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

Call out: Turning the tide against Israel's criminal repression

October 21, 2015



  • Solidarity with the Palestinian popular resistance! Cut all military ties with Israel!



  • Solidarity with the Palestinian popular resistance! Cut all military ties with Israel!
  • 100 cities across 25 countries joined #SolidarityWaveBDS actions over the weekend
  • Turning media bias around is key objective in #SolidarityWaveBDS actions. Check out our new Q&A.

Palestinians are continuing to confront Israel’s occupation and apartheid policies at demonstrations and with myriad creative actions that are taking place at more than 65 locations across historic Palestine and in neighbouring Arab countries. Some demonstrations have attracted more than 20,000 people.

This uprising is led by a generation of fearless young Palestinian Davids who are no longer intimidated by the brutality of the Israeli Goliath and who are asserting their right to self-determination and freedom. It comes as a response to the escalation of Israel’s criminal attacks on and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

Israel’s response to this mass popular rebellion against its oppression has been criminal and ruthless. Since October 1st, more than 49 Palestinians have been killed, including 10 children, shot by Israeli occupation forces during protests or executed. A further 500 Palestinians have been injured by live ammunition and rubber-coated metal bullets, among thousands of other injuries. Israel has also escalated its collective punishment against Palestinian communities, especially in occupied East Jerusalem, including the Old City, and Hebron.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), a broad coalition of Palestinian unions and organisations which leads the global BDS movement, called last week for a wave of BDS solidarity with Palestinian popular resistance to injustice. The #SolidarityWaveBDS specifically called on people of conscience to translate their solidarity into campaigning pressure on governments, institutions and corporations to end their role in Israel’s egregious violations of international law.

The wave of solidarity that is unfolding across the globe is impressive. Tens of thousands of people across 100 cities took to the streets to show Israel that it will be held to account for its crimes against the Palestinians. But mainstream media coverage has remained largely biased, parroting Israel’s propaganda, removing the current Palestinian upheaval from its context of Israeli colonialism, and inverting the roles of victim and perpetrator.

The BNC hopes to work with activists and international civil society to ensure that popular protests and actions in support of Palestinian popular resistance continue to grow and to integrate media outreach. The voice of the Palestinian people and of the millions around the world that support our struggle for freedom, justice and dignity must become focused and loud enough to counter the well-oiled Israeli propaganda machine and break through the prevailing media bias. Let us also enhance our advantage in social media and use that to offset the imbalance in corporate media.

Most urgently, let us up the pressure on governments and companies to cut their ties with Israel’s military, weapons companies and military research facilities. As the struggle against apartheid South Africa proves, a military embargo is necessary to weaken the regime of oppression.

When Israel attacks Palestinian protestors, killing them in the street, it uses weapons imported from around the world. When it imposes effective lock downs on entire neighbourhoods and suffocates the Palestinian population in Jerusalem to force them to push them out of the occupied city, it tests and develops new and more sophisticated repression and control mechanisms and technologies that it then sells as “field tested” at high profits. Israel is exporting its patently criminal model of militarization and securitization, bolstering repression and discriminatory policies around the globe.

By importing arms from Israel, exporting arms to it, or conducting joint military research with its universities, governments and institutions are enabling Israel’s ongoing regime of oppression and giving it a green light to act with impunity.

Let us join together to continue our wave of solidarity with the Palestinian popular struggle and take action to end international support for Israel’s system of occupation, apartheid and settler-colonialism.

Ideas for action:

  • Organise a protest or visually exciting, creative action in solidarity with Palestinian popular struggle. Take steps to ensure your actions are covered in the media and shared through social media. Please use the #SolidarityWaveBDS hashtag.
  • Tell us about your actions using this form and send photos to We'll continue to promote the actions taking place around the world and spread photos of actions.
  • Use our new Q&A to try to counter some of the falsehoods and bias circulating in the media through social media, media interviews, opinion articles, etc.
  • Ensure that calls for a comprehensive military embargo is a key demand of all protests.
  • Pressure parliaments to impose a military embargo on Israel, particularly if they have or are in the process of developing military relations with Israel.
  • Campaign against Israeli military companies such as Elbit Systems.
  • Support and launch boycott and divestment campaigns against complicit companies, such as G4S and HP, that are most blatantly complicit in Israel’s infrastructure of oppression.
  • Pass effective and strategic, not just symbolic, BDS resolutions in unions, academic associations, student governments and social movements that can lead to concrete measures, and enhance the cultural boycott of Israel.
October 21, 2015


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