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PACBI-A Tribute to Tanya Reinhart, a Fellow Fighter for Justice and Genuine Peace


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March 24, 2007

A Tribute to Tanya Reinhart, a Fellow Fighter for Justice and Genuine Peace

Clichés can hardly ever express sincere emotions of loss and grief. But, in this situation, we in PACBI find ourselves compelled to repeat one in eulogizing our dear comrade, Tanya Reinhart: Tanya will always be remembered by her rich legacy and her exceptionally courageous struggle for a just peace, particularly endorsing institutional boycott against her own academy.

In May 2002, long before the Palestinian call for academic boycott of Israel was issued [1], and in support of the early British efforts to impose a moratorium on the European Union’s scientific association with Israel, Tanya Reinhart was a pioneer in laying the logical and political foundations for what later developed into an institutional academic boycott movement. In a letter refuting the anti-boycott arguments of her fellow Israeli academic, Baruch Kimmerling, Tanya wrote with her typical clarity and resoluteness [2]:

“I have no doubt that you supported the South Africa boycott. Where we may differ is in the question whether the Israeli case is sufficiently similar. I believe that even much before its present atrocities, Israel has followed faithfully the South-African Apartheid model. Since Oslo, Israel has been pushing the Palestinians in the occupied territories into smaller and smaller isolated enclaves, promising, in return, to consider calling these enclaves, in some future, a Palestinian ‘state’ -- a direct copy of the Bantustans model. … Unlike South Africa, however, Israel has managed so far to sell its policy as a big compromise for peace. Aided by a battalion of cooperating ‘peace-camp’ intellectuals, they managed to convince the world that it is possible to establish a Palestinian state without land-reserves, without water, without a glimpse of a chance of economic independence, in isolated ghettos surrounded by fences, settlements, bypass roads and Israeli army posts -- a virtual state which serves one purpose: separation (Apartheid).”

She went even further, arguing:

“But no matter what you think of the Oslo years, what Israel is doing now exceeds the crimes of South Africa's white regime. It has started to take the form of systematic ethnic cleansing, which South Africa never attempted. After thirty-five years of occupation, it is completely clear that the only two choices the Israeli political system has generated for the Palestinians are Apartheid or ethnic cleansing (‘transfer’). Apartheid is the 'enlightened' Labor party's program (as in their Alon or Oslo plan), while the other pole is advocating slow suffocation of the Palestinians, until the eventual ‘transfer’ (mass expulsion) can be accomplished.”

And her damning conclusion was:

“If in extreme situations of violations of human rights and moral principles, the academia refuses to criticize and take a side, it collaborates with the oppressing system.”

Tanya Reinhart was one of the few Israeli academics to refuse complicity in perpetuating the state's colonial and apartheid policies. Though we've lost a remarkable ally and colleague, we are committed to continuing our civil struggle to bring about an end to Israel’s oppression and colonial rule. We call upon people of conscience the world over to carry on Tanya’s legacy by joining us in this struggle.

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[1] [url=http://www.pacbi.org/campaign_statement.htm]http://www.pacbi.org/campaign_statement.htm[/url]
[2] [url=http://www.mediamonitors.net/tanya13.html]http://www.mediamonitors.net/tanya13.html[/url]

Posted on 23-03-2007


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