So much like fiction

Emily Alhadeff’s reflections (“Court’s decision highlights a bigger problem,” April 25) on the Olympia Food Co-op’s decision to cleanse its shelves of Israeli products are very acute in suggesting that nearly all BDS agitprop against Israel can fairly be labeled “Jews Against Themselves.” But she overlooks one paradox: The symbiotic relation between Israel and her Jewish accusers. In a famous short story of 1942 called “The Sermon,” by the Hebrew writer Haim Hazaz, the main character, Yudka, says “When a man can no longer be a Jew, he becomes a Zionist.” But in Howard Jacobson’s 2010 satire of England’s Jewish Israel-haters called “The Finkler Question,” a character named Kugle declares that “I am a Jew by virtue of the fact that I am NOT a Zionist.” In other words, the Jewish “identity” of the vast majority of Jews trying to turn Israel into a pariah state with no “right to exist” would vanish the moment that their (despicable) goal was realized.

Edward Alexander

Chairman, UW Jewish Studies, 1971-81