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

Major boycott of Israel victory as PSI congress adopts boycott resolution

A major boycott of Israel victory has been achieved in Durban, South Africa. One of the largest international trade unions, the Public Services International (PSI), at its recent World Congress (27-30 November) voted to fully support and advance the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign. The PSI World Congress also adopted a resolution to promote and partake-in the annual awareness-raising initiative, the annual Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) campaign.

The PSI represents 20 million workers globally who deliver public services in 150 countries.

A major boycott of Israel victory has been achieved in Durban, South Africa. One of the largest international trade unions, the Public Services International (PSI), at its recent World Congress (27-30 November) voted to fully support and advance the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign. The PSI World Congress also adopted a resolution to promote and partake-in the annual awareness-raising initiative, the annual Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) campaign.

The PSI represents 20 million workers globally who deliver public services in 150 countries. Two South African trade unions, the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) and the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) belong to the PSI. In fact, it was SAMWU that proposed the boycott of Israel resolution to the PSI World Congress.

The PSI World Congress ends today, Friday the 30th of November, at the Durban International Convention Centre (ICC). The boycott of Israel vote took place on Wednesday the 28th of November. In support of the vote, a public protest was held outside the Durban ICC (the venue of the PSI World Congress) by members of SAMWU and NEHAWU. The protest came after reports that some public sector unionsfrom other countries who were present at the PSI World Congress were (unsuccessfully) subjected to political pressure from the Israeli-lobby not to support a resolution on the boycott of Israel.

Tahir Sema of SAMWU said after the vote: "It is through international workers solidarity that great gains have been achieved for human rights historically and the PSI endorsement of action for Palestine re-affirms this."

Rafeef Ziadah, of the Palestinian Trade Union Coalition for BDS (PTUC-BDS) commented from Brazil where she received news of the PSI resolution: "We welcome today's resolution and look forward to working with the PSI as well as its local South African members, SAMWU and NEHAWU, in advancing the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign within trade unions. Israel must be isolated, like apartheid South Africa was, until it ends its violence against the Palestinian people, abides to international law and  ends its apartheid policies."

Muhammed Desai of BDS South Africa also welcomed the PSI World Congress resolution: "Public tenders, municipal contracts and otherservices must now be scrutinized by shop-stewards and trade unionists to ensure that our public services are not in any way connected to Israel. There should be no normal relations with an abnormal state."


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