Michael Ignatieff

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Michael Ignatieff described himself in a 2007 biographical note as a "a Canadian scholar, writer, journalist and lifelong Liberal."[1] He is the former Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy.

Biographical profile

A biographical note states that Ignatieff was "born and raised in Toronto, the son of a Russian émigré father and a Canadian mother, and received his undergraduate degree in history at the University of Toronto. He continued his studies at Oxford University and then at Harvard University, where he received his PhD in History in 1976."[1]

Ignatieff was elected as the Member of the Canadian Parliament for the seta of Etobicoke-Lakeshore in January 2006. He is married to Suszanna Zsohar, and has two children.[2]

According to Harvard University, Ignatieff "joined the [Carr] Center in September 2000 as a Visiting Professor, and became both Director and Carr Professor for Human Rights Practice in February, 2001."[3]

Ignatieff's Rise

Edward S. Herman noted in 2006 that "Michael Ignatieff is a skilled trimmer, who has adjusted his principles and thoughts to the demands of the U.S. and Canadian power elite, and advanced accordingly—from academia to preferred commentator on human rights and other political issues in the U.S. mainstream media, and on to becoming a member of the Canadian parliament." He also adds that "One would have thought it might be problematical for a professor of human rights to vigorously support two wars (Kosovo, Iraq) carried out in violation of the UN Charter and hence “supreme crimes” in the view of the judges at Nuremberg." (Herman ranks Ignatieff among what he refers to as The New Humanitarians)[4]

In December 2005, a profile on Ignatieff noted that earlier that year he had written in an article in the British newspaper the Observer that in the aftermath of the U.S. invasion of Iraq that "The Bush Administration has managed the nearly impossible: to turn democracy into a disreputable slogan."

"Ignatieff, meanwhile, has helped turn human rights into a ‘disreputable slogan’, posing as their standard-bearer while condoning imperialism and equivocating on torture," New Internationalist wrote. "His politics amount to a slippery slope, with nuanced arguments at the top and the horror chambers of Abu Ghraib below. Ignatieff, born and raised in Canada, has an impressive CV. The Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University, he has also been a professor at Oxford, a prize-winning author of fiction and non-fiction, a prolific print journalist and a BBC broadcaster – a well-established pop intellectual."[5]

Bomb Syria

Michael Ignatieff wrote an op-ed in the Financial Times calling for Western intervention in Syria.[6] Ignatieff proposes "quarantine", sanctions, and bombing. Remarkably, Ignatieff cites his "feelings" as one of the justifications for bombing.[7]


Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch Articles

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 "About Michael", accessed March 2008. This page is archived in the Internet Archive and dated March 2007.
  2. "About Michael Ignatieff: Introduction", accessed April 2008.
  3. Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, 2000-2001 Annual Report, page 30.
  4. Edward S. Herman, Faith-Based Analysis: Michael Ignatieff on Israeli Self-Defense and Serb Ethnic Cleansing, CounterPunch, 22 August 2006
  5. "Michael Ignatieff", "Worldbeaters", New Internationalist, December 2005.
  6. Michael Ignatieff, Do we sit back and let Homs burn?, FT, 5 March 2012.
  7. Brendan O'Neill, Bomb Syria so that I can sleep at night, Spiked Online, 12 March 2012.
  8. 20 Years of Peacebuilding, International Alert, accessed August 13, 2007.
  9. Editorial Board, Global Responsibility to Protect, accessed July 27, 2009.
  10. Global board, Open Society Institute, accessed January 20, 2021.