In the last four years (June 2018-April 2022),* Australian federal parliamentarians have received more sponsored trips to Israel than to any other country. There were 25 parliamentary visits to Israel, with the next most popular destinations being Taiwan (17 visits) and the United States of America (USA) (15 visits). Notably, during the same time period, there were no official Australian Government international parliamentary delegations to Israel or Taiwan. The total number of non-Australian Government sponsored trips to all countries in this period was 139, so Israel comprised 18% of all trips.
- Israel – 25
- Taiwan – 17
- USA – 15
- Israel – 102
- China – 63
- USA – 49
This pattern is consistent with the period 2010-2018, when federal parliamentarians received 102 sponsored trips to Israel, almost double the next-ranking countries (China-63; USA-49) (Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), 2018).
In both periods, the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) was the largest sponsor of trips to Israel. In this period, they sponsored 11 of the 25 trips to Israel (44/102 trips in the previous period) (ASPI, 2018).
AIJAC is a not-for-profit company run by four Australian businessmen, who consistently provide uncritical reporting about Israel and its role in International affairs. Former Foreign Ministers (Rudd, Carr) and senior journalists have criticised AIJAC for their significant and persistent pressure to disregard Israel’s abuse of Palestinian human rights.
The second most common group taking Parliamentarians to Israel is the International Institute For Strategic Leadership Dialogue, an initiative of businessman Albert Dadon, who employed Julia Gillard’s partner, Tim Mathieson, while she was Prime Minister. They sponsored 5 trips in this period.
Whilst the numbers are small, Coalition parliamentarians were almost twice as likely than Labor parliamentarians to take sponsored trips to Israel (Coalition-15; ALP-8; Crossbench-2).
Four times more Coalition parliamentarians took AIJAC-sponsored trips to Israel than Labor parliamentarians (Coalition-8; ALP-2; Crossbench-1).
Trips to Israel by political party
- Coalition – 15
- ALP – 8
- Crossbench – 2
Trips to Palestine by political party
- ALP – 3
- Coalition – 2
- Crossbench – 1
By contrast, just six federal politicians (Coalition-2; ALP-3; Crossbench-1) visited Palestine (as well as Israel) in the same period. Although this was on the one trip, there were, collectively, twice as many Labor and crossbench parliamentarians who took this trip than Coalition parliamentarians.