The Palestinian BDS National Committee mourns the passing of Nelson Mandela

We mourn the passing of Nelson Mandela. Humanity at large has lost a great freedom fighter against apartheid and for human dignity; Palestine has lost a true friend.

Resolute in his belief in freedom, justice and equality and the importance of mass struggle and with the determination of his and his comrades’ resistance and the strength of his spirit, Nelson Mandela will always be a great source of inspiration to Palestinians and to our struggle for our rights.

Nelson Mandela recognised the similarities between apartheid South Africa and Israeli regime of oppression against the Palestinian people; and he never forgot the pivotal role that Israel played in supporting the apartheid regime in South Africa and in undermining the global boycott against it. Once he became president, Mandela frequently sought to urge the world to address Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people.

As a key figure in the South African liberation movement that used boycotts and sanctions, among other forms of struggle, to undermine the apartheid regime, Nelson Mandela helped to establish many of the principles that today guide and inspire the Palestinian-led, global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights.

Speaking to mark the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People in 1997, Mandela said:

“We can easily be enticed to read reconciliation and fairness as meaning parity between justice and injustice. Having achieved our own freedom, we can fall into the trap of washing our hands of difficulties that others face. Yet we would be less than human if we did so. It behooves all South Africans, themselves erstwhile beneficiaries of generous international support, to stand up and be counted among those contributing actively to the cause of freedom and justice.”

In this spirit, many in South Africa’s leadership, mass movements, churches and civil society, as well as among Mandela’s close associates Ahmed Kathrada and Ronnie Kasrils, today recognize Israel’s regime against the Palestinians as constituting occupation, colonization and apartheid and accordingly support BDS against Israel.

Let us honour the memory of Nelson Mandela by embodying his humanity and spirit in our own actions and by continuing our own struggles for freedom, justice and equality.

Amandla!

 

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Oxfam-Wereldwinkel Mariakerke
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