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

Red Card Israeli Apartheid - Palestinian sports groups challenge UEFA on Israeli hosting of 2013 Under-21 tournament







Take action: write your own letter UEFA president Michel Platini using the e-tool and join the Facebook page for ideas on how







Take action: write your own letter UEFA president Michel Platini using the e-tool and join the Facebook page for ideas on how to take action using social media.

As UEFA's 2011 under-21 finals draw to a close in Denmark, the Palestinian sports community is demanding UEFA reverse its recent decision to stage the 2013 tournament in Israel.

In a letter to UEFA President Michel Platini, football clubs, managers, players and other Palestinian sporting figures based in Gaza urge UEFA not to “reward Israel for its violent repression of Palestinian rights”.

The letter reminds Platini that footballers Ayman Alkurd, Shadi Sbakhe and Wajeh Moshate were among over 1,400 victims of the Israeli assault on Gaza in winter 2008-09, when whole districts and the Rafah National Stadium were levelled. The UN fact finding mission into the assault accused Israel of deliberately targeting civilians and committing war crimes.

“Platini publicly denounced Israel last September so we are shocked that UEFA is giving the honour of hosting an important tournament to a country that practices illegal occupation and apartheid. A new host nation must be selected,” said Haidar Eid, coordinator of the Red Card Israeli Apartheid campaign.

“Gaza is still in ruins following the 2008-09 massacre and is the largest open air prison in the world as a result of the deadly and medieval siege imposed on it by Israel. By allowing Israel to host the 2013 under-21 tournament, UEFA is creating the impression that Israel is a country like any other and giving it the confidence to commit further atrocities,” added Eid.

In 2005, Palestinian civil society called for people of conscience to implement a campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law. Boycotts of South Africa, including sporting boycotts, played a major role in ending apartheid in South Africa. Israeli sports teams have increasingly faced demonstrations from human rights activists.

The letter comes as human rights activists prepare to launch Freedom Flotilla 2. A 2010 UN report strongly criticised Israel for boarding ships that were part of the first Freedom Flotilla while they were in international waters and killing nine activists.

“People of conscience from all over the world share the belief that it is time for Israeli oppression of Palestinian rights and the medieval siege of Gaza to be lifted. We are calling on UEFA to choose a new venue for the 2013 under-21 tournament,” said Eid.

Four Palestine national team players were prevented from leaving Gaza to play in Thursday’s Olympic qualifier against Bahrain that took place in the West Bank, according to fan site reports.


Notes to Editors

  1. The full letter and list of signatories is available at
  2. The letter to UEFA President Michel Platini has been signed by 42 Palestinian football clubs, and 37 managers, players and other notable Palestinian sporting figures.
  3. Last September, Michel Platini threatened to expel Israel from UEFA because of the restrictions on movement it imposes on Palestinian footballers
  4. Four members of the Palestine national team were prevented from leaving Gaza to play in Thursday’s Olympic qualifier in the West Bank, according to fan site reports.
    The four players were  Mohammed Abu Dan, Anas El-Helu, Mohammed Al-Sadoody, and Alaa Attie.

For more information and to arrange interviews contact:

In Gaza – Haidar Eid –
In London – Michael Deas –



Stay updated!

Get breaking news, campaign updates and action alerts!