Associate Professor in the Department of Social Work, Faculty of Medicine at Monash University, Philip Mendes, is the author of the forthcoming book, Jews and the Left: The Rise and Fall of a Political Alliance.
In the course of promoting his book professor Mendes wrote the following tidbit for abc.net:
So why does the BDS movement highlight the views of this small group of anti-Zionist Jews who are so unrepresentative of collective Jewish opinion? There are two reasons.The western-left is bleeding Jews and this is a book that I am very much looking forward to reading.
The first is a continuation of malevolent historical practice. There has been a long history of anti-Semitism in parts of the radical Left whereby a small number of unrepresentative token Jews are opportunistically encouraged to exploit their own religious and cultural origins in order to vilify their own people. This happened in 1929 when American Jewish Communists were obliged to defend the anti-Jewish pogroms in Palestine. It happened again in 1952/53 when Jewish Communists were rolled out to endorse Stalin's anti-Semitic Slansky show trial in Czechoslovakia, and the so-called Doctors' Plot. It has happened many times since 1967 when left-wing Jews have been pressured to publicly conform to the anti-Zionist fundamentalism of the far Left.
Radical Left groups would never employ such techniques against other historically oppressed nations. They would not publish the views of Indigenous Australians who completely oppose land rights, or demand that a feminist journal publish the views of women who totally oppose abortion. They would certainly not publicize the views of Palestinians or Arabs who support Zionism.
Of course, it is not just the BDS movement that highlights anti-Zionist Jews, but more mainstream left-wing publications like Daily Kos, the Huffington Post, and the UK Guardian, not to mention Ha'aretz, who do so, as well. This is the appeal and function of someone like David Harris-Gershon.
I honestly think that it is long past time for the Jewish people to get out of the left entirely. I understand, of course, that this still places me in the distinct minority among Jewish public opinion, outside of Israel, yet the fact remains that Jewish support for the left is declining for the very simple reason that the left is generally non-supportive of us. This doesn't mean that we should necessarily rush off and become Republicans, but we have to stop supporting a political movement that is increasingly hostile to the vital interests of the Jewish people.
Some will say that it is better to stay within the Democratic big tent in order to help bring about a more sympathetic culture toward the tiny, historically persecuted Jewish minority in the Middle East, and while I sincerely empathize, I just do not see it happening.
What is happening is the reverse, which is why there is a growing literature on the phenomenon.