Ten years after Rachel Corrie’s killing, AIPAC conference will feature Caterpillar executive

AIPAC is holding its annual policy conference next week in Washington (I’ve sought credentials, have yet to hear from the folks there). The general theme of the conference is upbeat/let us drown out the shouts of the critics: “Shaping Tomorrow Together” is the conference motto, with a logo of joined American and Israeli stars (youtube video here).

In that defiant spirit, check out next Monday’s breakout session, and this one about US government aid to Israel, featuring Caterpillar, a target of the boycott movement:

12:30 PM – 2:00 PM PANEL DISCUSSION – Foreign Aid: The Vital Role of U.S. Assistance

American leadership around the globe relies heavily on robust foreign aid, which comprises just 1 percent of the federal budget. The United States’ military assistance to Israel is vital to ensuring its security and safeguarding America’s interests in the Middle East. Aid to other countries in the region, and the conditions attached to those funds, play key roles in helping the United States pursue its foreign policy goals.

Featuring

Mr. Bill Lane Washington Director for Government Affairs, Caterpillar

Ms. Liz Schrayer Executive Director, U.S. Global Leadership Coalition

Moderator Ms. Ester Kurz Director, Legislative Strategy and Policy, AIPAC

MJ Rosenberg, who used to work at AIPAC years ago, says the session is significant because Ester Kurz is AIPAC’s long time legislative director, and Schrayer was formerly AIPAC’s long time political director. This is their big session on foreign aid and obtaining foreign aid is, ostensibly, AIPAC’s raison d’etre. And they could pick any company that Israel spends US aid money on, because there are hundreds. But it chooses Caterpillar, a company known to most of AIPAC’s membership as the manufacturer of the bulldozer that killed American activist Rachel Corrie, 23, in Gaza ten years ago, March 16. What a signal!

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 23 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Citizen says:

    Typical diversion by saying US foreign aid is a drop in the bucket. You have to remember that to a congress critter, what $ you need just to survive in America is beyond their ken. Want to know how your community would be helped if the usual aid to Israel, a well-off country with a better credit rating than the US, was diverted to help Americans, instead of Jewish Israelis? Just go to this interactive map and click on your local area:
    link to aidtoisrael.org

  2. doug says:

    Tone deaf. Just as well as it certainly doesn’t help hasbara.

    OTOH, I suspect CAT is more symbolic of equipment heavily used in settlement activities and that is widely supported amongst the AIPAC crowd under cover of the “two state solution.”

  3. piotr says:

    Hypocrisy is reaching Himalayan heights. I am not born yesterday and I have much less idealistic worldview then most here, but it never ceases to amaze me.

    “Aid to other countries in the region, and the conditions attached to those funds, play key roles in helping the United States pursue its foreign policy goals.”

    So what conditions the esteemed speakers advocate in the case of aid to Israel? Using Caterpilar products for home demolitions? Do those people understand what they are saying?

    In the same vein, about a week ago an op-ed advocated to use conditions on aid to make PA more democratic, which sounds spiffy if we ignore the current conditions, namely, that PA represses through arrests and detentions political parties and activists and Israel deems “security risks”. Just now Israel figured that PA is slipping in that respect, as Israel took away PA’s tax monies, so they will give it back. And USA almost the same.

  4. American says:

    “The United States’ military assistance to Israel is vital to ensuring its security and safeguarding America’s interests in the Middle East.”

    In 11 years of watching this and uncountable numbers of hours spent researching every aspect of US-Isr…..I have NEVER heard a single I Firster give one example of any chore, errand or action Israel has ACTUALLY performed for the US “interest”…Not one.
    Further more I have NEVER seen the I-Firsters who claim this Isr service to the US “interest’ actually MADE to give one example of it or ever let themselves be put in a position where they could asked to name one service Isr has performed for the US.
    IF one is ever semi trapped into having to give a answer they will mumble about Israeli intelligence given to the US—–and there are umpteen dozen examples of Isr feeding the US false intelligence.

    I would love to see the I Firsters explain why Isr couldn’t be used in any US invasions in the ME —why we had to even PAY Isr extra security money to protect the Israel in the Gulf war and again during Iraq.

    OUT, OUT, OUT…get this parasite OUT of my government, check book and country.

    I say as I sit here listening to politicos take to the floor in congress this am talking about to find ‘another billion’ in domestic cuts for 2013. Let me suggest they try cutting the 3 billion + to Israel.
    I ‘m gonna suggest my repub congressman Jones run for President—-he’s the only one on the floor who gave a sermon about…..”taking care of Americans first and getting out of the runing the world business and spending Trillions on wars.”

    • DRoth says:

      You seem to be forgetting Operation Opera. Israel took out the Osirak reactor in 1981, hampering Hussein’s nuclear ambitions by ten years (Gulf War started in 1990-1). Israel while protecting its very existence via preventive measures fell in line with Iran’s, Kuwait’s, and America’s sense of well-being (Kuwait being a big exporter of oil and all).

      • Israel took out the Osirak reactor in 1981, hampering Hussein’s nuclear ambitions by ten years

        nope, you’ve been reading funny stuff.

      • Avi_G. says:

        DRoth says:
        February 26, 2013 at 8:03 pm

        You seem to be forgetting Operation Opera. Israel took out the Osirak reactor in 1981, hampering Hussein’s nuclear ambitions by ten years (Gulf War started in 1990-1). Israel while protecting its very existence via preventive measures fell in line with Iran’s, Kuwait’s, and America’s sense of well-being (Kuwait being a big exporter of oil and all).

        I don’t know where you get your history, but it’s certainly not accurate. And that’s putting it mildly.

        When Israel bombed Osiraq in 1981, the US was actually upset with Israel. At the time, the US was supplying Iraq with weapons to fight Iran in the war. Contrary to your claim, the events of 1991 are in no way related to those of 1981. That is to say that the geopolitical climate was entirely different in 1991 than it was in 1981.

        The only relationship between the two events is that the US no longer had use for Saddam’s ‘friendship’ in 1991 the same it had in 1981. As a result, the US decided to throw him under the bus. Meaning that he became a liability when he invaded Kuwait in 1991.

        In the years that followed, Israeli agents like Madeleine Albright were in positions of power to push the US to isolate and destroy Iraq.

        The chips didn’t fall into place until 2001 when the US administration was stacked with Neo-Cons — Israeli agents by a different name — who found the September attacks to be a convenient opportunity to mobilize the US against Iraq, all in the name of their beloved Israel.

        So what do we learn from this?

        1. Should one choose to be a useful tool, one must understand that his usefulness will run its course at some point in time (See Saddam).

        2. If you’re a small country looking to control a superpower, diversify your product so as to have Israel firsters in both Democratic administrations and Republican ones. And for guaranteed results, it’s best if that small country buys the entire US Congress so as not to put all its Israel-firsters in one basket.

      • Woody Tanaka says:

        “hampering Hussein’s nuclear ambitions by ten years”

        LOL. No, it sparked Hussein’s interest in acquiring nuclear weapons.

  5. OlegR says:

    /But it chooses Caterpillar, a company known to most of AIPAC’s membership as the manufacturer of the bulldozer that killed American activist Rachel Corrie, 23, in Gaza ten years ago, March 16. What a signal!/

    The world didn’t start or end with Rachel Corrie for everybody in the world (on this site maybe but you are kinda fringe) the bulldozers have saved a lot of Israeli soldiers lives that’s another way to look at things.

    • Woody Tanaka says:

      ” the bulldozers have saved a lot of Israeli soldiers lives ”

      Yet another reason to curse Caterpillar.

    • lysias says:

      Please explain how bulldozers save lives. It isn’t obvious, at least not to me.

    • libra says:

      Oleg, let’s keep to the upbeat Start Up Nation theme of the AIPAC conference. Tell us about your start up.

    • Avi_G. says:

      Guys, guys, please. Olga is right.

      Bulldozers save many an Israeli soldier’s life because soldiers no longer need to enter Palestinian villages to ethnically cleanse them. Bulldozers are like remote-controlled destruction machines. Plus, they are far more efficient.

      A look at Before and After aerial images of the Jenin refugee camp in 2002 shows how Israeli bulldozers save Israeli military lives.

      link to poica.org

      Do you see those photos?

      Now imagine how many Israeli soldiers would have been put in harms way if they had to personally cause similar damage to Palestinians.

      As an aside, a reasonable person of conscience may argue that while those Israeli IOF lives are being saved, Palestinian lives are being destroyed. But who cares about Palestinians when everyone knows that Jews are the chosen people whose lives are far more valuable than everyone else’s?

      Compare and contrast the Nakbah and the Israeli attack on Gaza in late 2008.

      Carrying out the Nakbah was really tough and taxing on Israelis. But carrying out the attack in 2008 was a cakewalk.

      Sitting in an air conditioned, well-ventilated cockpit some 2000 feet above the ground, Israeli pilots shot and killed about 350 Palestinian children.

      By contrast, during the Nakbah, Israeli soldiers had to drive around in exposed Jeeps that had neither air-conditioning nor protection from the elements. I bet a few died of dehydration alone.

      So, again, as you can see, good military hardware can save lives, lots and lots of lives.

  6. eljay says:

    >> … the bulldozers have saved a lot of Israeli soldiers lives that’s another way to look at things.

    But the most accurate way to look at it is this: The bulldozers have enabled the oppressive, colonialist, expansionst and supremacist “Jewish State” and its Zio-supremacist Occupation Forces to carry out a 60+ years, ON-GOING and offensive (i.e., not defensive) campaign of aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction and murder.

  7. Kathleen says:

    Hope you get in. Got in years ago for a half of a day. Great to watch the conference up close. At the last one spent lots of time with students who had had their trips paid for by Aipac from several university’s out west. Had them sit with Hedy Epstein and chat about their experience and perspectives at the conference. Then Hedy would share her story and why she is involved with the Pro Palestinian movement. Know sitting and talking with Hedy changed their lives and perspective. Going to miss being at Occupy Aipac this year. Phil did you lobby last year? When you see the long lines of Aipac members standing outside of Congress during the Aipac conference and after you get it how well organized they are. Long long lines

  8. Kathleen says:

    Great time to be calling your Reps asking them to cut aid to Israel. Encourage others to do the same. Caterpillar moving Israel’s and Palestinians closer to a one state solution being the only solution.

  9. lysias says:

    Rachel Corrie was killed on Mar. 16 ten years ago? Obama is supposed to arrive in Israel Mar. 20, so he doesn’t quite hit the anniversary.

  10. MK_Ultra says:

    Just think of the tragic irony, Rachel Corrie is worth more than all of AIPAC and the Carterpillar execs put together.

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