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

Jewish Voice for Peace Statement on BDS

Summary: JVP has grown dramatically in size and influence in the past two years. As part of the ongoing assessment sparked by this growth, JVP reviewed its BDS policy. On the basis of an organization-wide conversation about BDS, we have refined our position while maintaining our strategy. JVP shares the aims of the Palestinian Boycott National Committee -- ending the occupation, achieving equality for Palestinians now living in Israel, and recognizing Palestinian refugees' right of return.

Summary: JVP has grown dramatically in size and influence in the past two years. As part of the ongoing assessment sparked by this growth, JVP reviewed its BDS policy. On the basis of an organization-wide conversation about BDS, we have refined our position while maintaining our strategy. JVP shares the aims of the Palestinian Boycott National Committee -- ending the occupation, achieving equality for Palestinians now living in Israel, and recognizing Palestinian refugees' right of return. JVP focuses our efforts on boycott and divestment campaigns that directly target Israel's occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and its blockade of the Gaza Strip. We believe this to be the most effective way for JVP to help bring about the aims we share with the Palestinian BDS call.

JVP is dedicated to promoting full equality and democracy for all Israelis and Palestinians. We believe that an enduring peace will remain out of reach until Palestinians as well as Israelis can negotiate from positions of strength. This requires a shift from the prevailing imbalance of power. JVP fully endorses the use of nonviolent strategies to achieve this shift. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, of which JVP is a part, plays a central role in this work.

Palestinian activists have long engaged in non-violent resistance to the Israeli occupation and to Israel’s institutional, legal, and societal discrimination against its Palestinian citizens, but they have been subjected to repressive measures by Israel, and in the past, the impact of their actions has been diminished by the international media’s focus on violent resistance.

Since 2005, Palestinians, Israeli allies and hundreds of thousands of supporters worldwide have been mobilized in response to the Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns. These campaigns include: economic, cultural and academic boycotts of West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements, and of Israel itself; divestment from companies that profit from Israel's violations of international law and Palestinian human rights; and calls for economic sanctions against Israel.

The Palestinian civil society BDS call, now led by the Palestinian Boycott National Committee on behalf of its constituent organizations and unions, which represent the majority of Palestinian civil society, has three stated goals:

  • an end to the occupation;
  • equality for Palestinians now living in Israel; and
  • recognition of Palestinian refugees' right of return.

We share these aims, and believe that they can and must, in the end, be achieved in mutually-agreed ways that uphold the well-being of Palestinians and Israelis alike.

As a force of U.S.-based Jews and allies, JVP has considered the full range of BDS campaigns, and has chosen to focus our efforts on boycott and divestment campaigns that directly target Israel's occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and its blockade of the Gaza Strip. We believe this to be the most effective way for JVP to help bring about the aims we share with the Palestinian BDS call.

In solidarity with the Palestinian Boycott National Committee and other Israeli and Palestinian civil society organizations, JVP has initiated and sustained the largest divestment campaign mounted in the United States for Palestinian human rights -– the growing movement to induce investment giant TIAA-CREF to divest of its holdings in companies that profit from the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and its blockade of the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Boycott National Committee stands fully behind the JVP-initiated TIAA-CREF campaign, and has urged “all groups working on boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns in the U.S., especially on university campuses, to endorse this campaign and join it, whenever possible, to amplify its reach and impact across the U.S.”

JVP has issued guidelines to support our chapters in engaging in BDS campaigns at a local level through work with coalitions of concerned activists.

JVP rejects the assertion that BDS is inherently anti-Semitic. We will defend activists around the world who employ the full range of BDS tactics when they are demonized or wrongly accused of anti-Semitism.

After strategic and ethical analysis and organization-wide deliberation among our members, JVP affirms our role in the larger BDS movement. We are committed to a continuing review of our role that takes into account the evolving political situation, the growing BDS movement, and the responses of JVP’s constituency and the people to whom we speak.

Original Link: http://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/content/jvp-issues#1


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