Michelle Goldberg

Michelle Goldberg is a senior correspondent at The American Prospect. She is also the author of Kingdom Coming and The Means of Reproduction.

Recent Articles

Defending Goldstone

A report on last year's Gaza conflict has provoked outrage in Israel. But is the reaction justified?

Richard Goldstone, head of the U.N. Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, gestures prior to delivering a report at the session of the Human Rights Council. (AP Photo/Keystone, Salvatore Di Nolfi)
Richard Goldstone's report to the U.N. Human Rights Council on Israel's invasion of Gaza appears to have struck a nerve. Even given the extreme defensiveness typical of Israel's government and its apologists, the reaction to Goldstone's investigation has been astonishing in its hyperbolic fury. "The Goldstone Report goes further than Ahmadinejad and the Holocaust deniers by stripping the Jews not only of the ability and the need but of the right to defend themselves," wrote Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the United States, in a recent New Republic piece. Writing in the Jerusalem Post , Isi Leibler suggested that the Jewish community, in both Israel and the diaspora, excommunicate traitors. "The exploitation of Judge Goldstone's Jewish background by our enemies intensifies our obligation to confront the enemy within -- renegade Jews -- including Israelis who stand at the vanguard of global efforts to demonize and delegitimize the Jewish state," he wrote, comparing such Jews to "...

Dalai Drama

How much should we read into Obama's choice not to meet with the Dalai Lama?

The Dalai Lama greets a supporter after his press conference Saturday, October 3, 2009 at the Bell Center in Montreal. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz)
Tibet sometimes seems like a case study in the futility of peaceful resistance. It has been occupied by the Chinese since 1949, two years after the creation of Israel led to the dispossession of the Palestinians. Unlike the Palestinians, the Tibetans have rarely resorted to violence or made common cause with terrorists of the far right or far left. Instead the 14th Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader who lives in exile in Dharamsala, India, embraced liberal democracy and fused modernity with religion in a way that's both inspiring and unprecedented. The Tibetans did everything in exact accordance with Western liberal values, and so far it has gotten them very little. Installed as an absolute theocratic ruler, the Dalai Lama used his power to reduce his power. He prevailed on exiled Tibetans to adopt a constitution that allows for his own impeachment. He pushed for the democratic election of an exile parliament, cabinet, and prime minister, trying, with intermittent success, to...

The Moral Equivalent of Anti-Slavery

Gender equality in developing countries may be the premier human-rights struggle of the 21st century -- but first the rest of the world has to care.

Members of the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) march for gender equality. (AP Photo/Gautam Singh)
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn, Alfred A. Knopf, 320 pages, $27.95 Reading Nicholas Kristof's New York Times column is rarely fun. Week after week, he tries to humanize the world's most pressing problems through intrepid, immersive reporting, struggling to make his audience care the way he cares. Like his colleague Bob Herbert, he is relentlessly earnest -- both men insist on discussing things many would rather not hear about, and they are averse to glib contrarianism and snark. Kristof's moral urgency can seem hectoring, though that's not really his fault. It's an almost impossible task to channel outrage so consistently without leaving readers overwhelmed and tempted to tune out. That's one reason why Half the Sky , written by Kristof and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, is particularly impressive. The book presents a catalogue of horrors, including sex slavery, obstetric fistula, female genital mutilation, gang...

The Return of the Repressed

It should come as no surprise that with the election of Barack Obama, the right has returned to a politics of racial resentment.

(AP Photo)
Now that popular conservatism has given itself over so avidly to racial resentment, it's curious to remember how hard the right once tried to scrub itself of the lingering taint of prejudice. Indeed, for a decade and a half the Christian right -- until recently the most powerful and visible grassroots conservative movement -- struggled mightily to escape its own bigoted history. In his 1996 book Active Faith , Ralph Reed acknowledged that Christian conservatives had been on the wrong side of the civil rights movement. "The white evangelical church carries a shameful legacy of racism and the historical baggage of indifference to the most central struggle for social justice in this century, a legacy that is only now being wiped clean by the sanctifying work of repentance and racial reconciliation," wrote Reed. "Racial reconciliation" became a kind of buzz phrase. The idea animated Promise Keepers meetings. "Racism is an insidious monster," Bill McCartney, the group's founder, said at a...

Going to Extremes

There is much to fear in the right's comfort with radicalism, but little to envy.

Recently, we've seen the radically different ways that Democrats and Republicans deal with political radicalism in their ranks. Throughout the summer, right-wing protestors descended upon town halls nationwide screaming about socialism and death panels, and the GOP consistently defended them and egged them on -- even when they came with guns. Meanwhile, Rep. Michele Bachmann called on her supporters "to slit our wrists" in a blood covenant against the Democrats' health-care reform plans, and though more sober members of her party may have been privately embarrassed, no one rebuked her publicly. Last week, Pat Buchanan marked the 70th anniversary of the start of World War II with yet another of his periodic defenses of Adolf Hitler, who in Buchanan's telling "wanted to end the war in 1940, almost two years before the trains began to roll to the camps." His column , like several previous demonstrations of his World War II revisionism, hasn't stopped much of the media from treating him...

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