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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Ashton Kutcher confronted by protester at Airbnb event

November 19, 2016
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Actor Ashton Kutcher has defended the home-sharing site Airbnb after he was confronted on stage by a protester.

The Hollywood star, who is an investor in the company, was speaking at an event in Los Angeles when he was interrupted by a woman holding a sign which read "Airbnb out of settlements".

The protester, Ariel Gold, said she wanted Ashton to "use his power and influence" to remove Airbnb's listings in Israeli-occupied territories in the West Bank and address the firm's role in the "affordable housing crisis".

Ashton approached Ms Gold after she walked on to the stage at the Orpheum theatre and insisted the firm did not discriminate and brought people "together in a peaceful unity".

"Let me explain to you what Airbnb means to me," he said.

"We can get to know each other intimately and understand our collective narrative as a narrative for everyone and that we can all belong in a world together without borders."

Ms Gold, from campaign group Code Pink, said outside the theatre that she believed "Palestinian human rights should mean more than entrepreneurship".

She told the Press Association: "I took to the stage to ask Airbnb to remove their listings from Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. I think Ashton Kutcher needs to use his power and influence in the company to pressure Airbnb to finally remove these listings.

"We're entering an administration which we expect to be horrible for Palestinian human rights. It's more important now that people rise up and demand equality and freedom and justice for all people, from Palestine to Los Angeles."

"Airbnb is also complicit with displacement in Los Angeles. While I was on stage, there was a large demonstration and march going on led by United asking Airbnb to change their role in the gentrification happening in LA and the affording housing crisis.

"The way Airbnb is marketing itself as the sharing economy is not actually what's taking place. People right here in Los Angeles are suffering."

Code Pink, which describes itself as a "grassroots peace and social justice movement", said on Twitter that the demonstration was staged to demand Airbnb stop listing "stolen homes in illegal settlements".

November 19, 2016
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