How to Tackle the Stabbing Attacks by Palestinians in Israel

Very interesting take on how to tackle Palestinian violence against Israelis.

Wahaaz's Blog

Israeli victim of a stabbing act being given Medical aid Israeli victim of a stabbing attack being given Medical aid

Recently the eastern parts of Israel in and around Jerusalem have been hit by stabbing attacks at unprecedented levels. The Palestinians are using knives, axes, screwdrivers, and even vehicles to ram innocent civilians. Israeli security forces have taken multiple steps to curb these attacks. Police and army personnel are patrolling the areas around the clock, but the problem lies in Israel’s lax policies and attitudes toward some of these terrorists. Israel needs to toughen up on its security policies as any other sovereign country would do when faced with such attacks.
First of all, preventing vehicle ramming incidents is easy and not very costly. Small cement blocks can be placed at regular intervals on sidewalks in the areas affected. The blocks should not be very large, but thick enough to bear the brunt and they can be placed 5 feet…

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On Israel-Arab Conflict And Religion

It’s quite disturbing how religion keeps back people from progress while also allowing people to infringe other people’s rights, within family/tribe as well as outside family/tribe. I think in Israel’s case the religion factor has a lot to do with Israel’s geopolitical situation. Jews who migrated from European countries to Israel in 1948 and after that were mostly secular, socialist Jews. In fact, Israel’s early secularism and the socialism that European Jews brought with them initially made the Cold War heroes of the CIA initially suspicious of Israelis, who included socialist Jews, many of who came from U.S.-enemy socialist states like Soviet Union. These socialist Israelis were not the favorites of many people in Washington at that time and several people in the CIA voiced their concerns. These concerned people initially included James Jesus Angleton, chief of the CIA’s Counterintelligence Staff from 1954 to 1975. Angleton was concerned that some of the Jewish immigrants to Israel from Soviet bloc were Soviet spies who may have infiltrated the Israeli intelligence community, which would pose a serious security risk to the U.S. Ironically, it was this precise connection with the Soviet bloc that helped Israel prove to the U.S. that it can be trusted when in 1956 Israeli intelligence obtained a copy of the secret speech delivered by Nikita Khrushchev to the Communist Party, which CIA and it’s allies badly wanted. And thus, started a new era of U.S.-Israel cooperation.

Jews who came to Israel from Europe were so secular that many of them had no idea how to pray and what to pray when Israel was at war with it’s Arab neighbors the very next day it announced independence. That was the time when Jews suddenly realized that they just came out of a holocaust and now they are facing another one. It was a time when many European Jews who came to Israel came face to face with religion for the first time.

History has showed us that religion thrives on conflicts. Being under continuous threat from it’s neighbors since day one hasn’t helped Israel or it’s neighbors. On both sides, religious zealots gained prominence with the rise of each new conflict within the bigger conflict. In case of Israel, it’s democratic nature has so far successfully kept the crazy fringe on the sidelines. However, since Arab countries were/are dictatorships, some of them couldn’t survive the religious zeal that developed during these conflicts and we are seeing the results today in Iraq, Syria, Libya. I think if we were to suddenly solve all conflicts regarding Israel where Israelis would no longer feel threatened and could live in peace without worrying about their survival every day, most of the extreme religious zealots will disappear along with their followers within 50 years, and I am probably over-estimating here. I cannot say the same for the Arab society since their problems are now way out of hand. Arab world will be up in flames as soon as it’s oil runs out and it’s last few dictatorships come to an end.

In all this, Israel must save it’s democratic character as well as it’s Jewish-ness. Israel has good reason to be a Jewish State. As history has showed us, Jews don’t have one enemy. Jews have many enemies. They have faced persecution by the hands of the irreligious, Christians and Muslims. Even today, more than often, Muslim, Christian and secular/Marxist anti-Semites manage to find common ground when it comes to ‘the question of Jews’. At the same time, it’s important for Israel to uphold secularism equal to the Jewish-ness of Israel. These two ideas are not mutually exclusive or contradictory. It takes a rational mind to grasp this.

Je Suis Pamela

David Paxton

There’s a nice line in Game of Thrones from the character Benjen Stark:

Nothing someone says before the word “but” really counts

After the Charlie Hebdo attacks I wrote the following:

They are usually kicked off with a preamble saying ‘I am not condoning merely explaining’, too often another form of ‘I am not racist but‘.

Example:

And of course, we must all repeat the rubric: nothing – nothing ever – could justify these cruel acts of mass murder. And no, the killers cannot call on history to justify their crimes.

But there’s an important context that somehow got left out of the story this week….

or:

My position is this: the murderers are fully responsible for what they did and should be treated with the full force of the law. Nothing justifies the killing of these people. But this is not the whole of this issue.

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Why I Left Pakistan

A lot of people have privately asked me why I left Pakistan. Since I’m not very open about my personal life on social media because of security reasons, a lot of people are curious. So here’s why I left Pakistan:

I never actually saw myself as a Pakistani and I stopped identifying as a Pakistani long time ago. Now I always refer to myself as a Pakistan-born individual rather than a ‘Pakistani’. The only thing that makes me a ‘Pakistani’ is my green passport. While growing up in Pakistan very soon I realized that I and Pakistan cannot get along. We were inherently different. Everything from our views to our habits to our priorities were different. So it was not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’.
Many dissenters left Pakistan before I did, and some of them used to tell me that I should get out alive while I still can. In the beginning, I used to be very skeptical about them. How can they be patriotic if they are not facing what people living in Pakistan are facing? And then they have the audacity to criticize?
But then I found myself in the same situation. I had the option to either live in Pakistan and risk my life every day or to leave Pakistan for a better place. It was the hardest choice of my life, I admit. It’s not easy to say goodbye to a country where you have been raised, where you have friends and family. But what do you do when some of your own friends and family become your worst enemy?
During Mr Zardari’s regime, Mr Gillani who was the PM at that time said during an interview that those Pakistanis who want to leave Pakistan are most welcome to do so. Those words still ring in my ears. He was leaving hints everywhere but no one was listening.

For decades now Pakistan’s progressives have tried to reverse the damage that had been done by the Zia dictatorship. And for decades, Pakistan’s progressives have taken bullets for it. But all this time what many Pakistani progressives failed to realize is that the Zia dictatorship might have ended but the dictatorship of Pakistan’s military establishment was here since before Zia and still is decades after Zia’s death. The problem was not Zia, the problem is Pakistan’s military establishment. Many Pakistani progressives have realized this now but by badmouthing the military they risk being labeled traitors. You won’t find any progressive Pakistani openly criticizing the military establishment in the mainstream media, and if you do then you probably won’t find the person alive or living in Pakistan the next year. It’s the military establishment that sets the narrative in Pakistan and there’s absolutely nothing that progressives can do about it. You cannot fight bullets with words and violence is the culture in Pakistan. People like Mr Jibran Nasir will continue to fight until they too are chased out of the country or worse, shot dead like late Ms Sabeen Mahmud. Everyone is expandable as far as Pakistan’s military establishment is concerned. And should we really be surprised? This is the same military that fed and raised the Taliban. This is the same military whose former head tells a British audience that they should clap for the Taliban. This is the same military that berates India on international forums on Kashmir dispute while occupying Balochistan and killing young Baloch men. So no, I’m not surprised. What surprises me the most is the delusion that many Pakistani progressives seem to be suffering from. The delusion that they actually make any difference. Newsflash: They don’t. This is where I outright disagree with people like Mr Jibran Nasir and Ms Sabeen Mahmud. You are no good to anyone if you’re dead. The imaginary change that Pakistan’s progressives want to bring in Pakistan is actually laughable. For some perspective, whenever Pakistan’s progressives have organized any protest, only a handful of people have showed up. You can literally count these people on fingers. On the other hand, thousands and ten thousands have rallied in Pakistan in protests organized by Islamist parties. But the problem is not just the low number of progressives but also the fact that people are genuinely afraid to come out for change. In recent protests organized by Mr Jibran Nasir and his allies against the Red Mosque, many people were actually being spied on by Pakistan’s spy agency the ISI. Their phones were being tapped and some were being tailed 24/7. Some noticed and complained while others probably didn’t but a source in the ISI confirmed that some people were being spied on. There’s no doubt about that. All this is just the tip of the iceberg. Pakistan’s progressives need to decide between themselves and their country. You cannot bring any change if you’re dead. We also owe more to the humanity itself than to the country where we are born, which is a matter of a dumb coincidence.

Pakistan’s progressives need to ask themselves: If Bhutto and his daughter are both expandable, then who the hell do you think you are?
Pakistan’s progressives who have left Pakistan at least still have the chance to continue their fight. But people like Ms Sabeen Mahmud, who I personally admired a lot even though we disagreed on quite a lot of things, have no chance to continue their fight. Sure, many others will reluctantly join the fight, being shocked and motivated by Sabeen’s death. But it won’t be Sabeen doing the fighting. Because Sabeen is gone and she’s not coming back. People who will follow her path while living in Pakistan will also be eventually silenced. When the military establishment is running the show and even have it’s own cast set up, there’s little that the ‘extras’ can do.

I have never considered myself patriotic or religious, two of the basic requirements to be a ‘Pakistani’. In the golden words of George Carlin, I leave symbols for the symbol minded. I like to form my own opinions and I have my own unique take on most things. For someone like me, it’s now near to unimaginable to be permanently living in Pakistan. But I also acknowledge that there are many people who don’t have the option to leave Pakistan. I genuinely feel sorry for these people and can only hope for their best. I don’t think that they will be able to bring any change in Pakistan as long as they are in blind love with their military.
To the Pakistan’s military establishment: In the last 60 years or so, you have earned nothing but distrust and disrespect of people like me. You have managed to chase away every single progressive Pakistani from Mr Raza Rumi to late Dr Abdus Salam. Keep it up. Every dog has it’s day. One day you will meet an enemy that you won’t be able to overcome easily and that will be the day I will be more than happy to clap.

To the Pakistan’s progressives: You might think that you have rights and you are capable of bringing a change, but the fact is both of those things have nothing to do with reality. But I don’t blame you, it’s not your fault. You are good at heart and well-intentioned. But some of you are also delusional. This will prove to be a problem in the future. I won’t tell you to leave Pakistan since it’s your personal decision but I will tell you to be very careful. I don’t believe in false hopes and I think you are also a false hope but many others do believe in false hopes and for their sake I hope you succeed in doing what you want. If one day you do manage to make Pakistan progressive, I will be the first one returning home, for whatever my disagreements are with Pakistan and it’s narrative, I still consider it my home. But until then I’ll be right here NOT in Pakistan and NOT getting shot at. Good luck to you guys.

ISIS Is Islam

Michael A. Sherlock (Author)

I guess I should begin by explaining why I have written this piece.  Following the Chapel Hill shooting, I was named as an inspirational accomplice to this horrendous crime.  The plagiarizing “journalist” in question, named me, along with other “New Atheist” authors as having inspired Hick’s horrible crime, and to support his fallacious and libellous assertion, he cited a tweet of mine which read, ‘ISIS is Islam.’ [1] Before this incident, this atheist “journalist” and I had enjoyed some civil disagreements over how to approach the issue of religious criticism, particularly with regards to Islam, but given that he was my former publisher, I paid him the respect of not raising the issue of his proclivity to plagiarize the works of other authors. [2] As I have two young children who will one day grow up to read that irresponsible and libellous statement, that I was partially to blame for…

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