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Associated Press highlights Rachel Corrie’s killing in coverage of Caterpillar divestment victory

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on 18 Comments

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.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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18 Responses

  1. annie on June 28, 2012, 2:28 pm

    yes. awesome. i was so excited to read this in wapo yesterday.

  2. Les on June 28, 2012, 5:16 pm

    How long before the owners and managers of the NY Times and NPR will allow that to be reported?

  3. Cheryl on June 28, 2012, 5:27 pm

    Eight years ago, at a march and protest that brought people together from Madison, Chicago, Iowa City and elsewhere, surrounded by riot police in full apparel and holding their rifles, Rachel’s parents stood in front of the Peoria Caterpillar headquarters and requested to speak to the CAT CEO. They were refused. Now I read CAT is refusing visits from the faith communities. They have thrown up their collective hands saying they so desire peace in the mideast but this is a political question and they have no part in its answer.
    But when a dozer with MADE IN AMERICA shows up to push over somebody’s home it is no longer just political. It is now personal. Personal to the family who watch their home turned into rubble, personal in the feelings of anger and frustration it creates and personal to those of us who know that this is not how we want ourselves represented. CAT has a lot to do with that.
    As I wrote in an earlier post, prior to Rachel’s death these machines were sold as construction equipment and did not require a license. People at CAT knew what the end use of these dozers was and people in the U.S. government knew what the end use of these dozers was. Take a look at the U.S. State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights…….Read how long the good nuns and others were trying to get CATs ear.

    The march moves on.

    • ColinWright on June 30, 2012, 3:34 am

      “…But when a dozer with MADE IN AMERICA shows up to push over somebody’s home it is no longer just political. It is now personal. Personal to the family who watch their home turned into rubble, personal in the feelings of anger and frustration it creates and personal to those of us who know that this is not how we want ourselves represented. CAT has a lot to do with that…”

      We all have a lot to do with it. After all, your tax dollars may have paid for a few of those track links on that Caterpillar. Don’t feel so sanctimonious — you helped kill her too. Perhaps it would have been inconvenient for you not to, but you almost certainly did.

      Your only real out is to either not live in the United States or not pay taxes. If one of these applies to you, I withdraw my suggestion that you are engaging in hypocrisy.

  4. chauncey on June 28, 2012, 7:04 pm

    Jeffrey Goldberg:

    “She came too close to one and she was plowed under”

    (book, pp. 300-1).

  5. Dutch on June 28, 2012, 7:19 pm

    Phil, there is no use in ‘pushing back’ anymore for Israel and its defenders: they have a train coming toward them that’s already over the hill and picking up speed.

    I’m sure the Israeli’s would love to start a lengthy debate about their being delegitimized — but hey, I have a train to catch.

    This is the latest: the delegitimization-virus has reached Malta.
    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/document/activities/cont/201206/20120628ATT47842/20120628ATT47842EN.pdf
    http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/en/newsdetails/news/national/Greens-want-ban-on-incorrect-labelling-of-West-Bank-products-20120523

  6. lyn117 on June 29, 2012, 12:31 am

    I actually boycott Chinese goods too, if there’s a decent alternative. Unfortunately, it’s much harder than boycotting Israeli goods.

    • ColinWright on June 30, 2012, 3:46 am

      It’s surprisingly hard to boycott Israeli goods — or at any rate, not to fund companies that support that place.

      When I had some money to invest, many of the funds I looked at had large holdings in TEVA — the Israeli pharmaceutical company.

      I chew Nicorettes. When I discovered that my wife was wearing bras from Victoria’s Secret that were made in Israel, my daughter rather unhelpfully discovered that Nicorettes are made by Johnson and Johnson, and Johnson and Johnson owns some Israeli company or rather. Fortunately, various generic equivalents turn out to exist. I even discovered that one of the suppliers — Target — once got flak for (inadvertently, I’m sure) selling a globe on which a certain small spot in the Levant was labelled ‘Palestine’ rather than ‘Israel.’ I suddenly feel quite fond of Target.

      Then there’s Starbucks…no more delicious semi-milkshakes. The founder of Home Depot was a big Israel backer. Ever try to stay out of Home Depot? It exerts a gravitational pull of unimaginable power if you happen to be a homeowner…

      I was up at a small winery last week. The owner started talking about how an Israeli woman had come the week before. She’d had all these dates ‘grown in Israel, in the Jordan Valley.’ My wife and daughter looked at me apprehensively. I confined myself to asking if these were the dates we were eating.

      Fortunately, they were not. But it’s harder than you might think.

      • ColinWright on June 30, 2012, 3:56 am

        “I have a dilemma guys. I work at an office supply store that unfortunately sells that SodaStream crap made in an illegal Israeli settlement…”

        See what I mean? It’s silly, because just by paying your taxes, you’re doing a lot more to support Israel than you ever will by buying a Frappacino, but this crap is [i]everywhere.[/i]

  7. Kathleen on June 29, 2012, 9:22 am

    Thanks. One wonders if folks are sniffing the air trying to get on the right side of the equation.

    Cindy and Craig Corrie are remarkable. Such dedication to their daughter and to justice
    http://rachelcorriefoundation.org/

  8. Kathleen on June 29, 2012, 9:47 am

    Has Mondoweiss all ready covered this?
    Row erupts as ‘Miss Holocaust Survivor’ pageant is held in Israel

    Critics slam beauty pageant to find ‘Miss Holocaust Survivor’ as macabre and offensive

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/row-erupts-as-miss-holocaust-survivor-pageant-is-held-in-israel-7899305.html

    Should we expect a Miss Gaza survivor contest? Mavi Marmara survivor contest? Hmmm

  9. YoungMassJew on June 29, 2012, 1:55 pm

    I have a dilemma guys. I work at an office supply store that unfortunately sells that SodaStream crap made in an illegal Israeli settlement. Now we probably don’t sell very much of it and I haven’t seen anyone buy it and I’ve been working there for about a year and a half. Furthermore, the SodaStream display isn’t even in my department as I just deal with Office Supplies (binders, paper, notebooks, pens/pencils) and not with electronics and this is considered part of electronics. Should I bring up the issue with management? These are not the type of people who would give a crap about something like this and I think that the corporate office makes the decision about what items to carry in the stores anyway, so maybe I can write a letter to corporate? Anyway, what should I do? Be nice to me. I’m sensitive.

    • annie on June 29, 2012, 1:59 pm

      Should I bring up the issue with management?

      yes

    • ColinWright on June 30, 2012, 3:52 am

      That one’s definitely your call.

      I suppose if it were me, I’d feel driven to stating [b]once[/b] that (a) we are selling this stuff, and (b) I think it is wrong to support Israel. I think I’d be reluctant to get fired over it– but that’s only going to be the outcome if (a) you get excited, (b) you work for a lunatic, or (c) they were about to fire you anyway.

      I can’t stand agonizing about things like this — and I will if I don’t say something. So if you’re going to agonize about it too, just get it over with and say something to somebody who is actually senior to you. Then forget about it.

  10. YoungMassJew on June 29, 2012, 11:38 pm

    So I talked to one of the assistant managers today and he seemed pretty excited about it. I mentioned how SodaStream is not even made where it says its made. because as we all know here the West Bank is not Israel. It says on the product “Made in Israel” at Ben Guron Airport when the manufacturing plant is in an illegal settlement. So it’s FRAUD since it’s not even labeled where it says it’s made. And that’s not even getting to the human rights issues. So he said I should write a letter that he or the general manager (who will be there tomorrow) can pass on to the guy in charge of human resources. I’m not sure if the head of HR will read my letter, but it’s definitely worth a shot. Since we can get this company two ways, 1 for the fraudelent claims, 2 for the human rights exploiting the Palestinians who make it by not paying fair wages, I think this has a good chance of working. There probably is no other country in the world (I did a quick search) that lablels products as being made in one place when in reality is made in an illegal manner somewhere else. I will mention this in my letter to HR. I don’t think China does that in Tibet if they manufacture things in Tibet would label as “Made in China”. I couldn’t find any sources that China does this. Anyway, I hope this works. My letter will be ready to be handed to my General Manager tomorrow night when I work.

  11. ColinWright on June 30, 2012, 3:28 am

    Ah, the subtleties of diction.

    “…A subsequent military investigation ruled Corrie’s death an accident, though Corrie’s family has filed a civil suit against Israel…”

    That sentence would be a lot more pointed — and equally beyond criticism — if it had run:

    “…A subsequent Israeli investigation ruled Corrie’s death an accident, though Corrie’s family has filed a civil suit against Israel…”

    One wonders if the sentence started out as the latter? Possible…this was AP. They usually take a distinctly pro-Israel slant.

  12. Blake on July 1, 2012, 8:48 am

    I have a feeling Rachel Corrie’s death will not be in vain and she will be honored by a future Admin as an American heroine.

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