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ethical, for only through a “strong and creative” misreading of the

narrative of Jewish exceptionalism and the redemption that it

promises can Diasporic Jews open up other narrative possibilities

that a Zionist reading has precluded.

Mendel, the murder victim, is declared by his father, even

before his death at the age of thirty-six, as having been dead for

more than twenty years. Landsman, the detective who voluntarily

takes on the job investigating Mendel’s murder against the advice of

his boss, is not recognized by the government he works for as a

citizen entitled to the constitutional rights that come with citizenship.

Both the victim and his investigator have been disowned and

excepted, and neither fits in with his community. Landsman, we may

say, sees in Mendel another man unmade by the system, disowned

by his community, leading a parenthetical life. The death of Mendel

haunts him as a remnant, a fierce reminder of the invisibility and

nakedness of his own existence, so much so that it demands from

him a response, as a way to exorcise his own trauma as well as a way

to dissolve his attachment to an ingrained structure of disavowal.

Landsman becomes keenly aware that he has been

“dispossessed.” However, as Judith Butler cautions the reader in her

analysis of the state of dispossession, “We can only be dispossessed

because we are already dispossessed. Our interdependency

establishes our vulnerability to social forms of deprivation” (Butler

& Athanasiou, 2014: 5). As social beings, we do not claim

ownership of our “selfhood,” even though the myth of possessive

individualism leads us to believe otherwise. So, in the face of one’s

being dispossessed of one’s civil rights and home, should one

embrace the ideology of possessive individualism or retreat into an

alienating individualism? The question, for Butler, is wrongly posed,

for the real question to ask is “how [such an ideology] works, and in

the service of what sorts of political aims” (2014: 9). Dispossession,

Butler argues, has to be thought not only as a condition of

deprivation but also as an exposure to the other’s vulnerability.

Butler’s goal is, by inviting a reconceptualization of dispossession