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. 

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The former member of Pink Floyd and the writer of its timeless song “Another Brick in the Wall” called off his Tel Aviv gig, heeding an appeal by many Palestinian artists and cultural organizations and their supporters around the world who feared such a performance, particularly by a respected and progressive artist like Waters, would have given legitimacy to Israel’s colonial Wall, condemned as illegal by the International Court of Justice at The Hague in July 2004.

Thirty years later, on Land Day 2006, 68 percent of Israel's Jewish population have stated in a public opinion poll that they “do not want to live next to an Arab”, and a vast majority is voting for political programs that ignore the rights and needs of the Palestinians and perpetuate an apartheid system in Israel itself, convincing the prominent Israeli journalist, Gideon Levy, to describe Israel on the eve of the elections as “a nation in which racism is the real common denominator uniting us all.” Military occupation and colonization continue unabated in the West Bank, including eastern

Israel is recognized by the United Nations and the absolute majority of nations across the world as a repressive occupying power that maintains illegal colonies in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT), violates international law, UN resolutions and basic human rights of the Palestinian people. These are not abstract notions, at least not to us.

Upon learning of your planned tour, Palestinian as well as several international artists asked in shock: How can the artist whose name around the world was for many years associated with breaking walls of injustice be in any way complicit with the monstrosity of Israel’s Wall, declared illegal by the International Court of Justice at the Hague? Not too long ago, you lent your good name to the War on Want’s effort to collect signatures of public figures against Israel’s Wall.

The Greenhouse project is run by an Israeli organization, [url=http://www.nfct.org.il/english/about_nfct.htm]The New Israeli Foundation for Cinema and Television (NFCT)[/url], in partnership with the Ramallah Film Institute and the Institute of Documentary Filmmaking in the Czech Republic. It is to be implemented in the Mediterranean area.

A group of Palestinian political activists, cultural organisations and their supporters have backed a letter to Mr Waters, who has expressed strong opposition to the 450-mile separation barrier being built by Israel. They urge him to remove the city from his summer tour this year. The letter, which is supported, among others, by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, urges Waters not to perform in Israel "until the time comes when it ends its illegal occupation of Palestinian territory".

Groups such as the Palestinian Association for Contemporary Art and the League of Palestinian Artists have written to Waters expressing concern at his plans. Their letter said: "Palestinian as well as several international artists asked in shock: how can the artist whose name around the world was for many years associated with breaking walls of injustice be in any way complicit with the monstrosity of Israel's wall, declared illegal by the international court of justice?"

The major concerns outlined in the letter were twofold:

The Palestinian Call for Academic Boycott Revised: Adjusting the Parameters of the Debate

The PACBI Call, which was the basis for the academic boycott briefly adopted by the British Association of University Teachers (AUT) in April 2005, urged academics, intellectuals and artists around the world to “comprehensively and consistently boycott all Israeli academic and cultural institutions as a contribution to the struggle to end Israel’s occupation, colonization and system of apartheid.” PACBI proposed a number of measures to realize this Call, including the rejection of all forms of cooperation with Israeli institutions; suspension of funding and subsidies to these institutions;

Catherine COLOMB-NANCY Europeaid Office de Cooopération A Rue de la Loi, 200 B-1049 Bruxelles Belgique [email]catherine.colomb-nancy@cec.eu.int[/email] Dear Ms. Catherine Colomb-Nancy,

The Palestinian medical and health service providers who signed the Open Letter did not call for an outright ban on Palestinian-sraeli cooperation in the health sector, but rather deplored the fact that some international donors have increasingly made Palestinian-Israeli cooperation projects a condition for the provision of support to the Palestinian health sector.