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Abstract

Today Jewish life is being lived out within the context of unparalleled Jewish empowerment, with an assertive Jewish community with high status and political and economic power in the United States and a militarily successful and expanding state of Israel in the Middle East--though most Jews, as with any community, are living normal ordinary lives involved in making a living and raising families. The contested nature of Jewish life has seen three definitive groups vying for the right to define what Jewish fidelity is in the present. Roughly speaking the three groups are found in America and Israel, and can be defined as the Constantinian Jewish establishment, Progressive Jews and Jews of Conscience. Within this diversity, the Holocaust and the state of Israel loom large; they have come to define Jewish particularity. Those Jews who dissent on the Holocaust and Israel have been labeled self-hating Jews. Non-Jews who dissent on the Holocaust and the state of Israel are seen as anti-Semitic. Anti-Semitism has thus become a tool of protection and power. Is there a way to assert a Jewish particularity that dissents from the abuse of Holocaust imagery and unjust projection of Israeli power while maintaining a solidarity with Jews and Jewish history?

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