BDS SA joins SA Presidency in celebrating life of late Jewish activist Beata Lipman 

11 December 2016

It is with sadness that we have heard of the passing of Beata Lipman.

Beata Lipman drafted South Africa’s original Freedom Charter in her own handwriting. She also dedicated her life to a better world, protesting and fighting against apartheid in South Africa and human rights abuses across the world.

As a white woman, Lipman opposed Apartheid in South Africa. As a Jewish woman, Lipman opposed Israeli Apartheid against Palestinians. She consistently spoke truth to power!

On the issue of Palestine, she was one of several Jewish South Africans who signed the 2014 letter titled “Proudly Jewish but Israel appalls us.” (Click here)

Lipman also lent her support to public statement in 2008 by high profile South African Government Ministers and other officials, the statement read:

“We who have fought against Apartheid and vowed not to allow it to happen again can not allow Israel to continue perpetrating apartheid, colonialism and occupation against the indigenous people of Palestine….We dare not allow Israel to continue violating international law with impunity. Apartheid was a gross violation of human rights. It was so in South Africa and it is so with regard to Israel’s persecution of the Palestinians!” (Click here)

Lipman didn’t only lend her support in word but also in action. We in the Palestinian solidarity movement fondly remember her participation in Palestinian human rights activities and in particular, attending BDS South Africa events and activities. She participated in activities, events and protests even in her late years, including forming part of a 2014 protest, on her wheelchair, against a pro-Israeli rally organized by the SA Zionist Federation and SA Jewish Board of Deputies (see above photo).

Lipman’s brave, outspoken and principled positions led her to suffer much isolation and abuse by pro-Apartheid Whites during the 1980s who labeled her a “sell out and a self hating white”. Later in her support of Palestine she was labeled by Israeli supporters as a “sell out and self hating Jew”. Beata Lipman spoke truth to power and truth to her community, notwithstanding the terrible isolation and vilification she and her family endured.

We join the multitude of South Africans, South African organizations and our Government who have all saluted her contribution towards a better South Africa and better world. We wish  Beata Lipman’s family and comrades strength during this time.