Consumers and shareholders are concerned with the products they buy and rising dividends often without knowing and caring about the provenance of the goods and services. So if dividends in Halliburton or Blackwater shoot up, “Hooray!”, never mind that it has come from lucrative security contracts in Iraq. Caterpillar however has faced challenges to its sale of its products to Israel where its huge armoured vehicles destroy Palestinian homes and farms and the company has had to face battles in boardroom and courtroom.
The following comes from Jewish Voice for Peace:
“Caterpillar gets bad publicity in the boardroom, the courtroom, and the press.
JVP protestors at Caterpillar lawsuit
Caterpillar may want to ignore any responsibility for the sale of bulldozers to Israel used to demolish the homes and uproot the orchards of Palestinian civilians, but we won’t let them.
On Monday, July 9th, the family of Rachel Corrie, and 4 Palestinian families–whose family members were killed or injured when Caterpillar bulldozers demolished their homes on top of them- finally got their day in court. Representing the families at the U.S. Court of Appeals in Seattle were Duke University law professor Erwin Chemerinsky, attorneys from the International Human Rights Clinic at Seattle University School of Law, and Maria LaHood from the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York. Read more about the case here.
As Rachel Corrie’s mother Cindy wrote, “It was moving and momentous, after four years of seeking accountability, to actually be in a court room, to feel a bit of the majesty of the law and the hope that we still find in it.”
JVP was among the many supporters outside: a crew of members from the Seattle and Puget Sound chapters (photo above) joined the coalition of peace activists in front of the courthouse and held signs rooted in our Jewish values and our respect for human rights. As a national organization with regional chapters (and more on the way) we are able to respond more quickly and to multiply our voices.
This action was on the heels of our work in June in Chicago, where JVP once again introduced a shareholder resolution that put Caterpillar on notice about its corporate misconduct, generating global attention about the inhumane policy of home demolitions. JVP has been working in coalition with the Sisters of Loretto and the Mercy Investment Group on these resolutions, which bring the issue of home demolitions to the mailboxes of every CAT shareholder and to the ears of CAT’s Board of Directors.”
Two years ago a demonstration was held at Caterpillar’s HQ in the West Midlands region of the U.K. at Solihull outside Birmingham followed by a rally in Victoria Square at which I was present.