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

Under BDS Pressure, G4S Ends Most Illegal Business with Israel

G4S

 

  • G4S announces sale of most of its Israel business, following intense BDS pressure
  • G4S remains involved in Israeli police training and settlement construction business
  • BDS human rights campaigners celebrate victory, call for continuing pressure

 

The world’s largest security company, G4S, announced today that it is selling most of its Israeli business after an effective campaign against the company, waged by the Palestinian-led, global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights, caused it “reputational damage.”

Reacting to the breaking news and to the fact that G4S will nonetheless maintain some illegal projects in Israel, Rafeef Ziadah, speaking for the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), said:

“We have succeeded to push one of the world’s largest corporations into selling its key business in Israel. Our globally coordinated campaign has had a real impact. We will continue campaigning until G4S ends all involvement in violations of Palestinian human rights.”

French multinationals, Veolia and Orange, and Ireland’s largest building materials company, CRH, have all exited the Israeli market since September 2015, mainly as a result of BDS campaigning.

“A domino effect is at play here,” said Ziadah. “Some investment fund managers are recognizing that their fiduciary responsibility obliges them to divest from international and Israeli corporations and banks that are complicit in Israel’s persistent violations of international law.”

Guman Mussa, Arab World Coordinator in the BNC, added:

“It is not everyday that human rights campaigners can compel a massive multinational like G4S to end its involvement in serious human rights violations through sustained, strategic grassroots pressure. BDS is clearly working, and other complicit multinationals, like HP and Alstom, should take notice.”

“We dedicate this victory to all Palestinian political prisoners who in 2012 had called on the BDS movement to intensify our boycott of G4S due to its role in Israel’s prisons, where torture is rife.”

G4S is a British security company that helps Israel run prisons where Palestinian political prisoners are held without trial and subjected to torture and ill-treatment. It is also involved in providing equipment and services to Israeli military checkpoints, illegal settlements and to military and police facilities.

The international Stop G4S Campaign has cost the company contracts worth millions of dollars in Europe, the Arab world, South Africa and elsewhere.

G4S’s list of lost clients includes private businesses, universities, trade unions, and UN bodies.

Despite the sale of its subsidiary, G4S will remain directly complicit in Israel's violations of Palestinian rights through Policity, the flagship national police training centre it co-owns, and the settlement-profiteer Shikun & Binui group.

Israel’s police operates in occupied East Jerusalem, instead of the Israeli military in the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory, serving as the guardian of Israel’s illegal annexation, protecting the illegal settlements, and oppressing the city’s Palestinian population.

BNC Europe Coordinator, Riya Hassan, concluded:

“The BNC is determined to continue its campaign against G4S, in partnership with other justice struggles across the world. From the US to Palestine, from South Africa to the UK, G4S is profiting from the patently racist mass incarceration business.”

“As in the struggle against apartheid South Africa, BDS pressure against Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid is making some of the world’s most powerful multinationals realize that profiting from Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights is not just unethical and socially-irresponsible. It is downright bad for business as well.”

 

Notes:

  • In March 2016, G4S announced it would sell its Israeli subsidiary in the coming “12 to 24 months." In describing the move, The Financial Times reported that G4S was “extracting itself from reputationally damaging work.”
  • More recently, UNICEF in Jordan and a major restaurant chain in Colombia became the latest high-profile bodies to end their contracts with G4S following BDS campaigns.
  • The Norwegian sovereign fund divested from Shikun & Binui in 2012, as did the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, which cited the company’s “involvement in the construction of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”
  • In June 2014, the Bill Gates Foundation divested its entire $170m stake in G4S following an international campaign. That same month, the U.S.​ United Methodist Church divested all G4S shares from its $20bn investment fund. The Public Institution for Social Security (PIFSS) in Kuwait decided to divest from G4S in June 2016 following calls from BDS Kuwait and the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC).

 


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