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

PGFTU Reaffirms call for Boycott of Israel

The following is a translation of a PGFTU statement to the Scottish Trade Union Congress. The Arabic version with PGFTU letterhead is available for download below.

The PGFTU has confirmed what was stated by its general secretary, Mr Shaher Saed, to the Unison delegation to Palestine during the period 27th November to 3rd December 2010.

The following is a translation of a PGFTU statement to the Scottish Trade Union Congress. The Arabic version with PGFTU letterhead is available for download below.

The PGFTU has confirmed what was stated by its general secretary, Mr Shaher Saed, to the Unison delegation to Palestine during the period 27th November to 3rd December 2010. this as follows:-

“Mr Shaher Saed detested the attempts by some organisations to exploit the relationship between the Histadrut and the PGFTU for political gain and to undermine the international trade unions  efforts to defend the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.”  Mr Saed has confirmed that the relationship between the PGFTU and the Histadrut is one of unequals. We live under an Israeli military occupation while trying to defend the rights of our Palestinians workers who are subjugated by the Israeli army which  deny them their rights and subjects them to all sorts of violations in contravention of international conventions on human and workers rights. We, in the PGFTU, call on all international organisations and trade unions not to use the relationship between the PGFTU and the Histadrut to justify establishing relationships with the Israeli occupation and its institutions that contribute towards strengthening the occupation.

Mr Shaher Saed has condemned specifically the Trade Unions Friends of Israel for trying to portray the relationship between the PGFTU and the Histadrut as a sign of normalisation between the Palestinian and Israeli trade union movements.

Mr Shaher has also accused the Trade Unions Friends of Israel of dishonest behaviour when dealing with PGFTU. The PGFTU was very clear about its relationship with the Histadrut which was specific to representing the Palestinian workers who work inside Israel. He also confirmed that the PGFTU refuses to normalise relations with the Histadrut as long as the occupation exists and as long as the racist practices against our people and workers continue.

Mr Saed welcomes and expresses PGFTU's support for all workers and international organisations that take a stance against the Israeli occupation and its institutions that violate Palestinian human rights. Mr Saed holds in high regard the initiatives and decisions taken by friendly trade unions to boycott the institutions that are implicated in the occupation and its illegal practices.

Mr Saed has called on national and international trade unions to support the Palestinian national project to establish our independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital and to support the efforts of the Palestinian leadership in gaining recognition from their governments for a Palestinian state within the borders of 4th June 1967. We are certain of the trade unions positive and active role in supporting our just cause. We salute all trade unions in the world that have passed motions in support of our people against the Israeli occupation.

We at the PGFTU salute all international trade unions and we trust them to make the right decisions that reflect the values upon which the international trade union movement is built,  to help our independence, freedom, our right to return to our homeland, and building our independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.   We appreciate the role of the unions in rejecting the denial of the rights of individuals and nations. We further appreciate the unions' support to all nations in their endeavour to freedom, justice, equality and development. It is time the world took a stance against the Israeli occupation. It is time all world organisations decided to boycott all Israeli institutions implicated in the occupation and its practices, and to bring pressure on their governments to recognise the independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, support the right of all Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland, demand the release of all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, the removal of the racist separation wall, and the removal of all settlements from our land.

Long live the International Trade Union Movement

 


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