Thursday, May 19, 2011

Show Caterpillar it can run, but it can't hide

By Anna Baltzer, National Organizer
May 19, 2011

For the past seven years, the US Campaign and many of our coalition member groups, including Chicagoans Against Apartheid in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace, have dominated Caterpillar's annual Chicago-area shareholder meetings by organizing creative protests inside and outside the meetings, like these actions in 2009 and in 2010 (click to learn more).

Above: Activists protest outside a Caterpillar shareholder meeting. (click image to enlarge).

Together, we've challenged the corporation for supplying Israel with D9 bulldozers -- which Israel misuses to demolish Palestinian homes, uproot olive trees, construct Jewish-only settlements and the Apartheid Wall, and kill and maim unarmed civilians -- at Caterpillar's most important annual gathering.

Apparently CAT has had enough of us all dominating their annual shareholder meeting. Recently, it announced that it is moving its meeting on June 8th to Little Rock, Arkansas. CAT can run 700 miles away for its meeting this year, but we're still watching.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak explained in a recent interview in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz that:

"BDS [boycott, divestment, and sanctions]... will start coming at us like a glacier, from all corners."

Our joint corporate accountability campaign to challenge CAT's role continues from all corners: from shareholder activism, to targeting the U.S. government's Foreign Military Sales Program D9 deliveries, to student divestment campaigns and CAT-free campuses. Only with your help in targeting CAT from "all corners" will this campaign continue to grow!

Here are some updates and ways for you to advance our collective "Stop Caterpillar" campaign:

1. Last October, media reports stated that CAT would not deliver bulldozers to the Israeli military during the civil trial brought by Cindy and Craig Corrie against Israel for the 2003 killing of their daughter Rachel by its military with a weaponized Caterpillar D9 bulldozer as she nonviolently tried to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home in the Gaza Strip.

Click here for trial updates from the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, a US Campaign member group.

We need to maintain pressure on the Obama Administration and on CAT to make sure no D9 bulldozers -- destined to destroy Palestinian homes and lives -- are delivered ever! In the lead-up to CAT's shareholder meeting...

Show CAT it can run but it can't hide!
Join nearly 15,000 people in signing our petition to the Obama Administration demanding the end of D9 Caterpillar bulldozer deliveries to the Israeli military, and an investigation into Israel's violations of U.S. laws committed with Caterpillar equipment.


Watch the BDS Earlham video
Above: Video by Earlham College students (click to watch).

This spring has brought a surge of campus divestment campaigns targeting Caterpillar and other corporations profiting from Israeli occupation and apartheid. Students at Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, which declared itself CAT-free last year, have joined with campuses like the University of Arizona (UA) in a "Mock Wall" movement coinciding with the launch of a resolution to divest from Caterpillar and Motorola. Likewise, students in a new US Campaign member group, BDS Earlham, are calling for divestment from Caterpillar, Motorola and Hewlett Packard.

Show CAT it can run but it can't hide!
Click here to show your support for the Earlham College resolution to divest from Caterpillar.

3. Dozens of groups around the country, including member groups Jewish Voice for Peace, Grassroots International, and the Palestine Solidarity Committee at UT-Austin, are building campaigns to get TIAA-CREF, one of the largest financial services providers in the United States, to divest more than $250 million from Caterpillar (along with holdings in other occupation-profiteers).

Show CAT it can run but it can't hide!
Click here to call for TIAA-CREF's divestment and to find out how you can become a local organizer on this fast-spreading campaign.

Let's prove Ehud Barak right by using all possible avenues to end Caterpillar's complicity in Israel's occupation and apartheid policies!