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

Deutsche Bahn pulls out of illegal A1 rail project

May 10, 2011
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Media outlets are today reporting on the successful BDS campaign against Israel's illegal A1 train project.

The Financial Times reports:

Deutsche Bahn, the German railway operator, has pulled out of an Israeli project that cuts through the occupied Palestinian West Bank, after pressure from activists and Berlin.

The move marks a victory for pro-Palestinian groups and their so-called boycott, divestment and sanctions

Media outlets are today reporting on the successful BDS campaign against Israel's illegal A1 train project.

The Financial Times reports:

Deutsche Bahn, the German railway operator, has pulled out of an Israeli project that cuts through the occupied Palestinian West Bank, after pressure from activists and Berlin.

The move marks a victory for pro-Palestinian groups and their so-called boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign, which tries to use economic pressure on Israel to help the Palestinian cause.

Campaigners were angered by the activities of Deutsche Bahn’s international consulting arm, which provided advice on the electrification of the new track linking Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The high-speed line, due to be completed by 2017, has attracted sharp criticism from Palestinian officials because a 6-km stretch cuts through the West Bank.

In February, the German transport minister wrote to Deutsche Bahn, a state owned company, to express the view that the A1 train project "is a problematic venture and a potential violation of international law, touching on questions of status". The ministry subsequently informed a member of parliament that Deutsche Bahn had ended its involvement in the project after the government raised its concerns. This is one of the first known government interventions relating corporate complicity with Israeli violations of international law.

German BDS campaigners and the Coalition of Women for Peace have been targeting Deutsche Bahn over their involvement in the project.

In Italy, a broad coalition has been formed to oppose the involvement of Parma based Pizzarotti in the project.

The story has been covered by a variety of other media outlets including the Associated Press and the Washington Times.

May 10, 2011
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