Tony Judt, historian and scholar, dies


(JTA) — History scholar and writer Tony Judt, a vocal critic of Israel after having lived there, has died.

Judt, who had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, died last Friday at his home in New York, New York University announced. He was 62.

Judt, a London native, had been a professor at NYU since 1987. He was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for his 2005 book "Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945," a 900-page history of modern Europe.  

He wrote essays for the New York Review of Books, as well as The New Republic, The Times Literary Supplement and The London Review of Books, several in recent years critical of Israel. A recent series of essays dealt with living with ALS.

Judt, a one-time Zionist who while living in Israel served as a translator for the Israel Defense Forces during and after the Six-Day War, wrote an essay in 2003 calling for a one-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Leon Wieseltier, the literary editor of The New Republic, said in 2006 that Judt “has become precisely the kind of intellectual whom his intellectual heroes would have despised.”

Judt, in response, reportedly said, "Oh, that’s nuts. The issue is not whether Israel has a right to exist. The question is what kind of a state Israel should be. That’s all."

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