Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What Australians Think of Israel

Two recent public opinion polls relevant to the Middle East conflict make interesting reading.

The first, Australian Public Opinion on the Israel-Palestine Conflict, conducted by Research Now in May last year, asked 1,021 Australians for their responses to the following questions (NB: I've shortened some questions, omitted others, and generally provided only the top 3 responses):

1) What do you think is the main cause of the I-P conflict?
37.3% - Ancient hostility between Jews & Arabs
27.4% - Dispossession of Palestinian people by Jews who migrated to Palestine last century
26.7% - Hostility of certain Arab nations towards Israel since its creation in 1948

[MERC: Unfortunately, over 70% of the public don't seem to have a clue on this question.]

2) Which... best describes the I-P conflict:
54.8% - Palestinians trying to end Israel's occupation & form their own state
31.7% - Israelis fighting for security against Palestinian terrorism
4.1% - Both Palestinian self-determination & Israeli self-defense

[MERC: A clear majority 54/31 understand that Palestinians are an occupied people.]

3) How important is a just resolution of the I-P conflict for world peace?

57.1% - Very important
35.9% - Important
4.6% - Not very important

[MERC: 93% favour a just resolution.]

4) Do you think the solution to the I-P conflict should be based more on:

60.9% - The ongoing negotiation process
28.4% - United Nations resolutions

[MERC: The public seem to have no idea about the importance/relevance of international law.]

5) Should Israel withdraw from settlements on Palestinian land?

53.5% - Agree
24.2% - Strongly agree
17.6% - Disagree

[MERC: Almost 78% oppose Israeli settlements.]

6) Should Palestinian refugees be allowed to return to their homes & lands?

56.0% - Agree
36.6% - Strongly agree
5.7% - Disagree

[MERC: Almost 93% support the Palestinian's right of return.]

7) Final status of Jerusalem?

39.1% - Shared capital
25.1% - UN trusteeship
21.8% - Capital of Israel

[MERC: Over 62% oppose Israel's monopoly over Jerusalem.]

The second, BBC World Service Country Rating Poll (2011), surveyed people in 27 countries for their positive/negative impressions of 16 countries, including Israel. Predictably, Israel ranked 13th, ahead of Pakistan, North Korea and Iran (16th).

Australians viewed Israel negatively 58/20, while Americans were split between 41% negative, 43% positive. (Other results: UK - 66/14; Canada - 52/23; Egypt - 78/5)

I think we can safely conclude that our politicians, whose displays of love and devotion toward Israel would make any normal person blush, are out of step on this one. What a surprise!


Anonymous said...

On politicians being out of sync with the electorate, my favourite quote if from Gadaffis Green Book:

'The party is a contemporary form of dictatorship. It is the modern instrument of dictatorial government. The party is the rule of a part over the whole. As a party is not an individual, it creates a superficial democracy by establishing assemblies, committees, and propaganda through its members. The party is not a democratic instrument because it is composed only of those people who have common interests, a common perception or a shared culture; or those who belong to the same region or share the same belief. They form a party to achieve their ends, impose their will, or extend the dominion of their beliefs, values, and interests to the society as a whole. A party's aim is to achieve power under the pretext of carrying out its program. Democratically, none of these parties should govern a whole people who constitute a diversity of interests, ideas, temperaments, regions and beliefs. The party is a dictatorial instrument of government that enables those with common outlooks or interests to rule the people as a whole. Within the community, the party represents a minority.
The purpose of forming a party is to create an instrument to rule the people, i.e., to rule over non-members of the party. The party is, fundamentally, based on an arbitrary authoritarian concept - the domination of the members of the party over the rest of the people. The party presupposes that its accession to power is the way to attain its ends, and assumes that its objectives are also those of the people. This is the theory justifying party dictatorship, and is the basis of any dictatorship. No matter how many parties exist, the theory remains valid.


Anonymous said...

No wonder the Australian government flouts its obligation to educate the population on the basic provisions of the Geneva Conventions, imagine the results of this survey if the public had a elementary understanding of both the history AND the law. Don't expect our governments written commitments to the world to figure in any ethics in the classrooms or schools.

However even with the non stop media bias towards the Bandit State the instincts of the public for at least some show of fair play prevail.