Palestinian BNC Mourns Loss of Anti-Apartheid Icon Ahmed Kathrada

March 28, 2017, Occupied Palestine —The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) has heard with great sadness the news of Comrade Ahmed Kathrada’s passing. Mr. Kathrada, born to an Indian Muslim family, was the most prominent Asian South African in the movement to end apartheid, the system of racial discrimination, segregation and white dominance that existed in South Africa until it was defeated in 1994.

Comrade Kathrada was also an active and consistent supporter of the Palestinian struggle for freedom. He visited Palestine, and saw the apartheid system we endure for himself. He said when in Palestine: "In our short stay here we have seen and heard enough to conclude that Apartheid has been reborn here. In its reborn form it is however worse than its predecessor. Even during the worst days of Apartheid we did not have walls to divide and control people, we also did not have separate roads for separate races, and we did not have the system of checkpoints that exist here."

The Foundation which bears his name engages in activities in support of Israeli Apartheid Week, which aims to raise awareness of Israel's apartheid policies towards Palestinians. It also supports the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights, believing that this is the way to bring an end to Israel's apartheid policies and violations of international law. 

Kathrada’s own long imprisonment — 26 years and 3 months — alongside the anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela and his lifelong struggle against apartheid and injustice are an example to all Palestinians that integrity and perseverance will lead to justice and freedom.

The BDS movement is working to increase international civil society and government support for the Palestinian struggle for justice. We were honored to count Comrade Kathrada as a supporter of our struggle and remain inspired by his life.

We send out our condolences to his family, friends, comrades and all South Africans during these difficult days.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) is the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society. It leads and supports the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. 

In the News

Activists Target Hewlett Packard: “Shoppers, don’t support Israeli Apartheid!”

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[USACBI] On Labor Day, September 6, 2010, about 40 local activists took part in the growing consumer boycott of Israeli goods with lively “back to school” actions at Best Buy and Office Depot in Emeryville. The actions focused on Hewlett Packard (HP), a multinational corporation based in Palo Alto, whose Enterprise Services “Basel System” technology is utilized by the Israeli state at military checkpoints in the West Bank and Gaza. The checkpoints restrict Palestinian freedom of movement; they keep students from getting to school, prevent workers from reaching their places of employment, restrict farmers’ access to their land, enforce separations between families, and often make it impossible for Palestinians to access necessary medical care.

Activists performed a choreographed dance to Aretha Franklin’s song “Think” – with a rewritten set of lyrics and distributed flyers with the theme “Think Before You Ink”. They interacted with back-to-school shoppers about HP’s “Basel System”, letting HP’s customers know that HP profits from Israeli apartheid with the sale of this technology to Israel. They also said that HP’s ‘socially responsible’ rhetoric will not hide the blood that is on their hands.

Yesterday’s action was part of the international movement to support Palestinian civil society’s call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against the Israeli state. BDS is a movement that is rapidly gaining moment and spreading on a global scale. Just last week, the Chilean Parliament decided to adopt the boycott of products made in Israeli settlements. In July, the Olympia Food Coop became the first U.S. grocery store to publicly remove Israeli products from their shelves. Last month, the Norwegian state pension fund announced that it was selling its holdings in Africa Israel and in its subsidiary Danya Cebus due to their involvement in settlement construction in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

The Bay Area Campaign to End Israel Apartheid, (BACEIA), a local grassroots effort to engage people in ending Israeli apartheid through BDS, coordinated the actions and has developed a list of products to boycott in the Bay Area which is available at BACEIA is comprised of a number of organizations including Break the Siege; International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network; Global Women’s Strike; Don’t Buy into Israeli Apartheid; and Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism.

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This article was originally published on the USACBI website at

September 13, 2010


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