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Friday, December 19, 2014

In response to Joachim Oberst

Editor,

Having read more letters by Joachim L. Oberst over the years than I care to remember, it is at least reassuring that he continues to be, shall we say, “amusing.” His latest effort published in Monday’s Daily Lobo did not disappoint. While his woefully misinformed rant was absent of accurate factual data, it positively glowed with emotionally loaded imagery and firebrand histrionics. Perhaps Mr. Oberst should consider a move from philosophy to theatre and dance. History is completely out of the question, but creative writing might be a good fit.

One of my favorites was: “They are content to pile up their victims in heaps of shredded flesh visualized arithmetically in the growing number of dead Palestinians looming over the bad conscience of a world too spineless to stop the bloodshed.”

We certainly wouldn’t want to ponder here the 3,400 rocket attacks against Israel by the terrorist group Hamas or ask why most of the money and resources coming into Gaza to help those people was spent by Hamas to build invasion tunnels (to the tune of tens of millions of dollars, even with the child labor utilized) and to acquire munitions.

In the next paragraph, he really hits it with: “Today, the crucified body of Jesus Christ lies under the rubble of mosques, schools, hospitals and homes.” Freshman philosophy students should keep that one in mind in case they take one of Mr. Oberst’s classes. More to the point, Mr. Oberst writes: “To contain the rise of global anti-Semitism in the face of these war crimes, Israel must give up its self-conception as a Jewish state and replace it with that of an open-minded, liberal, inclusive state, based on the principles of democratic tolerance where all are equal under the civilized rule of the same secular humanitarian laws.”

I hate to let the facts interfere with Mr. Oberst’s fantasy, but Israel already is that state far more than any other in the region. Arab Muslims serve both in the Israeli Parliament and in the Israel Defense Forces. Unlike many of Israel’s neighbors, women and homosexuals are allowed full civil rights; women are even allowed to drive. Can you believe it?

Mr. Oberst really needs to lose the unbridled emotional nonsense and falsified data (as BBC News recently pointed out, it’s hard to believe that three times more “civilian” men than fighters have been killed, and among “civilians” more than three times as many men were killed than women). A rational and objective look at the situation is in order. Mr. Oberst appears to be incapable of such a point of view.

John Bauer

UNM retiree