think the Government is overly biased toward Israel.
MEDIA RELEASE, 11 June 2009
AUSTRALIANS VOTE FOR PALESTINE
Many more Australians think that Israel’s military action in the Gaza Strip in January this year was not justified, a new poll conducted by Roy Morgan Research finds.
And more Australians generally have sympathy for the Palestinians than the Israelis in the Middle Eastern conflict.
The results are part of an independent national poll done by the respected Roy Morgan Research company. It was commissioned by the Sydney-based Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine (CJPP) and the Adelaide-based Australians Friends of Palestine Association (AFOPA) organisations.
CJPP Convenor, Peter Manning, said: “The national poll shows the federal Labor Government is out of step with public opinion when it cuddles up to Israel. Julia Gillard’s current delegation to Israel is out of step not only with President Obama’s policies but with what Australians think.”
The biggest differences emerge on attitudes to Israel’s military attack on Gaza in Palestine in January when more than 1400 Palestinian civilians were killed, 400 of them children. Some 42% of Australians found Israel’s actions “not justified” whereas only 29% found it “justified”. The rest indicated that they “couldn’t say”.
CJPP Convenor Peter Manning said: “The answers to this question about Gaza show that Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard was well out of step with public opinion when she expressed sympathy for the few Israelis who died from rocket attacks rather than the 1400 Palestinians being slaughtered by Israeli gunfire on schools, hospitals and residential buildings.”
Mr Manning also said that Australians were becoming wise to the Rudd Government’s one-sided attitude to the conflict in the Middle East.
Of the 636 Australians aged 18 years and over asked whether their sympathies lie more with the Israelis or with the Palestinians, 28% said with the Palestinians, 25% with neither and 24.5% with the Israelis; 23% indicated they couldn’t say.
Answers to the final question show most Australians (42%) think the Federal Government favours neither side, whilst 1% say it favours Palestine and 19.5% say it favours Israel. In effect, of those who perceived Government bias, 94% thought it was towards Israel.
When asked whether they were aware of the events in January concerning the Gaza military campaign, 38% said they knew “a lot” or “a fair amount” about the situation, 61% said they did not know much at all or “nothing” and 1% couldn’t say.
Interestingly, of the 38% who said they knew “a lot” or “a fair amount”, a much bigger percentage expressed sympathy for the Palestinians (44.5%) over the Israelis (29.5%) .
Mr Manning said: “All these results, put together, show that Australians are reading between the lines of the media bias against Palestine and Palestinians and they are not convinced by the Howard and Rudd government’s Israel-right-or-wrong policies.”