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. 

Update

BNC Responds to UN Head's Resignation Over Israel Apartheid Report

Dr. Rima Khalaf

Dr. Rima Khalaf
Dr. Rima Khalaf, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) from 2010 to 2017

March 17, 2017 - Earlier today, Dr. Rima Khalaf, Director of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), resigned from her post following pressure from the US and Israel over a report issued this week by ESCWA documenting Israel's apartheid policies towards the Palestinian people and encouraging support for the grassroots boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights and freedom. Dr. Khalaf explained her decision stating: “I resigned because it is my duty not to conceal a clear crime, and I stand by all the conclusions of the report.” 

In response to Dr. Khalaf's resignation, Mahmoud Nawajaa, the General Coordinator of the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) said

“The fact that a UN Secretary General has bowed to threats and intimidation from the Trump administration to protect Israel from accountability, yet again, is hardly news. The real news is that this time round, Israel, with all its influence in Washington, cannot put
the genie back into the bottle.

“ESCWA’s historic report has set two landmark precedents on Palestine. It is the first time any UN agency has established through a scrupulous and rigorous study that Israel has imposed an apartheid regime against the entire Palestinian people. Also, ESCWA’s advocacy of BDS as the most effective way to hold Israel accountable for its war crimes has set an important precedent in the US-dominated UN system.

“Palestinians are deeply grateful to ESCWA’s director, Dr. Rima Khalaf, who preferred to resign in dignity than to surrender her principles to US-Israeli bullying. At our darkest moment of Israel’s escalating repression, including of nonviolent human rights defenders, ongoing theft of Palestinian land, and worsening apartheid policies, Palestinians are hopeful that this groundbreaking report heralds the approaching dawn of a new era where Israel's regime of injustice will be held accountable through sanctions and other measures, as was done against apartheid South Africa."​
 

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) is the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society that leads and supports the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Visit www.bdsmovement.net and follow @BDSmovement


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