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. 

Global Campaign

Right To Boycott

Overview

Having failed to stop the rise in worldwide support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality, Israel is now launching a desperate and dangerous fight back.

Israel is persuading supportive governments in the US, UK, France and elsewhere to repress the BDS movement. Israel has implemented a travel ban on BDS movement co-founder Omar Barghouti and is using its security services to spy on BDS activists across the world.

This war of repression has prompted the Swedish, Irish and Dutch governments and mainstream organisations such as Amnesty International to speak out.
BDS

Intro

Israel’s war of repression against the BDS movement

Having failed to stop the rise in worldwide support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality, Israel is now launching a desperate and dangerous fight back. At Israel’s request, governments in the US, UK, France, Canada and elsewhere are introducing anti-democratic legislation and taking other repressive measures to undermine the BDS movement. In France, one activist was arrested simply for wearing a BDS t-shirt. Israel is using its security services to illegally spy on BDS activists across the world.  In May 2016, Israel imposed an effective travel ban on BDS movement co-founder Omar Barghouti. Israel has confirmed that it is considering revoking Omar’s permanent residency status. Following threats against Omar by Israeli ministers, Amnesty International expressed concern “for the safety and liberty of Palestinian human rights defender Omar Barghouti”. Israel’s huge campaign of repression against human rights defenders and the BDS movement is designed to shield it from being held accountable for its violations of international law. More information about the #RightToBoycott is available in our Right to BDS factsheet and you can view more information by pressing "find out more"


Find out more

You can find our more about Israel's attacks on BDS and our movement's response in the following documents: 

  • Factsheet - Israel's attacks on the BDS movement.

  • Legal Briefing - BDS: a Legitimate Human Rights Movement to be Respected and Protected by States

  • Statement - Israel’s legal warfare on BDS fosters repression and McCarthyism across the world.

  • Palestinian Human Rights Organisation Council letter to the UN High Commissioner and Special Rapporteurs.

Impact

Far from slowing down support for our BDS movement, Israel’s anti-democratic war of repression against BDS has provided the movement with further exposure and newer audiences. Mainstream organisations and even governments recognise Israel’s repressive war against BDS as a dangerous challenge to fundamental freedoms.


Milestones

Governments speak up for the Right To Boycott

Representatives of the Swedish, Irish and Dutch governments have publicly defended the right to advocate and campaign for Palestinian rights under international law through BDS.


Right to Boycott campaign attracts mainstream support

Amnesty International, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)and the American Civil Liberties Union have all spoken out in response to Israel’s attacks on the BDS movement. More than 23,000 people signed an appeal to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights organised by the Palestinian BDS National Committee. The BNC and several other Palestinian organizations made an oral statement at the UN Human Rights Council  in June 2016.


Take Action

The BDS movement is fighting back and asserting that we have a #RightToBoycott and that we’re going to continue to take action in support of Palestinian freedom, justice and equality.


Spread the word

Help us spread the word about the cultural boycott with artists and your friends and family. Share this page via social media.