In a recent Real News piece, senior editor Paul Jay objected to talk of lesser evilism: “… I think this whole terminology lesser evil, it’s a terrible mistake to use such terminology. The problem is it’s turning this whole thing into some kind of moral debate, and neither Romney nor Obama are evil. They are the products of a social-economic system. They represent different sections of the elite…”1
I still think Real News is the best progressivist video fare available, and Jay is one of the best news anchors, but Jay’s assertion still leaves me astounded. That his assertion is unfounded is fully refuted by Obama holding the US hand over Israel to prevent it from UN censure.
Evenhandedness is out the window on this slaughter as well. According to the Obama administration, Hamas is to blame.2White House Press Secretary Jay Carney had this to say: “Well, we strongly condemn the barrage of rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, and we regret the death and injury of innocent Israeli and Palestinian civilians caused by the ensuing violence. There is no justification for the violence that Hamas and other terrorist organizations are employing against the people of Israel. We call on those responsible to stop these cowardly acts immediately in order to allow the situation to deescalate.”
“… Hamas claims to have the best interest of the Palestinian people at heart, yet it continues to engage in violence that is counterproductive to the Palestinian cause. Attacking Israel on a near daily basis does nothing to help Palestinians in Gaza or to move the Palestinian people any close to achieving self-determination.”3
It appears, at least, that Obama administration officials are reading from the same script. AP reports US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice had mouthed nearly identical words to the UN Security Council prior to the utterances by Carney at his press gaggle.4
What exactly is Israel’s 24/7 siege on Gaza, if not violence that is counterproductive to peace between Israel and Gaza? Do Carney, Rice, and Obama insist that if the Gazans sit on their hands that the siege will be lifted?
The following video (purportedly from the Israeli assault on Gaza) depicts, what is undeniably, evil. WARNING: The video is very graphic.
Obama is not a lesser evilist; he is the man who enables evil. If this does not — in Paul Jay’s mind — call for a moral debate, then one wonders what does call for such a debate. The ongoing, repeated carnage and slaughter in Gaza (Syria, Bahrain, Afghanistan …) underscores the utter futility of pandering to lesser evilism. If one votes for a degree of evil, then one should not be surprised when evil results.
Progressivism demands that social justice activists repudiate evil. Consequently, insofar as media plays along within the parameters set by the socio-economic system and its evil, how progressivist can it legitimately claim to be?
- See Kim Petersen, “No Such Thing as Lesser Evilism?” Dissident Voice, 6 November 2012. [↩]
- Of course there was never any doubt which side the Harper government would back. On 14 November 2012, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird issued the following statement:
We fundamentally believe that Israel has the right to defend itself and its citizens from terrorist threats.
Far too often, the Jewish people find themselves on the front lines in the struggle against terrorism, the great struggle of our generation. Just last weekend, more than 100 rockets rained down on civilians in southern Israel from positions in the Gaza Strip.
Canada condemns the terrorist group Hamas and stands with Israel as it deals with regional threats to peace and security.
See also Bruce Campion-Smith, “Prime Minister Stephen Harper backs Israel in Gaza conflict,” Toronto Star, 16 November 2012. [↩]
- Office of the Press Secretary, Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Jay Carney en route New York, NY, 11/15/2012,” The White House, 15 November 2012. [↩]
- “Hamas claims to have the best interest of the Palestinian people at heart, yet it continues to engage in violence that does nothing but set back the Palestinian cause. Attacking Israel on a near daily basis does nothing to help Palestinians in Gaza not to move the Palestinian people any closer to achieving self-determination and independence,” Rice said. See Peter James Spielmann, “Palestinians ask Security Council to stop Israel,” boston.com, 14 November 2012. [↩]