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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Prof. Dr. Peter-André Alt, President of the Free University of BerlinProf. Dr. Tanja Börzel, Director of the Otto-Suhr-Institut, Free University of BerlinProf. Dr. Bernd Ladwig, ad hoc Director of the Otto-Suhr-Institut, Free University of BerlinMembers of the Board of the Otto-Suhr-Institut, Free University of Berlin Dear Colleagues,

Sitting in a Classroom at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, a group of some 30 North American undergraduate students watched a news flash broadcast on the aggressive behavior taken by the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement on US campuses. As the report concluded, the students, on a two-week organized trip by the Zionist Organization of America, huddled around computers brainstorming social media campaigns to defend Israel in the wake of the report.

Your organization can sign the letter by contacting ADALAH-NY To the Batsheva Dance Company:

The news is in: on Saturday, a resolution to endorse the Palestinian call for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions was rejected by the Delegate Assembly of the Modern Language Association, the largest and most traditional humanities association in the United States.  An opposing resolution that directs the MLA not to endorse a boycott of Israeli universities passed by a narrow margin of eight votes.

THE DELEGATE Assembly of the Modern Language Association (MLA), a professional organization of professors of language and literature, last week voted against a resolution in favor of boycotting Israeli universities. The association also voted, by a narrower margin, to reject academic boycotts in toto.

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Coldplay have denied recent reports that the band will play two "peace concerts" for Israelis and Palestinians in November. The Times of Israel, citing a report on Israel's Channel 2, claimed that the group would perform on November 2nd and 3rd at an "outdoor location north of the Dead Sea" and that 50,000 tickets would be sold in both Israeli and Palestinian territories.

Boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigners in France are welcoming their government’s decision not to spend more than $100 million on Israeli drones.

Al Jazeera Investigative Unit's series "The Lobby" goes undercover inside the Israel lobby in the UK and uncovers a tight web of relations that converges in the Israeli government's plans to fight BDS. The investigation raises serious questions about the extent UK lobby groups are involved in Israel's more beligerent threats, including of launching "black ops" and other illegal operations, against the movement's supporters.  

On January 7, the Delegate Assembly of the Modern Language Association (MLA) voted against a non-binding resolution to endorse the call from Palestinian civil society for the academic boycott of Israeli institutions (Yes, 79; No, 113). At that same session, the Assembly voted for a resolution to condemn the boycott (Yes, 101; No, 93). One of the reasons it is difficult for those supporting Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) to get their motions passed is that external organisations here and in Israel add their resources and legal teams to the anti-boycott side.

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Since last week, we have seen a unique sequence of events, some unprecedented and others less so, that have brought the Palestine-Israel issue back to the fore. Last Friday, the United States abstained at the United Nations Security Council on Resolution 2334, thereby allowing it to pass when the 14 other members of the council voted for it.