Let’s Talk: The Roots of and Solutions for Palestine

Kochi Biennale Foundation hosted conversation on the Israel-Palestine question

Kochi, July 19: Lending nuance and context to one of the most enduring and emotive conflicts, eminent Israeli scholar Prof. Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin and distinguished cultural theorist Ashis Nandy critically examined the Israel-Palestine conflict over an evening discussion here on Tuesday.

The riveting chat was the highlight of the latest installment of the Kochi Biennale Foundation’s (KBF) popular ‘Let’s Talk’ public conversation series. Titled ‘Decolonisation: a Palestine-Israel Perspective’, the event drew a packed room at the BTH as two formidable thinkers took a scalpel to the quagmire.

Prior to the discussion, Prof. Raz-Krakotzkin – an authority on Zionist historiography and historical consciousness, among other subjects – framed the Palestine question within the discourse of decolonisation, delving into the legacy of the ‘lines in the sand’ drawn by imperial powers.

“Despite being heavily armed, Israelis live in permanent fear. They want to be part of the peace process. Both the political right and left wings, which claim to be secular and nationalist, eventually work for the partition of Israel and Palestine,” said Prof. Raz-Krakotzkin.

The talk then veered towards finding a possible roadmap for resolution of the political imbroglio, calling for the so-called ‘one-state solution’, or binationalism, to form the conceptual basis for the peace process rather than a bifurcation of Israel and Palestine.

“The whole issue is not between Jews and Arabs, but between Palestinians itself. They have the right to elect and to be elected, but withdraw during crucial times. The young generations don’t come forward to speak just because they get victimised,” said Krakotzin.

The subsequent conversation saw Nandy comment on the twin issues of nationalism and patriotism. “V.D. Savarkar wanted a European-style nation in India and a European-style nationalism among Hindus. But India was more patriotic than nationalistic. All communities that did not fit into the idea of a nation were mistreated and colonised by Europe and North America,” Prof Nandy said.

He added, “Rabindranath Tagore wanted India to build a different kind of fondness: for our country to be more nationalistic than patriotic. Palestinian is the perfect example of hyper nationalism.”

The event was hosted by the KBF with the support of the Backwaters Collective – a prominent academic community of which Nandy is a member – and the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art.

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