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. 

BNC Statement

Palestinian Freedom Riders Challenge Israeli Apartheid

Occupied Palestine, 15 November 2011 -- The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) salutes the brave Palestinian Freedom Riders who today challenged through civil disobedience the Israeli occupation and apartheid [1]. With creative tactics inspired by the U.S.

Occupied Palestine, 15 November 2011 -- The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) salutes the brave Palestinian Freedom Riders who today challenged through civil disobedience the Israeli occupation and apartheid [1]. With creative tactics inspired by the U.S. civil rights movement and with resolve stemming from a century of ongoing and richly diverse Palestinian civil and popular resistance to settler colonialism and apartheid, the Freedom Riders have highlighted the need to stand up to Israel’s impunity and to further its growing isolation in order to compel it to recognize the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

By exposing Israel’s segregated and colonial buses serving illegal settlers in the occupied Palestinian territory, this initiative, which is a continuation of a century of Palestinian civil and popular resistance to Israeli occupation, colonization and apartheid, helped to show the world the true nature of Israel’s regime of oppression.

In a statement released today, one of the initiative’s organizers stated:

“As the Arab Spring spreads across the region, rekindling hope for freedom, social justice and democracy to replace tyranny and repression, we struggle on the ground for the basic, comprehensive rights of the entire Palestinian people. We call on people of conscience around the world to compel Israel into complying with international law by applying creative, sustainable, and context-sensitive boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) initiatives. We too deserve freedom and justice.”

With their particular focus on the need to take BDS actions against Israeli company Egged and French company Veolia, both of which run bus lines serving the illegal Israeli colonies, the Palestinian Freedom Riders have called attention to the complicity of Israeli and international corporations in maintaining Israel’s occupation and apartheid.

We call on conscientious citizens of the world and all groups advocating human rights and a just peace to stand up to Israel’s violations of international law by implementing creative, context-sensitive and sustainable BDS campaigns.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said: “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can't ride you unless your back is bent.”

Today, the world has realized, once again, that Palestinians stand with our backs straight, persisting with our struggle for freedom and dignity. But as in the civil rights struggle in the US and the anti-apartheid struggle in South

Africa, Palestinians need effective international solidarity to end Israeli impunity and hold it accountable for its colonial and apartheid crimes.

Support the Palestinian struggle against Israeli apartheid and occupation! BDS Now!

BNC Secretariat

[1] In its most recent session in Cape Town, South Africa, the Russell Tribunal on Palestine concluded that, “Israel’s rule over the Palestinian people, wherever they reside, collectively amounts to a single integrated regime of apartheid."




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