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I have never written a single piece, in 16 years, that was intended to change minds

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I must say that I sincerely appreciate your reasoning and point of view even if I don’t agree with your conclusions. Your essays are invariably interesting and well argued.

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"But if that state instead dropped its anachronistic attachment to ethnonationalism and state religion, perhaps that hatred would not prove so implacable." "Perhaps" is doing a lot of heavy lifting right there . . . would Israelis want to take that bet? What do you figure the over and under to be?

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It's almost as if there's a whole other piece that this one paragraph is embedded in, which you've pulled out in an effort to be clever

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Actually, I think my "clever" point a very real concern. "Perhaps" is a weak reason for an existential question. I suppose I could have written longer sober paragraphs to get to the same point. However, I do agree with your larger point that Jews would be a great addition to the U.S. population. I am all for open borders for the intelligent and talented.

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I am all for open borders for those who WISH to have the opportunity to HAVE an education to be intelligent and talented. All humans are equally capable of being educated and talented. You can see the glaring parts of America where education has failed, but primarily because the lack of cultural mores and parenting skills did not inculcate the importance of education. Just look at Mississippi, Alabama, et al., as an example. For many Asians and Jews, in general, it is a cultural given that your children are to be well educated and aspire to more. What's wrong with the rest of us?

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One thing to understand about education in the Deep South is that it has had a 2-tiered system of educating the right people and not adequately educating the "wrong" people for over 100 yrs. That history has culturally stunted the entire region for which it has not endeavored to recover or rectify. Parenting skills not-with-standing, most parents want a good education for their children.

People still harbor the notion that getting a basic education is a privilege and not a basic human right, which is why our public education systems suffer and our population, as a whole, suffers as well.

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one state please

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Eh, as an American Jew whose a Zionist and right now writing this from a hotel bed in Tel Aviv after two long weeks of volunteering, I can’t really agree with you that America is all that much a safe haven anymore.

We have neo-Nazis on the right and sadly in the center and left, including many readers of your blog, some idea promoted by critical theory, “anti-racism” and intersectionality that Jews are now “white oppressors” of “people of color”, which underpins the propaganda that Zionists are engaged in racism, apartheid and genocide.

Therefore, not buying it that these people are just “anti-Zionist” and not just plain old anti-Semites. Not looking forward to my return shortly when I can again have gentiles white-splain to me what anti-Semitism is who wouldn’t dare to explain racism to a “person of color” or mysogeny to a woman.

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Feb 23·edited Feb 23Author

The number of hate crimes against Jews is an empirical question and it's an empirically tiny number. More to the point, wasn't there just some sort of attack that killed over a thousand Israeli Jews, in Israel?

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The demonization starts with language and prejudicial concepts before violence and genocide. There’s also the reluctance of Americans to perceive the problem is radical Islamism and not “civil rights”.

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Feb 23·edited Feb 23Author

"Radical Islam" has killed fewer American civilians than cows have in this century

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That’s true. But it’s also true that the driver of the conflict in Israel is radical Islamism, not some abstract western concepts of “civil rights”.

What motivates “Palestinians” (as opposed to Arab Muslim citizens of Green Line ‘48 Israel) is that they can not dominate Jews as a persecuted minority of second class citizens (dhimmi, infidels) in a Muslim controlled, sharia law state or drive them out entirely at their whim.

Perhaps it would have been better had the US allowed immigration in the 1920s and 30’s rather than turned Jews away, and there were no polarizing Balfour Declaration or Mandate Palestine in “Muslim Lands”.

But with as many Jews already in Israel as in the US (about 8 million), that train has left the station.

I’m not sure how well Israeli Jews would fare in emigrating to the US at this point either. You know, most don’t speak a word of English.

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Cows killed 3,000 people in 2001, TIL

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On hate crimes, this is true, based on very squishy data (https://cde.ucr.cjis.gov/LATEST/webapp/#/pages/explorer/crime/hate-crime) there's ~1,100 hate crimes against Jews in 2024, the second most, after African-Americans with ~3,400--which does make it the highest per capita, but the overall rate is tiny ~19 per 100,000.

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Agree that it’s a small number, but it’s by far the largest per-capita. A Jew is roughly 3 times more likely to be a victim of a hate crime than a Black person, and far more likely than a Muslim.

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I agree, I suspect the data is very squishy. Many crimes of all types are never reported, right? I’m skeptical that they really know how many hate crimes are committed and against who.

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Data can be squishy, but looking at "highest per capita" and going "sure but it's a low absolute number" is just saying that hate-crime counts less when it's against a smaller group of people.

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Which is why I gave the per 100000 rate. Hate crimes are really, really rare (to the extent the data is good, which is unclear). Murder is rarer, but the other crimes I searched for are all in the 100s per 100000.

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Per capita it is not empirically a tiny number, it is comparable to the typical examples of "oppressed" American minority groups such as Afro-Americans and LGBT people.

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There is nothing that could hurt the reputation of Jews (or US) more than what is happening in Gaza right now.

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Some days you just need to bomb Dresden. This is what that looks like. If Hamas controlled Gaza weren't still holding 70 hostages, and shooting a handful of rockets into Israel every day, maybe you'd have a case. But no, like the actual Nazis, Hamas is evil and needs to be rooted out completely.

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Talk about giving yourself away- Bombing Dresden was unequivocally a war crime and the people responsible for it should have been in the Hague right alongside Goering

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The war would have been better if the Nazis had all of their nuclear scientists? In war you need to do shitty things, bombing cities with specific scientific and manufacturing activities is a shitty thing you have to do to prevent the nuclear bombing of London —that oh-magickly never happed now did it.

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Are you serious? You may as well say the bombing of Dresden was necessary to prevent the Nazis from summoning a dragon, that's about the same level of fantasy world

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Only if you don’t view Israelis as normal people with a right of self defense. But you view the conflict through American “social justice warrior” lenses, so what Israelis are doing in Gaza is not just normal self defense, but some kind of genocidal attack on “innocent civilians”.

Was your first thought of Americans going after Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan after 9/11 that the Towers attack was horrible of course but American bombers were killing Afghani babies? I very much doubt that. You’ve just been brainwashed by Islamist propaganda from Qutar leaking in through political alliances of Anerican blacks and Muslims.

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Not hardly. I'm decidedly in-between MAGA and WOKE. The current "self defense" in Gaza goes far beyond and eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth.

Our reaction to 9/11 was stupid. A measured response in Afghanistan smacking the Taliban for allowing al-Qaida to train, then sending special ops in to whack the terrorists directly would have been far more effective. Instead we whacked Afghanistan then immediately pivoted to Iraq where Saddam Hussein kept his Islamist radicals under control because they were a threat to him.

Yes, Israel needed to retaliate, but proportionately and in a targeted response. Wiping out Hamas, which wouldn't be a bad thing, by wiping out a few hundred thousand people, half of them children is not acceptable.

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Yes it would have been nice had Israel been able to just send in special ops teams to defeat Hamas in pinpoint raids that spared civilian facilities and civilians, but that isn’t the war Hamas planned with its extensive tunnel system and 30,000 fighters (and hostages) hidden underground in booby-trapped fortresses.

What happened is what Hamas planned which required the destruction of booby trapped above ground facilities which had snipers nests and tunnel exits.

The nature of the enemy’s defensive fortifications required their destruction so that 18 year old Israelis trained to fight a conventional infantry/combined arms could effectively fight without taking an unreasonable number of casualties. They need to offer no apologies for this nor is it by nature “disproportionate”.

Hamas put its own civilians in harms way by using civilian facilities for cover and not allowing civilians to shelter in the tunnels. Its strategy was to cynically sacrifice its own civilians to create international political pressure for its allies and useful idiot fellow travelers like South Africa, Brazil and the “Global South” to pressure the Israel to cease fire and leave Hamas in power.

You know Hamas could release the hostages at any time and get a cease fire. Why is that not an option? Why are you not calling for that, but complaining Israel’s response is “disproportionate” or genocide or whatever? Soft bigotry of low expectations? Because you agree Israel is illegitimate because 1948, colonialism etc?

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Rest assured that all the uniformed flag-bearing Neo-Nazis we see marching around are CIA/FBI/ATF agents LARPing.

In the US, are there a handful of krazies? —Yes, there's always a handful of krazies. Yes, there's a dude pushing a shopping cart down the middle of the road, every few steps he stops, takes a big stick out of his cart, kracks himself in the head really hard, puts the stick back into the cart, and proceeds his saunter down the middle of the highway. Sometimes he parks his shopping cart, picks up a flag, shouts invectives at clouds ...

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“Rest assured that all the uniformed flag-bearing Neo-Nazis we see marching around are CIA/FBI/ATF agents LARPing.

In the US, are there a handful of krazies? —Yes, there's always a handful of krazies.”

Yes. Yes, there are.

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Like people who think neo-Nazis are really undercover FBI agents provocateur?

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You admirably covered a lot of ground here, Freddie, including a slight detour into hate crime statistics more generally. You say you shopped this around with no takers. Did you approach The Free Press?

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The Free Press is the least likely place to publish anything questioning Israel's existence!

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Not true. They published Andrew Sullivan's critique. It was much milder than Freddie's, but still a critique. Also, Freddie published a portion of his book there that included a flattering introduction from Bari.

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Sullivan's piece is about Israel's lack of care about slaughtering Palestinian civilians, not Israel's very existence. Even then, Bari Weiss felt compelled to include a header indicating that she disagrees rather than just publishing the essay!

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While I disagree with a lot in this piece, it seems the core objection I have is that you seem to be conflating object level safety with self determinism with respect safety. I think it's nearly impossible to say that a jew is safer in Tel Aviv with daily rockets pouring down on them and mandatory military conscription than in Brooklyn, but the idea behind Israel is that no other party can change that. One might argue that, say, 1930s Vienna was one of the best times and places to ever be a Jew, but without the influence over the political environment ....well we all know how this went.

2020s America is, indeed, a fantastic place to be a Jew, but we are still enough of a minority in voting/power/etc that that could change on a dime. Hell, look at the heel turn that left-wing politics has taken towards us in the last few years. You mention in your piece that America could easily lose its power and/or drop it's support of Israel, which would be catastrophic for it's people's safety, but seem to gloss over that the internal attitudes and conditions could shift as quickly.

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Feb 23·edited Feb 23Author

1. Israel demonstrably cannot secure its own safety.

2. The level of safety it has secured comes on the back of a truly unprecedented and unsustainable level of largesse from a fading superpower.

3. As I say in the piece, your comment implies not just the failure of multiculturalism in Israel but the end of the very project of liberal democracy. Taking what you're saying to its only logical end leaves us with a world in perpetual ethnic war and states that expel or exterminate ethnic minorities.

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1. I am not saying you're wrong, but I don't think we have the counterfactual to say anything with confidence. It's 100% that true that Israel's safety is currently financed by the US, and without, say, Iron Dome funding, there would be a lot more dead Israelis. Whether it would/could exist, I don't think anybody say.

2. Again, I agree with you, but I don't think that's a particularly unique position to be in, even for a non-ethnostate. Pax Americana and American influence has shaped so much of world politics that it doesn't seem like a useful thought experiment to think of any one state in a vacuum. Maybe if one wanted to have the argument about the middle east in it's totality without American influence it'd be notable (for example, taking away all of the threads/chaos downstream of oil related destabilization), but I have neither the history knowledge or time to hash that one out :)

3. I again see where you're coming from, but disagree that it means the end of a liberal democracy project. Personally I am largely pro-ethnostate, but only when combined with lax immigration policies in and out for folks who don't want to participate, and equal rights from a human rights perspective for the ethnic minorities. It's a fair critique to say that ethnostates have little place in a world without the level of free movement and privilege required to let people opt out, but I'm talking more idealistically here. The practical pessimist in me thinks that ethnostates, or attempts at them, are a reality of human tribalism that will always be around, and maybe I'm overly compensating for that presupposition, but I don't think it's fair to say that the existence of ethnostates at all threatens non imperialistic liberal democracies.

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"Taking what you're saying to its only logical end leaves us with a world in perpetual ethnic war and states that expel or exterminate ethnic minorities."

In other words, the baseline state of human affairs for all of history.

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Feb 23·edited Feb 23

I believe the US is foolish to fund and supply Israel, because:

- at present, it has little positive effect on Israel securing its own safety,

- it allowed and allows Israel to avoid making more realistic choices which would lead to a higher probability of greater long term security

This was not always so. Israel in the 21st century is not the Israel of the 20th, it is in many ways a technological equal to the US, and no less rich than a late-20th century US. Israel's capabilities place it among the few democratic nations actually able to defend itself. Notably, Europe can't defend itself, although that has historically been encouraged by American design.

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"Taking what you're saying to its only logical end leaves us with a world in perpetual ethnic war and states that expel or exterminate ethnic minorities." I mean, expulsion and extermination might not be the complete story, there's also domination, exploitation, and reluctant submission. Other than that caveat though, that's one plausible view as the story of humanity. Given the way things are going it's quite possible that liberalism only can exist in a world with an incredible pace of technological progress and economic growth. Take that away, and yes, the whole thing fails.

I'm not saying that this is all true, but it's certainly plausible enough that the fact that a certain worldview implies the "end of the very project of liberal democracy," does not mean it can be dismissed on those grounds alone.

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Wrong. Israel demonstrably cannot secure its own safety while treating the Palestinians with the kid gloves of humanitarian victimhood that you support.

Meanwhile, the "very project of liberal democracy" and "multiculturalism" have never been practiced in the MENA region outside Israeli borders, not for structural reasons but because that would have meant Jews and Kurds and other minorities having equal rights and that was unacceptable.

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"left-wing politics"

American Jews yoked their wagon to the wrong ox here. Far too many Jews looked upon left-wing economics as a cornucopia; Einstein was a Stalinist! But this is also due to the European-American blurring of left-right / liberalism-conservativism / socialism-capitalism. Many don't realize it, but to be a conservative in Europe is to conserve 19th century socialism, so there's a mix up there. Also, in the US, conservatism was heavily linked with Christianity, and that was rather blocking to incoming European Jews, and then Jews are typically urban people, and right-wing conservative Christians are predominately sub-urban to rural.

Conversely, right-wing conservative protestant Christians look upon Jews as, well, their religious ancestors.

For all the wrong reasons, Jews in America are historically linked to the political wing which doesn't respect their religion.

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At their best, right wing Christians look at Jews from a benevolent perspective as a mission field and as fundamental chess pieces with a role to play in their Christian eschatological doomsday fantasies. Other than appropriating Passover dinners, they don’t give a shit about Jewish beliefs and practices. That’s at their best.

The antisemitic cancer in the left is appalling but it’s nonsense to suggest Jews can find reliable allies in the religious right.

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And just a few months ago, fundamentalist Christians saw Muslims as potential allies in what was then their biggest existential threat - LBGTQ folks and library books.

Hard to keep up.

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I disagree. Right-wing Christians have great animosity betwixt their neighboring denominations, but view Jews as fellow travelers.

As to the 2,000 year old doomsday fantasy ... that in the future, all payments will be made via a centralized bank with a wave of the hand and culminates in an entire nation being evaporated in the wink of an eye.

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Disagree. Was at the October 15 demonstration at the National Mall and spoke to many Christians bussed in to join the Jewish marchers.

They seemed quite sincere and motivated by solidarity and doing what seemed to them the right and moral thing, not some kind of cultish belief in the return of Christ that right thinking liberals trivialize them with. They just don’t think Palestinians are saints like most secular people with weak Christian backgrounds smugly think.

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Oh they’re very pro Israel. Now. After the likes of Hal Lindsey convinced them that Israel plays a part in their countdown clock. Tell them you’re not interested in their effort to promote “Judeo Christian values” as official government policies and that they should keep the 10 Commandments out of the courtrooms let women make their own pregnancy decisions and it becomes a different story.

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Allies? I think you do not comprehend the mindset of the apocalyptic Christian fascists. They aren’t your allies. They believe you killed their Christ, and they are looking to a unified Judea so the Christ can come back and wreak his revenge upon you, consigning you to burn in eternal hellfire while they are wooshed away, laughing, to paradise. If these are your allies, well… gosh.

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I basically agree with this, but I think this argument misses the strongest case for Zionism. Which is: The Jewish people have had a long history of living peacefully in cosmopolitan nations where they were welcomed as neighbors... right up until they weren't. Lots of the statistics about Jewish flourishing in America today were also true of Jews living in Europe in the 19th century. It didn't last. Sooner or later, there's always a movement that arises, declares the Jews to be hostile outsiders, and begins the slaughter. We've even got a word for that: pogrom. Zionism is the dream of a land where pogroms are impossible because the basic social, political, and demographic facts make it impossible. Is the US a land where pogroms are impossible? Well, we haven't had one here yet. But we're a young nation with a lot of heavily armed, racist people. Give us time; we'll get there eventually.

I'm not saying I agree with that argument, but that's the steel man argument for Zionism. And I don't think this piece really rebuts it.

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Agreed - this is the response I get from my older, Jewish relatives.

It's, of course, nonsense. Yes, it's always possible that a very unlikely thing will happen. But any number of unlikely, cataclysmic events could happen in Israel too. Is the situation above *more* likely than, I dunno, Iran firing their first nuke at Tel Aviv?

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Yes. Because Israel has nukes and second strike capability. The key flaw in Freddie's piece is that he's assuming Israel is a lot more vulnerable than it actually is, because he's taking arguments intended to get funding support far more seriously than they warrant. Which is a really good argument for reducing/discontinuing military aid (as well as just generally disentangling us from a wildly intractable conflict). Israel doesn't need it.

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American Jews have second strike capability too - 2nd amendment, baby. But if you prefer a different scenario, Iran (or NK) nukes used by a non-state party to detonate in Tel Aviv seem more likely?

The point isn't that I think any of these things will happen, it's that if you're using the standard of "this unlikely terrible thing *might* happen to US Jews, because who can predict the future??", you have to balance that will all the unlikely, currently-unforecastable terrible things that might happen to Israeli Jews.

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The 2nd amendment explicitly isn't second strike capability. Second-strike capability assumes that the first strike will land, but you are still able to respond. Having a gun does not amount to that. Having nuclear submarines does.

But, to be clear, Israel and the US are different hedges against danger. Israel is a hedge against the dangers of being a minority population. The US is a hedge against the dangers of being an ethnostate.

At an individual level, this hardly matters, but at a group level, having multiple hedges is obviously preferable (this theoretically might also be effective at an individual level, as if the US were to start heading in a Nazi direction, I expect they would in fact allow/force most Jews to flee, with Israel acting as an obvious safe haven and if Israel were to be destroyed, I anticipate American Jews would do their best to ensure that refugees/survivors were allowed into the US).

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Feb 23·edited Feb 23

I mostly agree with the points EC is making above, although I disagree that the conflict is intractable or that the U.S. should necessarily cut all ties. I make the full argument here about how and why America should lean in:

https://gordonstrause.substack.com/p/israel-and-the-palestinians

(To preview one point: I do think that the U.S. should cut all aid if Israel does not withdraw from the West Bank)

But I do want to add something else. Being Jewish in America is a very different experience than being Jewish in Israel. As someone with a strong Jewish identity but with other identities that are ultimately stronger, that isn't a compelling enough argument for me to move to Israel. But it is certainly a compelling argument about why many Israelis would never choose to come to the U.S., even if they could care less about being on Biblical lands. Safety isn't the only value that motivates people, and the value of being Jewish in Israel has less to do with history than with culture.

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Non-state terrorism can happen anywhere. Look at 9/11 for example.

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Israel can be completely destroyed by four or five bombs, it's the size of New Jersey. Iran is 2.4 times the size of Texas, it can survive a limited Nuclear War damaged but basically intact.

People really seem to not understand how much the equation has shifted against Israel in the last 20 years. Right now, Israel would be facing a somewhat desperate situation if not for American carrier power, which is keeping Hezbollah from fully opening a second front, which would probably touch off a full scale uprising in the West Bank and place the Arab states under considerable domestic strain.

Yitzak Rabin was not some peacenik bleeding heart; he was seeking a peace settlement as a means to his nation's survival. The current government is composed of people who encouraged his murder and have, as he predicted, made Israel's prospects much more precarious.

As far as the rest of the nuclear equation goes, of the US decided to use its arsenal in response to an attack on Israel, it could wipe Iran out, but that opens the door to a full response from Russia and the end of the World, so it's not something one can count on.

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Iran has no nukes.Israel has (estimated) 80-400.

In such an exchange every city (98 such cities compared to 16 in Israel) in Iran with more than 100k people could be destroyed.

The notion that 4-5 nukes destroys Israel and 80-400 doesn't destroy Iran is just very silly.

Also...Iran has no nukes.

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I thought we were talking about a second strike.

80-400 nukes will not be available for a second strike.

Iran will have nukes if they want them now and the have the tech to carry their warheads to Israel. They've made themselves into Chinese and Russian allies that the West can't prevent it at this point. Can we please stop pretending the current international order isn't crumbling? It's getting annoying having to try to explain to people that the world didn't freeze in the mid-1990s.

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Eh, the current international order is in more peril than anytime since the collapse of the Societ Union, but that's not the same thing.

As for the rest of your comment, I do not know how much is second strike versus first strike, but in either case the damage to Iran would be catastrophic and "Mad Mullahs" stereotyping aside Iran is not suicidal.

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The fact that in the US, Jews are the statistically the most likely group to be victims of a hate crime should lower your certainty at least a little.

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Prove it. And not with the bullshit ADL statistics that conflate opposition to the apartheid, genocidal policies of the state of Israel with antisemitism or "hate."

In reality, it is the policies of Israel that encourage increased hatred against Jews: tell everyone that you are slaughtering the Palestinians, stealing their homes, land, and water, all in the name of Jewry, and the logical response from sane human beings will be: this is madness, and must be opposed.

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You seem open to changing your mind due to evidence, so I’ll point you to the FBI hate crime statistics site;

https://cde.ucr.cjis.gov/LATEST/webapp/#/pages/explorer/crime/hate-crime

3,424 hate crimes against Black people, population 41.6 million

1,124 hate crimes against Jews, population 7.6 million

A Jewish person is more than twice as likely to be a victim of hate crime than a Black person in the USA

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(Those were 2022 numbers, but all the years on record have roughly the same ratio)

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You'll need to provide the definition of "hate crime" against Jews. Because there has been a concerted campaign on the part of the ADL and other supporters of Israel's crimes to categorize opposition to those policies as antisemitism, and to legislate that censorious standard into law. Which renders the numbers of reported "hate crimes" completely bogus. Freddie is right: Jews in the US are overwhelmingly safe. Portraying us as some group facing threats at every turn only serves to justify the claim of perpetual victimhood, all to maintain uncritical financial, military, and diplomatic support for the apartheid State.

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The pogroms of vicious Jew-hatred that began in Russia and spread throughout Eastern Europe in the fifty years from 1880 to 1930 (before the Holocaust) had nothing to do with Palestinians, Zionism or Israel. And for the record, most of the slaughter in Israel before 1948 was Arabs slaughtering Jews.

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a very unlikely thing that just happens to occur over and over and over again

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If American culture turns against Jews, wouldn't that also endanger Israel because of the support the US offers to Israel would no longer be there?

I think the argument that the US is safer than Israel for Jews holds in both cases, the case where American culture is welcoming to Jews and the case where it isn't.

I think the article does gloss over the threat of internal American anti-Semitism and shifting attitudes, but that's just an omission not a flaw. The raw materials are there for a counterargument.

Of course it's impossible to predict what will happen in the far future, but that caveat applies to this whole line of argument.

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Feb 23·edited Feb 23

Agreed.

Americans have turned on immigrants before. It wasn't that long ago that Americans of Japanese descent were interned.

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Feb 23·edited Feb 23

I had also forgotten: my ancestors' farm in Pennsylvania was burned for their beliefs, and they were forced to flee to Upper Canada as refugees.

Ut incepit fidelis sic permanet

...and all that.

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And Hoover marched Mexican-Americans, born in Alta California, "back to" Mexico when the economy went south.

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Feb 23·edited Feb 23

I think this "life insurance argument" - although I doubt it is the primary driver behind Zionism, especially Zionism in the land of Israel - is the main reason why Freddie's proposal is basically a bad deal for the jewish people (though not necessarily for individual jews).

A nation state can in this framing be seen as a safeguard against state persecution qua nationality. But many a people's history has ended with the destruction of their state - usually by other states. The diaspora, then, is a way to mitigate this "other-state persecution": the risk of destruction by pogrom is mitigated by having communities in many different states.

The status quo for jews is that they have a powerful nation state AND a very successful diaspora. Giving up on one leg of this double life-insurance will objectively reduce the chances of jewish survival as a people. So why should they do it?

Let's take a universalist view on the issue: most peoples in the world have neither states nor sizeable, successful diasporas. Achieving statehood is difficult, usually requires large numbers and military strength; forming a successful diaspora that neither vanishes via assimilation nor perpetually remains a group of poverty-striken, persecuted outcasts is perhaps even harder (just ask the Sinti and Roma). Worse, nation states actively undermine the safety of diasporas (as Freddie points out) and almost tautologically diasporas must dilute the national character of a state (by the very fact that tolerance of diasporas requires more universalist, less particularist norms).

But - at least if you believe in some form of soft nationalism in which the distinctness and unique traditions of peoples have some value - all peoples have the right to safety as peoples. I am not sure this soft nationalism is for the better but the fact that many people believe it is probably sufficient that addressing the issue would make the world a better place until national tribalism is a thing of the past.

So as universalists we should ponder what kind of institutions we could create that would provide all peoples with the same level of security as jewish people have achieved for themselves. Clearly, ethnic nation states are not it. The "globalist" project of a plethora of multiethnic democracies with relatively free migration between them and a strong asylum system was perhaps the best hope for a long time, but it has become uniquely reviled on the right and is clearly in decline.

I wonder sometimes if we should not resurrect parts of the pre-nation-state taxonomy of non-state sovereign entities of which the holy see and some sovereign orders are the last vestiges. Could diasporas perhaps get some kind of sovereign status, including for example the right to furnish their members with passports allowing them to freely migrate between states?

The world does not have to be as it is forever. The nation state paradigm has failed, maybe it is time to get creative again.

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The argument against ethnonationalism and religious nationalism, like most forms of bigotry, is that you never know who's going to be "next." Plenty of Catholics would probably support the idea of the United States being a de facto Christian ethnostate, but wouldn't be so pleased if it then evolved into a Protestant ethnostate. Plenty of second-and-third generation immigrants have relatively conservative views on recent arrivals but wouldn't be happy to see these views extended to the descendants of immigrants.

I don't see any reason to believe that the same logic wouldn't apply to Israel. If all Palestinians were killed, expelled, or fully politically dispossessed, would not the same logic compel further hierarchy, perhaps between religious and secular Zionists, or Ashkenazi and non-Ashkenazi Jews? You're never truly safe, especially when the bounds of tolerance are contracting. And let's be honest: they always are either expanding or contracting. There is no stasis.

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This history of Judaism is littered with examples of welcoming societies turning against us. Muslim Spain, Vienna, Poland, each of these states harbored Jews for far longer than the US has, but inevitably they turn to violence. Now, for the first time is 2,000 years we have a place where we aren’t reliant on the whims of a ruling class that could decide to slaughter us at any moment and Freddie wants us to give it up? What sane group would?

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The turn to violence was always about ethno religious violence; the Catholic church is no longer hegemonic. And in the age of globalism, you are still reliant on the whims of a ruling class who could decide to slaughter you - and Israel is giving the world cause. You are building a house on the blood and bones of the original inhabitants (Israel was never, even in ancient times, a nation of only Jews.)

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In the long term, the only thing most Jews would end up giving up would be their Jewishness. First as a religious identity (if there still was one), then as a perceivable distinct cultural one. After that, who cares?

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"Zionism is the dream of a land where pogroms are impossible because the basic social, political, and demographic facts make it impossible."

What are they doing to the Palestinians right now? F this dream forever, because it's founded on unjust evictions and constant war to enforce those evictions.

But let's say it's somehow OK, for the sake of argument: If you are worried about a pogrom in this country, then what about the fact that by the time we get to that point, we will have long passed the point of stopping funding the fortress over there, so -- ?? Either way, no guaranteed safety.

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If it doesn't need it, it shouldn't have it. I'm thinking it shouldn't have it anyway, if this is what they do with it.

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This is something I haven't heard from anyone else, so it's interesting. Others, as I'm sure you know, are saying Biden has the ability to stop this, and you're saying it would be faster slaughter if he did anything but keep shoveling money at them. Anyway, I'm glad we got in under the disabling of comments!

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this argument is so obvious that the complete absence of acknowledging it is basically diagnostic of the author and possibly OP (since you claim to not “agree” with this, despite it being more historical fact than argument).

how could a person possibly write this post in good faith unless they have literally read nothing ever about the history of the jews? not to mention, during the rise of some of the most vicious and systemically tolerated antisemitism in this country in decades.

since we know that FdB is very educated, and obviously knows these facts… what explains this post and its utter refusal to admit even the most basic facts against it?

one thing that doesn’t need any explanation is why no one wants to publish this garbage.

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Without commenting on the central thesis of Freddie’s article about the best home for the Jewish people, the idea that smaller populations constitute some kind of “disaster” is simply nonsense. Smaller populations will help humanity win the battle against life threatening climate disaster and help save the other species we share the planet with by protecting their shrinking habitat.

Robots equipped with artificial general intelligence will wipe our aging asses and grow and prepare our food. Young people will have less competition for jobs so their wages will rise and with less demand for housing the cost of the existing housing stock will become more affordable. Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman recently looked at low birth rate Japan and penned an amazingly optimistic report on its economic conditions reaching this conclusion: "In some ways, Japan, rather than being a cautionary tale, is a kind of role model - an example of how to manage difficult demography while remaining prosperous and socially stable.”

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If you're proposing the US take in a few million immigrants, why not take the Palestinians instead?

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author

Perhaps you should read the entirety of a piece before commenting on it critically

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That was shorthand. Spelling out the thought more clearly:

Your argument is basically that 1) there would be substantially less war and conflict if the Jewish homeland was somewhere other than Israel, and 2) the Jewish people would be better off if their homeland were in the United States.

The first part of the argument seems to seems to be based on two assumptions:

1. That descendants of Arab immigrants to the region starting in the late 19th century are the true indigenous people and have a much better claim to the land than descendants of Jewish immigrants starting in the late 19th century. (Ignoring the tiny populations of both that were there from the mid-19th century and earlier).

2. That Israeli nationalism drives war and suffering in a way that Palestinian nationalism does not.

I think that both of these assumptions are dubious, hence flipping your proposition and suggesting a new Palestinian homeland.

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Feb 24·edited Feb 24

Expanding on Alexander's point, while (as you say in that parenthetical) it would be hard to open up the rest of the world to Palestinian immigrants, it would have a bigger effect on the quality of life for everyone in the Middle East. I suspect Israel is a pretty good place to live because many of its citizens have a choice to leave - they have family and friends elsewhere and travel is not difficult for them.

Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, however, are despised by their "allies" and trapped where they are. Egypt and Jordan and Iran prefer to use them as cannon fodder in their geopolitical games than to allow them in their countries as real members of society. So Palestinians are prisoners of Hamas's evil and Fatah's corruption, with no way to vote with their feet. With 70 years of UN subsidies for hopelessness and bitterness. There is no pressure to govern that populace in a kinder, competent way.

Let Israelis all leave Israel, and the Palestinians will still be trapped. Just in a larger prison.

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Ok, but so what? Had the USA of the 30s-50s been a ready place of refuge for world Jewry, there might not have been a need for the state of Israel. But we weren’t and there was. Israel may get aid from the US, but its existence doesn’t depend on American largesse. So we have an Israeli state regardless of how anyone feels about the necessity of its original or its currently existence.

Similarly, some like to assert that before the late ‘40s there was no Palestinian national identity. Even if that is true, so what? There is now.

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I would love to see this idea come to fruition. Although if it worked, it would also make manifest the unmarked caste system that determines a lot of US policy (Jews and Northern European migrants are worthy of becoming one of us; people from the Global South are unworthy of the prize). That would have bad knock-on effects.

One potential upside, though: it would call the bluff on the Christian nationalists and reactionaries who natter on about our "Judeo-Christian" heritage. They would likely be more vehement than the most vehement Jewish Zionists that a mass migration of diasporic Jews was not to be tolerated. I wager they would quickly start to sling the same slogans defying "replacement" as the white supremacists.

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I note that Freddie mentions Jew hatred only twice; it's taken for granted that the British created the state of Israel out of a genteel version, but when Jew hatred appears again a few paragraphs later, its status is more tentative, contingent on the Israelis being such meanies:

“If it is indeed true that Israel’s neighbors bear implacable hatred against the idea of a small Jewish state in a sea of Muslim countries, then it’s foolish to think that such a state can survive the end of the American century. But if that state instead dropped its anachronistic attachment to ethnonationalism and state religion, perhaps that hatred would not prove so implacable.”

That is a seriously load-bearing “perhaps”! And I don’t think you can blame the Israelis for saying to their neighbors, “you first.”

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Hurt people hurt people. The Palestinians of Gaza have far more pain than the citizens of Israel do. It is not realistic to expect Palestinians to go first.

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They technically pulled out of Gaza in 2005...only to then drop their pants and proceed to shit on it constantly.

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Like throwing rocks at a tank. When people are tortured for their whole lives, trauma makes them lash out.

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Feb 23·edited Feb 23

I think the backdrop for all your assumptions are a reverence for liberal multicultural democracy

I have the same reverence. I am a Jew in the US, with no interest in living in Israel, and have a deep discomfort with ethnostates

But when you look around the Middle East and in fact most anywhere with Muslim majorities all you see is ethnostates. When given the chance to vote, people in these countries vote for Islamist parties a lot

I’m not judging them, their values are different. I think mine are better, but that’s a given right?

Not to put too fine a point on it, but how are the Jews in these countries doing? They’ve all moved to Israel right?

I just don’t see any evidence that any country in the Middle East wants a non-sectarian democracy

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Much of the middle east was well into secularism when the US started playing ‘regime change’ chess. Interestingly, much of the places the US is currently in a proxy war with currently are secular (Syria, Libya)- in many cases, the ethno-nationalism in places like Iran, Iraq etc is the direct result of US actions in the region.

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Ethnonationalism is secular and a separate matter from Islamism. Every secular regime in the Arab world has written an Arab ethnonational identity into their constitution.

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Yes and no and yes and no… you often see the worst people in the world justify their horrific acts under the mantle of religion. Christian’s nationalism in the US is a prime example.

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"Defenders of the modern Israeli state are in this constant argumentative bind: they must ceaselessly insist that Israel is teetering on the brink of destruction, in order to keep American money and weapons and diplomatic muscle flowing, while at the same time claiming that Israel is the only place where Jews can be safe."

Moreover, the numbers of Israelis leaving Israel after October 7, presumably to whatever countries they originally came from, shows that they do in fact have somewhere to go and that Israel isn't the only place where Jews can be safe.

Anyway, when I was a kitten, I heard a rabbi say the same thing - that The Promised Land wasn't Israel at all but the United States.

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"the numbers of Israelis leaving Israel after October 7, presumably to whatever countries they originally came from, shows that they do in fact have somewhere to go."

It shows that *some* of them have somewhere else to go. However, someone born in Israel doesn't have anywhere else that they "originally came from." Also, there's the straight-up logistical fact that not everyone has the means to uproot themselves and move somewhere else. That's a practical consideration that stands apart from wherever Zionism was a good idea and should have been implemented.

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If you think that citizens of Israel would not be accepted anywhere, regardless where they were born, then I suggest you reexamine.

Similarly, Palestinian refugees would have a much harder time getting admission.

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That's a complete non-response to my point. I said, very clearly, "there's the straight-up logistical fact that not everyone has the means to uproot themselves and move somewhere else."

Whether someone would be accepted somewhere else if they could move there is irrelevant if they are in no position to move in the first place.

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Without conceding anything, I'm not sure how that's unique to Israelis. If anything, I suspect that western countries would be more likely to render assistance, if circumstances required.

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"I'm not sure how that's unique to Israelis"

It isn't.

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>Moreover, the numbers of Israelis leaving Israel after October 7, presumably to whatever countries they originally came from

The net flow of migration after October 7 has been into Israel, not out of it.

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Even if true, there certainly weren't a bunch of Jewish people fleeing *into* Israel on October 8.

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Yes there are. That's what the numbers say. Hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens living abroad flew *back home* to reenlist in the army, and aliyah applications from other countries shot up.

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I used the word "fleeing" for a reason. Although I find that questionable for October 8.

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Again, aliyah applications went *up* after October 7, not down. We have numbers on these things. Net migration was *into* Israel, via an upturn in *both* net return of Israeli citizens *and* aliyah.

Calling it "fleeing" vs something else doesn't change the nature of your original, which was that Israel has experienced emigration since Oct 7 owing to some essential nature of the state and its population.

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There was an argument in Tablet a while ago that Israel would be better off with less US funding because it has smothered the domestic defense industry.

In addition there is a school of thought that the patron-client model of foreign aid that the US pursues is an artifact of the post Cold War era. The US since the fall of the Soviet Union has seen aid as a vehicle for exercising influence across the globe. In that sense Israel as a recipient of US largesse is hardly unique.

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Yeah, but you’re forgetting an important variable—Israeli Jews are, on average, way hotter than American Jews.

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In a whole rancid sea of stupid comments this is somehow one of the dumbest

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You might be right. Your typical American Jew is Ashkenazi in origin, i.e., originally, a Middle-Eastern population with considerable South-European (Greek, North-Italian, or so?) female admixture along the way, and then some much smaller bits of Eastern-European genomes as well — and unfortunately, big bottlenecks and recessive diseases, but arguably a high IQ too, if you believe what they say.

In Israel, the Jewish demographics alone are quite a bit more varied and mixed. Ashkenazim are at only around 40%, with the second largest but socioeconomically less advantaged group being the "eastern" Jews, usually called the Mizrahim and/or Sephardim almost interchangeably, although the latter have their origins in pre-1492 Iberia, most of them having migrated through and from North Africa and the rest of the Arab Middle East, so ending up with the true eastern Jews, the "Mesopotamian" Mizrahim.

There are also A LOT of Russians that have been immigrating for decades and continue to do so. While they're basically of Ashkenazi heritage one way or another, they're often ethnically mixed with Slavs and may have little to no original Jewish identity. Curiously enough, a lot of Russians like these feel today much more comfortable among with and marrying Mizrahim. I guess it's the kind of similarities in identity you form not "owning" and growing up to the institutions and jobs of the Zionist elite but rather having to forge your own fortune.

While Ashkenazim have traditionally been the more elite, privileged, educated, and shall we even say "whiter" group compared to Mizrahim, who may still find themselves discriminated against by last name alone, intermarriage has been real, too, being advantageous particularly to children of Ashkenazi fathers and girls in general.

But I digress... Yes, hot women. Well, think about it. Every population benefits from heterogeneity. Israeli men with their 3-year military service are pretty fit and create a healthy incentive for the women to flourish, too. Exotic mixes of female material mixing elements of Middle East, Persia, South Europe and Russia, maybe with some lucky pimples from Central Europe. Like, imagine an effortless permatan looking good from dawn til dusk, a mesmerizing melange of fractal curls of hair as wild as they get in North Africa, Middle East, Persia, even Ethiopia combined, perfect Slavic measures and legs, and a pair of eyes looking at you, irises burning with a baffling mix of different shades of brown, even green or the occasional blue... Yes, a full squad of them, heading home for holidays, letting their hair free with attack rifles casually hanging from their shoulders, speaking sweetly in that fascinating ancient tongue with the hard sounds here and there reminding you of the austere desert, the one burning sun, stark shadows and the One God, the end and origin of all life.

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