Tanya Reinhart

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Tanya Reinhart

Tanya Reinhart (Hebrew: טניה ריינהרט‎; July 1943 – March 17, 2007) 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 was born in 1943 in Haifa in Mandate Palestine. She 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 was also a guest lecturer at Duke University[1] and at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and ended her international career as Global Distinguished Professor at New York University (NYU).

She died of a stroke in her sleep on March 17, 2007 in New York. She was 63 years old.[2][3][4][5] Reinhart is buried in Israel.

Professional work[edit]

Noam Chomsky has described Reinhart's contributions to the field of linguistics as "original and highly influential," particularly regarding "syntactic structure and operations, referential dependence, principles of lexical semantics and their implications for syntactic organization, unified approaches to cross-linguistic semantic interpretation of complex structures that appear superficially to vary widely, the theory of stress and intonation, efficient parsing systems, the interaction of internal computations with thought and sensorimotor systems, optimal design as a core principle of language, and much else."[6]

Reinhart's academic work also extended well beyond the field of linguistics, to that of literary theory, mass media, propaganda, and other core elements of intellectual culture.[6]

Political activism[edit]

Chomsky has noted Reinhart's activism was not limited to words and that she was often on "the front line of direct resistance to intolerable actions, an organizer and a participant, a stance that one cannot respect too highly."[6] Commenting on her death, he wrote that Reinhart would be remembered "not only as a resolute and honorable defender of the rights of Palestinians, but also as one of those who have struggled to defend the moral integrity of her own Israeli society, and its hope for decent survival."[6]

Reinhart was an outspoken critic of Israel's policies in the 1967-occupied territories. 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.[7]

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.

Reinhart gave the 2006 Edward Said Memorial Lecture at Adelaide University.[8]

In December 2006, Reinhart moved to New York saying she could no longer live in Israel due to its treatment of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.[9]

Tanya Reinhart was married to Israeli writer Aharon Shabtai. Reinhardt was an anti-Zionist and was considered more radical in her political views than many other left-wing activists.[10]

Further reading[edit]

  • 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

Selected publications in linguistics[edit]

  • 1976. The Syntactic Domain of Anaphora. Ph. D. dissertation, MIT.
  • 1981. "Definite NP-anaphora and c-command domains". Linguistic Inquiry 12:605-635.
  • 1983. Anaphora and Semantic Interpretation. London: Croom Helm.
  • 1993. "Reflexivity" (with Eric Reuland). Linguistic Inquiry 24:657-720.
  • 1993. "The innateness of binding and coreference" (with Yosef Grodzinsky). Linguistic Inquiry 24:69-101.
  • 1995. "Interface strategies". OTS Working Papers in Linguistics.
  • 1997. "Quantifier scope: how labor is divided between QR and choice functions". Linguistics and Philosophy 20:335-397.
  • 1998. "Scrambling and the PF interface" (with Ad Neeleman). In: W. Cobler & M. Butt (eds.), Projecting from the Lexicon. Stanford: CSLI.
  • 1998. "Wh-in-situ in the framework of the minimalist program". Natural Language Semantics.
  • 2000. "Strategies of anaphora resolution". In: H. Bennis, M. Everaert & E. Reuland (eds.), Interface Strategies.
  • 2002. "The Theta System: an overview". Theoretical Linguistics 28:229-290.
  • 2006. Interface Strategies: Reference-set Computation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.


  1. ^ Speaker Urges Boycott of Israel Duke News, 23 November 2004
  2. ^ Haaretz Staff,'Tanya Reinhardt, linguist and peace activist, dies at 63,' 19 March, 2007.
  3. ^ Victoria Brittain, 'Tanya Reinhart: A versatile Israeli academic,' at The Guardian, 21 March, 2007.
  4. ^ Margalit Fox, 'Tanya Reinhart, 63, Pundit on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Dies', , at New York Times, 23 March,2007.
  5. ^ Daphna Baram, 'Tanya Reinhart, linguist and ardent critic of Israel,' at The Independent, 31 March, 2007.
  6. ^ a b c d "In Memory of Tanya Reinhart" Noam Chomsky, 19 March 2007
  7. ^ Israel/Palestine: How To End The War Of 1948, Znet, November 08, 2002
  8. ^ "About the Edward Said Memorial Lecture". University of Adelaide. Retrieved 2009-10-17. 
  9. ^ Israeli Author, Peace Activist Tanya Reinhart Dies at 63, Democracy Now, March 19, 2007
  10. ^ Prof Tania Reinhardt, linguist and activist, dies in New York, Yediot Aharonot, March 19, 2007. The description is that of Uri Avnery.

External links[edit]