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

New UN Report Confirms Israel is an “Apartheid” State, Calls for BDS

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the largest coalition in Palestinian society, has warmly welcomed as a “historic breakthrough” a report released today by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) that proves beyond doubt that Israel has imposed a system of apartheid on the entire Palestinian people.

The ESCWA report calls for BDS measures to end Israel’s apartheid regime.

The global BDS movement for Palestinian rights, led by the BNC, has consistently described Israel a regime of “occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid” against all Palestinians.

Warmly welcoming the ESCWA report as a “historic breakthrough,” Ingrid Jaradat, member of the BNC International Secretariat, added:

“This is the first UN entity to prove beyond doubt that Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people—which confirms the BDS movement’s own findings since 2005. Given that apartheid is the second most serious crime against humanity in international law – after the crime of genocide—this taboo-shattering finding by ESCWA will strengthen the case for global sanctions against Israel.”

The BDS movement has grown impressively in the last few years, compelling major corporations, including Veolia, Orange and G4S, to abandon the Israeli market, and convincing large pension funds to divest from banks and companies that are involved in Israel’s human rights violations. Israel’s academic and cultural isolation is also on the rise.

Guman Mussa, the Arab World Campaigns Coordinator with the BNC, added:

“ESCWA’s report sets a precedent for the UN as it calls on national governments and international civil society to endorse BDS as the most effective mechanism to hold Israel to account. Acting to stop Israel’s apartheid is not an optional course of action but an obligation under international law.”

Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the BDS movement, concluded:

“Our South Africa moment is nearing. This new UN report is a stark indicator that Israel’s apartheid is destined to end, as South Africa’s did. BDS is not only growing impressively on campuses, in churches, trade unions, cultural organizations and social movements, it is today adopted by a UN Commission. This may well be the very first beam of light that ushers the dawn of sanctions against Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid.”

 


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