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We mourn the untimely death of Professor Tanya Reinhart
Professor Tanya Reinhart
Statement by the Department of Linguistics, Tel Aviv University

Yesterday we lost Tanya Reinhart. She died in New York, a sudden death.

It`s hardly possible to describe Tanya`s fundamental contribution and
significance for the field of linguistics. Tanya was a wonderful colleague, a challenging and at the same time most supportive advisor and mentor, and a most dedicated political and human rights activist.

The linguistics department at TAU and the cognitive program owe a great debt
to Tanya. She was a crucial part of what we tried to build here for so many
years. Her excellence was an inspiration to many of us.

We shall always remember Tanya. She was our friend. The best you could wish for.


Mira Ariel

Rachel Giora

Tal Siloni

Linguistics department


Linguist and left-wing peace activist Professor Tanya Reinhardt died in New York on Saturday at age 63.

Reinhardt, one of the most outspoken representatives of the radical Israeli left, was a fierce critic of the 1993 Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, saying they represented a perpetuation of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. She was also a proponent of an academic boycott of Israeli universities to protest the occupation.

After receiving a master`s degree at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Reinhardt wrote her doctoral thesis at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under renowned linguist Noam Chomsky.

Her contributions to linguistic theory dealt with the connection between meaning and context, and the interface between syntax and systems of sound.

From 1977, Reinhardt taught courses in linguistics and literature at Tel Aviv University, including classes in critical reading of media and the analysis of discourse based on Chomsky`s methods.

For the last 15 years she also taught at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

In December 2006, Reinhardt left Israel and settled in New York to teach at New York University.

Reinhardt and those close to her said the change in the university`s relationship to her was made in response to her statements calling for an academic boycott of Israel.

Reinhardt espoused the principle of non-violent resistance, and was among the leaders of the left-wing activists who called for boycotts of the 1996 and 2001 elections.

She was active in recent years in Israeli-Palestinian efforts against the West Bank separation fence and the seizure of land from Palestinians for its construction.

Reinhardt was married to poet and translator Aharon Shabtai.

Ilan Pappe
Hard to believe that we will all be able to continue this
struggle without Tanyas commonsensical, committed and humane
analysis and prognosis. The kind smile and warm embrace,
ideologically and personally, will be missed by all of us who are
committed for peace and justice in Palestine. We have been
orphaned today.
Avraham Oz

Tanya was a close friend and colleague since we both came back from our
studies abroad and joined the faculty of Tel Aviv University on 1977 - she
from the US, I from the UK; we were both among the founders of Forum -
radical faculty group at Tel Aviv University, politicizing the campus in the
late 70s and early 80s; of the Comittee for Solidarity with Bir Zeit; The
Committe against the War in Lebanon (1982); we were detained together at
Ramallah, and demonstrated together all over the West Bank. For years our
offices at the Dept of Poetics and Comp Lit at Tel Aviv University were
opposite each other, so we could converse from our desks if the doors were
open... We had our differences, and nuances, but more than everything we
shared a vision of peace. As Ilan says, one can hardly imagine the struggle
for peace without her, in the front line.


The sudden death of Tanya Reinhart was really shocking and saddening news.
She was an ardent activist calling for justice and peace in Palestine.

May God bless her soul, Nizar Sakhnini

The sane part of Israeli society and Israeli academia has suffered a major blow.

We will not forget Tanya, but will be weaker just when we need to be stronger.

Daniel Amit
Olivia Zemor

(translated by Robert Thompson)

We are going to miss Tanya Reinhart terribly badly.

We were staggered to learn of the sudden death of our friend Tanya Reinhart, yesterday in New York (she had a stroke). Words fail us because we are so stricken by the loss of our friend, of this great lady, of this indefatigable militant against the policy of the Israeli government towards the Palestinians, of this warm woman who never stopped denouncing injustice and lies, through her articles, her books, and her actions.

Ii is particularly difficult for us to speak of Tanya in the past tense. Tanya, who gave us so much pleasure when she came to the opening of the Rsistances book-shop in Paris on 7th December last, when she gave an extraordinary address with her companion, the great poet Aharon Shabtai. Tanya, who took part in all the battles against the colonisation and the occupation of Palestine, and who was one of the most lucid analysts of the criminal policy of her government.

Tanya Reinhart could have been content to be a brilliant linguist and to perfect her university career in Israel. But she made the choice of denouncing and resisting pressures. In her weekly column in the Israeli daily Yediot Ahoronot, as in her books, `Destroy Palestine` and `Sharon`s heritage`, she systematically painted a picture which made no concession to the terrible situation created by the rulers of her country, with a rare faculty for anticipating the future.

`Destroy Palestine` (in French `Detruire la Palestine` published by the Editions La Fabrique) is a masterly description of all the stratagems always used by the Israeli rulers to avoid engagement in a genuine peace process, and to make believe that this was the sole fault of the Palestinians. Tanya Reinhart especially examined in detail the 7 years during which the `Olso agreement` lasted and showed the contrast between what was presented as being the `generous offer` of Ehud Barak, and its reality. This was to show how the vice was being closed around the Palestinians during the same period (between 1993 and 2000), and the totally inacceptable `proposals` put forward by the Israelis, since they allowed for no viable Palestinian state which would instead find itself in pockets, without territorial continuity, and deprived of East Jerusalem.

More recently, Tanya Reinhart was the first to denounce the `red herring` of the announcement by Sharon of the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, in which she never believed. `Behind the smokescreen of the `withdrawal` from Gaza can be seen the transfer of the Palestinians`, she wrote, while our rulers praised the `great man of peace`.

Tanya was also one of the rare Israeli opposition personalities to support the boycott of her country`s institutions, especially the Universities. `We shall stop having to worry about the boycott when we respect international law`, she replied not only to the Israeli establishment, but also to that timid, supposedly pacifist, Israeli `left-wing` which accepted the impunity from which the state of Israel and all its institutions benefitted. Tanya Reinhart did not hesitate to give her support to the Paris 6 University, when its Administrative Council, in 2003, voted to surpend its special relations with Israeli Universities.

During her last lecture in France, on 7th December last at the Rsistances book-shop, she violently denounced the embargo imposed on the Palestinian people, explaining that the European countries, including France in which we live, had no right to cut off food supplies from the Palestinians. `It was not an act of generosity which Europe could either carry on or not`, she explained. `It was a choice which had been made to take on the obligations imposed by international law on the Israeli occupier to see to the well-being of the occupied populations. Europe chose not to oblige Israel to respect its obligations, and preferred to pay money to the Palestinians. When it put an end to this, it breached international law`.

Tired out, Tanya `apologised` for not having the strength to remain in Israel where, she let it be known, physical repression against genuine opponents had become more and more brutal. She had therefore decided to go to teach in the United States and had just settled in New York.

This marvellous woman, whom we had the joy of welcoming to several of our meetings and concerts, is going to be terribly badly missed by us. We express all our sadness and our sympathy to her companion, Aharon Shaba, a man with a great heart and talent.

We`ll organize an evening in her honour in Paris, at the Bookshop `Librairie
Resistances` on the 27th of March, from 7 pm.


Tanya Reinhart
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tanya Reinhart (died March 17th, 2007, at Long Island, USA) was an Israeli linguist who wrote frequently on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She contributed columns to the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot and longer articles to the CounterPunch, Znet, and Israeli Indymedia websites.

Reinhart studied philosophy and Hebrew literature at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem as an undergraduate, where she later received an M.A. in comparative literature and philosophy. In 1976 she obtained a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her thesis supervisor was Noam Chomsky.

Reinhart was a former professor of linguistics and literary theory at Tel-Aviv University. She is also a guest lecturer at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and ended her international career as Distinguished Global Professor at New York University (NYU).

For many years, Reinhart was an outspoken critic of Israel`s handling of the Palestinian problem. She argued that Israel should abandon the West Bank and Gaza:

Israel should withdraw immediately from the territories occupied in 1967. The bulk of Israeli settlers (150,000 of them) are concentrated in the big settlement blocks in the center of the West bank. These areas cannot be evacuated over night. But the rest of the land (about 90%96% of the West bank and the whole of the Gaza strip) can be evacuated immediately. Many of the residents of the isolated Israeli settlements that are scattered in these areas are speaking openly in the Israeli media about their wish to leave. It is only necessary to offer them reasonable compensation for the property they will be leaving behind. The rest << the hard-core `land redemptions` fanatics
>> are a negligible minority that will have to accept the will of the majority. [1]

Reinhart pointed out that immediate withdrawal would still leave under debate between six and ten percent of the West Bank with the large settlement blocks, as well as the issues of Jerusalem and the right of return, and maintains that these should be the subject of `serious peace negotiations`.

In 2002, Reinhart was heavily criticized in Israel for signing a European petition calling for a moratorium on European support of Israeli academia in protest of Israel`s Palestinian policies.

The same year, she also published a book, Israel/Palestine: How To End the War of 1948, in which she analyzed what she saw as the breakdown during the preceding three years of constructive engagement over the Palestinian issue and the hardening of the Israeli position.

Tanya Reinhart was married to Israeli writer Aharon Shabtai. She has been described as a post-Zionist.

Further reading

* Israel/Palestine : how to end the War of 1948, New York : Seven Stories Press, cop. 2002. - ISBN 1-58322-538-2
* The road map to nowhere : Israel/Palestine since 2003, London ; New York : Verso, 2006. - ISBN 1-84467-076-7

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