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

York Federation of Students Endorses BDS Campaign

March 22, 2013
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On March 21st, in an historic vote at the largest students' union in Canada, York University's undergraduate students' union, the York Federation of Students (YFS), voted overwhelmingly in favour of a resolution to endorse the Global Campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israeli apartheid. In passing this BDS resolution, the YFS now joins many student unions around the world, who have all passed similar resolutions.

On March 21st, in an historic vote at the largest students' union in Canada, York University's undergraduate students' union, the York Federation of Students (YFS), voted overwhelmingly in favour of a resolution to endorse the Global Campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israeli apartheid. In passing this BDS resolution, the YFS now joins many student unions around the world, who have all passed similar resolutions. In Canadian universities, the BDS campaign has had several milestones in the last year at Carleton University (Graduate Students' Association), University of Regina (Student Union) and most recently, York University (Graduate Students' Association) and University of Toronto (Graduate Students' Union).

The resolution was drafted in response to the 2005 Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel as a means to pressure it to comply with international law and to end its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza; allow Palestinian refugees their internationally guaranteed right to return to their homes and villages; and grant equal rights to Palestinian citizens of Israel.

With 18 votes in favour and 2 opposed, the board of the York Federation of Students passed the resolution to endorse the BDS campaign, as well as demand that York University abide by the BDS call; specifically urging the University to withdraw its investments from Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems, Amphenol and other companies that are selling weapons and military equipment to Israel .

"The oppression of the Palestinian people at the hands of the Israeli state is not some far off issue that we can choose to ignore. We are already deeply implicated in the human rights violations of the Israeli State through our investments in the above-mentioned companies. We do not have the privilege to remain 'neutral' on this issue," said Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) York collective member Huda Al-Sarraj.

In November of this academic year, SAIA York achieved its first BDS success with the passing of a BDS motion at the York University Graduate Students' Association (GSA). SAIA York now hopes to bring its demand for divestment to the York University Administration by lobbying for the implementation of a socially responsible investment policy. With the support of the GSA and the YFS, as well as the TA's, GA's and contract faculty union, CUPE 3903, which passed a BDS motion in 2006, SAIA York will now demand an end to the investment of university funds into companies that profit from violations of international law and human rights.

March 22, 2013
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