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. 

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Anish Kapoor has gifted a PR victory to Israel

‘For as long as artists like Kapoor continue to accept these obscenely large gifts, they gift Israel the social licence to pursue its ongoing dispossession of Palestinians'

Anish Kapoor.jpg

Rob Stothard/Getty Images

Anish Kapoor accepts Israel’s $1m Genesis prize and makes a heartfelt statement about the plight of refugees – but fails to mention the word “Palestinian” (Kapoor uses prize to protest at ‘exclusionist’ refugee policies, 6 February). Predictably, his words have been packaged by the prize organisers (co-sponsored by the office of the Israeli prime minister) for a global audience, and they have provided Israel with a $1m PR victory.

It’s laudable that Kapoor wishes to give the prize money to refugee support. But given that Palestinians form one of the largest and most longstanding refugee populations on the planet, and given that the Genesis prize rewards “commitment to the state of Israel”, it’s perhaps unsurprising that Kapoor’s call for empathy for refugees has been used to improve Israel’s poor image abroad and promote empathy for Israel at the expense of its victims.

For as long as artists like Kapoor continue to accept these obscenely large gifts, they gift Israel the social licence to pursue its ongoing dispossession of Palestinians.
Miranda Pennell and John Smith (artists)


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