Archive | October 30th, 2010

SAY NO TO CATERPILLAR

October 29, 2010

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We have a small window of opportunity to cut off Israel’s supply of Caterpillar bulldozers before the Obama Administration allows the deliveries to resume.

Stop CaterpillarEarlier this week, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported that Caterpillar is withholding delivery of tens of D9 bulldozers-valued at $50 million-to the Israeli military.

The report speculated that this”sounds like an American military sanction.”  For aJerusalem Post report about this, click here.

This comes in the midst of a civil trial in Israel brought by Cindy and Craig Corrie, of the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, a US Campaign member group. The Corries’ daughter Rachel was killed by the Israeli military with a weaponized Caterpillar D9 bulldozer in 2003, as she nonviolently tried to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home.

News reports have stated that Caterpillar will not deliver bulldozers to the Israeli military during the Corrie trial (click here for updates on the trial).

At yesterday’s State Department briefing, Assistant Secretary Philip Crowley did not deny the U.S. government has delayed the delivery, going only so far as to say that he is “not aware of any contacts between the United States Government and Caterpillar, but perhaps it’s a question to ask Caterpillar.”

We already tried that.  In written communications with the US Campaign, Caterpillar refused to comment on the reports, but did not deny them.

Whatever is happening behind the scenes, one thing is clear:

This represents a major, positive step in our ongoing campaign to hold Israel accountable for its misuse of Caterpillar bulldozers, which are provided at U.S. taxpayer expense as military aid (learn more by clicking here).

We have a small window of opportunity to act before pressure is brought to bear on the Obama Administration to allow the delivery of bulldozers to proceed.

Here’s what you can do to make sure this happens, and to advance our boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Caterpillar:

  1. Sign our petition to the Obama Administration asking it to stop the delivery of Caterpillar D9 bulldozers to the Israeli military, and to investigate Israel’s violations of U.S. laws committed with Caterpillar equipment.

    Together, the US Campaign, the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church, (U.S.A.), and Jewish Voice for Peace, all intend to collect 10,000 petition signatures by next week to deliver to the Obama Administration.  Sign now by clicking here.

  2. If you belong to an organization, then please have it endorse our organizational letter to the Obama Administration. We will be accepting organizational endorsements of the letter until 6 pm (EST) Wednesday, November 3.  Read and endorse the letter (organizations only) by clicking here.

  3. Sign to organize a local BDS campaign against Caterpillar by clicking here. We’ll send you a free organizing packet.

  4. Get TIAA-CREF to divest from Caterpillar. TIAA-CREF, one of the largest financial services in the United States, invests heavily in Caterpillar (over $250 million as of their last financial report). Sign a petition asking TIAA-CREF to divest from Caterpillar and other companies that profit from the Israeli occupation.

Meanhwhile, the Rachel Corrie Foundation has submitted a paper to the UN’s Universal Periodic Review, which will review the human rights record of the United States on November 5.  To read its submission, which documents how the United States has failed to uphold its human rights laws in Rachel’s case, please click here.

 

 

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CATERPILLAR WITHHOLDING DELIVERY

NOVANEWS

Dear,

I have remarkable news. The Israeli press is reporting that Caterpillar is withholding the delivery of tens of D9 bulldozers—valued at $50 million—to the Israeli military.(1) These are weaponized bulldozers that are used to illegally destroy homes and orchards of Palestinian families. And they are the very same bulldozers as the one that killed a 23-year-old American peace activist named Rachel Corrie seven years ago when she tried to protect the home of the Nasrallah family in Gaza .

That’s why the next part of the story is even more amazing. The news reports say that the deliveries have been suspended now because Rachel’s parents, Cindy and Craig Corrie, are bringing a civil suit against the government of Israel in a court in Tel Aviv.(2) The deliveries are to stop during the length of the trial. We take this as an indirect admission by the company that these bulldozers are being used to violate human rights and to violate the law. The Corrie story is sadly just one of thousands of stories of loss and pain.

A suspension of the sale of bulldozers is what we have been asking Caterpillar for over seven years now. This is a great win, but this is no time to let off the pressure.

Caterpillar and the U.S. government have neither confirmed nor denied the news. And news reports describe the company’s move as a temporary decision only. To urge the U.S. government to make this policy permanent, please sign the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation’s petition to President Obama to continue this new policy.

We need to hold both our government and corporations profiting from the occupation accountable. TIAA-CREF, one of the largest financial services in the United States , invests heavily in Caterpillar (over $250 million as of their last financial report). Thanks to you, we’ve already gathered over 17,000 in our petition to TIAA-CREF, asking it to divest from Caterpillar and other companies that profit from the Israeli occupation. But we need more! Tell your friends to sign our petition. If TIAA-CREF divests from Caterpillar, it will have a rippling impact everywhere.

Since 2003, Jewish Voice for Peace has been filing annual shareholder resolutions to pressure Caterpillar with a growing coalition of interfaith partners. We’ve organized protests. We’ve taken over a CAT dealership. We’ve worked in support of Presbyterian and Methodist divestment initiatives from the company, and with your help, we are asking TIAA-CREF to divest from Caterpillar as well.

Caterpillar has never budged… until now.

Caterpillar’s irresponsible behavior comes with a heavy price tag. In the last ten years, at least 11,795 homes have been demolished.(3) These statistics, gruesome as they are, cannot do justice to the pain of so many families, to their razed livelihoods and their shattered dreams.

The picture above does not come from an earthquake scene. It depicts the man-made destruction and the hopelessness that the Caterpillar bulldozers bring at the hand of the soldiers who wield them. Let’s make sure that this is the last picture of this kind we get to see.

Thank you and shabbat shalom, 

Sydney Levy

Jewish Voice for Peace

(1) Report: Caterpillar to delay supply of D9 bulldozers to IDF. Jerusalem Post, Oct 25, 2010, as well as Israel ‘s Channel 2 TV, October 25, 2010 (evening broadcast in Hebrew).

(2) For updates on the trial, visit the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice.

(3) The statistics are from the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions and run up only until July 28, 2010, a day after the Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the northern Negev desert was razed to the ground. The village would be rebuilt and demolished five additional times (see

Open Letter to JNF: Equal Rights, Sustainable Development for Negev, Not Dispossession of Bedouin! and El Araqib Village Demolished for Sixth Time.)

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