AUSTRALIANS in general have very nuanced views about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to additional findings from the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ)-commissioned YouGov Galaxy poll first reported on last week.
When asked “Do you think Australia should recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel?”, 40 per cent of the 1205 people surveyed across the country answered “Yes”, 21 per cent “No” and 39 per cent “Don’t know”.
ECAJ co-CEO Alex Ryvchin said he was “pleasantly surprised” by this finding.
“Given the welter of negative international media coverage that followed the USA’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, we were not expecting this move to be supported by such a high percentage of Australians,” he said.
In another finding, when asked what is “the biggest obstacle to peace in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict”, only seven per cent of respondents selected “Israeli building in settlements”.
Other than the 44 per cent who answered “Don’t know”, the highest percentage – 17 per cent – selected “The Palestinians’ rejection of Israel’s right to exist”.
A further statistic was that 52 per cent of respondents said they considered “all” or “some” criticisms of Israel to be “motivated by prejudice against Jews”. Only 13 per cent did not think any criticisms of Israel were so motivated.
In addition, 51 per cent of respondents said they view Israel as either “an ally” or “friendly”, compared to only 20 per cent who view the Palestinian Authority in these terms.
Forty-seven per cent said they view the Palestinian Authority as either “unfriendly” or “an enemy”, compared to 22 per cent who said they viewed Israel that way.
Many of the findings were similar across different respondent categories. “There was remarkably little variation in this pattern between Coalition and Labor voters, and across different age groups and other demographic groups,” ECAJ co-CEO Peter Wertheim said.
In another interesting finding, the same proportion of respondents – 13 per cent – were in favour of immediately recognising a Palestinian state and never recognising one.
“In between these two extremes you have a large percentage of Australians who adhere to the common sense view that recognition of a Palestinian state must be part of an overall peace agreement with Israel and mark an end to the violence by all Palestinian groups,” Wertheim said.