From Gaza, with Love

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Tanya Reinhart by Victoria Britain,,2038868,00.html

Tanya Reinhart

A versatile Israeli academic, she spoke out against
the conflict with Palestine

Victoria Brittain
Wednesday March 21, 2007
The Guardian

The distinguished Israeli professor of linguistics
Tanya Reinhart, who has died suddenly aged 63, was
even better known for her prolific writing on the
Israeli/Palestinian conflict, her searing criticism of
her own country, and her role as an activist,
including her support for an academic boycott of
Israel. She was a woman of immense bravery, and
believed that fierce criticism of Israel "is the best
act of solidarity and compassion with the Jews that
one can have".
She was born in Israel, and brought up in Haifa by her
mother, a communist and single parent. At the Hebrew
University, Jerusalem, she gained a BA in philosophy
and Hebrew literature in 1967 followed by an MA in
philosophy and comparative literature. She was
politically active with both the Communist party and
the Young Communist league.

She went to study in the US, and in 1976 gained a PhD
in linguistics at Massachusetts Institute of
Technology (MIT), where her supervisor was Noam
Chomsky. On hearing of her death, he described her as
an "old and cherished friend" and paid tribute both to
her academic work and the political writing on her own
society, which "drew away the veil that concealed
criminal and outrageous actions and shone a searing
light on the reality that was obscured".

Reinhart taught at Tel Aviv University for more than
20 years, and held a chair as professor of linguistics
and cultural studies. She was a multi-disciplinarian
and also taught and published on art, literature and
media studies. Those who attended her media studies
lectures remember how, amid fierce debate, students'
mindsets and lives were changed by her analysis,
encouraging them to read between the lines of their
country's writers. Her moral indignation flared
quickly, but she was also given to long and patient
discussions with her students.

She taught too at MIT; Columbia University, New York;
the University of Paris; and for 15 years was linked
to the University of Utrecht. Her contribution to
linguistic theory lay in the connection between
meaning and context and the interface between syntax
and systems of sound. Her most recent academic book,
Interface Strategies, was published last year, and she
was on the editorial board of several academic
journals in various linguistic disciplines.

Reaching to other audiences, she was a columnist for
the Israeli paper Yediot Aharnot and for the radical
online magazine, Counterpunch. Her most recent
political book, The Roadmap to Nowhere, was also
published last year.

She came to see parallels with apartheid South Africa,
writing in 2003: "What Israel is doing under Ariel
Sharon far exceeds the crimes of the South Africa's
white regime. It has been taking the form of
systematic ethnic cleansing, which South Africa never
attempted." It was the analogy between Israel and
South Africa's apartheid that she used in justifying
the academic boycott movement of recent years.

With great understatement she commented, also in 2003:
"It is not easy for an Israeli academic to support the
calls for boycott of Israeli academic institutions
these days. Like any other segment of the Israeli
society, the universities are paying the price of
Israel's war against the Palestinians, with severe
budget cuts and deteriorating research conditions. A
freeze of the EU funds would, no doubt, make things
even tougher. It is therefore understandable that the
Israeli academia is mobilising its forces to attack
any such boycott attempt. Understandable, but not

Reinhart's passionate calls for justice for the
Palestinians made her a sought-after speaker
internationally, and last October she gave the Edward
Said Memorial lecture at Adelaide University in
Australia. In her memorable final speech in France,
last December at the Résistances bookshop in Paris,
she roundly denounced the embargo imposed on the
Palestinians since the election of a Hamas government
in January 2006. European countries, including France,
she said, had no right to cut off food supplies to the
Palestinians. "It was not an act of generosity which
Europe could either carry on or not - Europe chose not
to force Israel to respect its obligations under
international law."

She was not only a writer, but also a frontline
activist. Over the years she organised solidarity
campaigns with Palestinian academics at Birzeit
University on the West Bank, and against the Israeli
occupation of Lebanon. Many friends and colleagues
described countless visits with her to the occupied
Palestinian territories, and the demonstrations and
detentions which were part of them. Her like-minded
academic colleagues, Avraham Oz and Ilan Pappe, are
feeling "orphaned" by her sudden death.

Most recently she was active in protests against the
building of the long partition wall and the annexing
of Palestinian land for it. She never tired of taking
visitors to see the reality of lost livelihoods and
unviable lives the wall has created for tens of
thousands of Palestinians literally immured in
villages without land in the latest Israeli scheme to
create facts on the ground and prevent the emergence
of a Palestinian state.

Reinhart was an optimist however, and last October
wrote that "persistent struggle can have an effect,
and can lead governments to act. Such struggle begins
with the Palestinian people, who have withstood years
of brutal oppression, and who, through their spirit of
zumud - sticking to their land - and daily endurance,
organising and resistance, have managed to keep the
Palestinian cause alive, something that not all
oppressed nations have managed to do."

She also believed in the modest role of international
solidarity movements, "that send their people to the
occupied territories and stand in vigils at home,
professors signing boycott petitions, subjecting
themselves to daily harassment, a few courageous
journalists that insist on covering the truth, against
the pressure of acquiescent media and pro-Israel
lobbies. Often this struggle for justice seems futile.
Nevertheless, it has penetrated global consciousness."

In 2006 she was ousted by what she felt to be
bureaucratic harassment from her post at Tel Aviv
University, and with great regret decided to leave
Israel. She died in her sleep in New York, where she
had immediately been offered a teaching post at New
York University. She is survived by her husband, the
Hebrew language poet Aharon Shabtai

· Tanya Reinhart, academic and human rights
campaigner, born 1944; died March 17 2007



  • Introduction

    Thanks to Mona for publishing my 3 previous comments. I was not expecting they would be published at all.

    This comment is about

    There are a group od Israeli jews one could call self Hating Jews.
    For them Israel is guilty of every crime.
    Reinhart was one of such people.
    Many of those fellows are well placed Israeli academics or Jewish Academics.
    European media does love such people and often quote them and praise them.

    2 Criticism of Reinhart.

    Back in 2002 in a interview Reinhart does sugest that there was a cover up in israel to hide what had happenned in Jenin.

    As everyone does know israeli troops enter in Jenin at the end of march 2002 , and 2 weeks of fighting did follow.

    In the interview Reinhart does say :


    Apparently, no one in Israel was particularly concerned at the time about issues of international law, war crimes and mass graves.Israeli TV even showed, the evening before, refrigerator trucks that were waiting outside the Jenin camp to transfer bodies to “terrorist cemeteries”. It was only after international attention began to focus on Jenin that this information was quickly concealed and reinterpreted using any absurd reasoning to explain that nothing of the sort had ever happened.


    Reinhart does refer to the mass graves as if they were a hard fact . She also claimed there was a cover up in Israel when it comes to Jenin massacres.

    These allegations were totally untrue.

    No mass graves were ever found in jenin.
    Besides ,in 2002, a fatah oficial conceaded that there had been no massacre in Jenin.

    Palestinian Fatah investigators claimed the death toll is 56, announced by Kadoura Moussa

    End of quote.

    Later in the year
    a UN report reached the same conclusion : No massacre had taken place in Jenin and the number of palestinian dead were slightly more than 50 .

    There were no mass graves.

    In the UN Report one can read

    57 .....Human rights organizations put the civilian toll closer to 20 - Human Rights Watch documented 22 civilians among the 52 dead...

    Click here to read the UN jenin report

    In the interview Reinhart just repeated false claims that there had been a massacre in Jenin.
    Such claims were spreading around at the time but they were baselless.

    Reinhard instead of taking and hard look at these false alegations , just repeated them.

    Click here to read a Reinhard interview in full
    How To End The War of 1948


    When it comes to predicting the future Reinhard was also wrong.

    A couple of months after Sharon announced he would dismantle Gaza setlements
    Reinhard claimed Sharon would never leave Gaza .

    Click here to read Reinhard article in full

    "Sharon Gaza Pullout : Not Gonna Happen !!!!"

    Such is the title of a Reinhard article, november 2004.

    QUOTE :

    Deception and lies have been a corner stone
    in Israeli policy, brought to a new level of
    perfection since Oslo. While the world believed
    that Rabin promised to eventually end the occupation
    and dismantle the settlements, the number of Israeli
    settlers actually doubled during his rule. At the
    same time that Barak declared he intended to
    dismantle the Golan Heights settlements, in 1999,
    he actually poured money into their expansion.
    As Sharon promised to dismantle at least the
    illegal settlement posts in the West Bank,
    their number kept increasing. Still, none of this is ever remembered. Each new lie is
    received with welcome cheers by the Israeli
    peace camp and by European governments.
    Since Oslo, every Israeli government knows
    that all it takes, to ease diplomatic pressure,
    is to come up with a new "peace plan".

    (end of quote )

    Reinhard claimed Sharon would never dismantle the setlemments.

    She was wrong.

    Click here to read a longer article about Reinhard gaza predictions

    3 Conclusion :

    There is a group of Jews whose favorite past time is to attack israel.
    Reinhard was one of those persons.

    In the Guardian article about Reinhard there was no mention of these episodes in wich reinhard completely does miss the point.

    The Guardian and many other european media are always ready to side with (and praise )those who point the finger at israel .

    Back in 2002 the Guardian was actually one of the newspapers that published an article claiming that in Jenin there was a massacre going on.

    By Blogger solitarioh2005, at 3/27/2007 3:36 AM  

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