The other day we reported on a huge victory for the boycott and divestment movement, the delisting of Caterpillar by a leading Wall Street socially-responsible investment index because of Israel’s use of Caterpillar equipment in the occupied territories.
Well, the Associated Press is on the story, and Blake Sobczak’s lead is very good:
A U.S. investment firm has removed Caterpillar Inc. from three of its popular indexes that track socially responsible investments, citing concerns about the Israeli military’s use of company bulldozers in the Palestinian territories…
And there’s this. Americans who love human rights and freedom will be proud to see Rachel Corrie’s killing so prominently featured in a wire service piece nine years after this beautiful young idealist and writer died:
Caterpillar equipment gained notoriety in March 2003 when an armored bulldozer crushed an American activist, Rachel Corrie, in the southern Gaza Strip while she tried to prevent it from toppling a home. A subsequent military investigation ruled Corrie’s death an accident, though Corrie’s family has filed a civil suit against Israel.
And some good context:
MSCI’s decision comes amid a budding movement by pro-Palestinian activists to join a Palestinian campaign against companies doing business in the West Bank.
Pension funds in Norway and Sweden have divested themselves of holdings in some firms involved in building in settlements or helping to erect Israel’s contentious West Bank separation barrier. Earlier this month, Norway’s government pension fund said it had dumped roughly $1.3 million of stock in Israeli construction company Shikun & Binui Ltd. because of its involvement in building settlements.
While the economic impact is still negligible, both Israel and Jewish groups have begun to push back, accusing the boycott advocates of trying to delegitimize the Jewish state. They also argue that plenty of companies with ties to states with poor human rights records, such as China, are not similarly targeted.
Let’s have that debate, about delegitimization and singling out Israel. Fair questions. And pro-divestment people have very good answers.