|Caterpillar D9 is used to demolish Palestinian homes...
Immediately after the (4-2) vote was taken, the local press went to work to blast the decision, re-hashing all of the old, tired arguments as to why the city should not take this step (http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2016/03/bulldozed_by_delusion_editoria.html#incart_email).
The following is my response to that article:
“The company just makes tractors.” How naïve are you? The D9 bulldozer/tractors that the Oregonian airily dismisses in this manner are tools of destruction – designed to the exact specifics of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).
Caterpillar knows only too well that these weapons will be used to destroy Palestinian homes and to uproot Palestinian olive trees. Caterpillar is not an innocent vendor of a farmer’s tool that has been altered beyond its original purposes – they are involved in every step of the modifications to create this weapon!
Those who say investors should “engage” with Caterpillar (and other “bad actors”) ignore the fact that churches (specifically the United Methodist and Presbyterian churches), and others have engaged with Caterpillar for years (10+ for the Methodists) and that, while well aware that the continued manufacture and sale of the D9 to the IDF is a violation of human rights, Caterpillar has not changed its behavior one iota.
What has changed is that churches and other entities have stepped away from the table and taken other measures. The Presbyterian Church voted in 2014 to divest from Caterpillar. The Oregon Idaho Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church voted in 2015 to divest from Caterpillar – and that church’s international body will consider a number of measures around this issue when it meets in Portland in May.
|The D9 was also used to construct the "Wall"
In the meantime, the Socially Responsible Investment Committee has done the right thing – the responsible thing – and I hope the City of Portland will have the mettle to support them!