Letter to the Editor

Article left out Israel concerns

We were surprised that María Inés Taracena's article from June 16, "Caterpillar Concerns," did not mention the global campaign against Caterpillar for its complicity in the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Caterpillar sells specialized bulldozers that Israel weaponizes and uses to further the Occupation and expand settlements. Israel's Occupation depends on the destruction of Palestinian homes and infrastructure, and the construction of illegal settlements, checkpoints, walls, and segregated roads. An armored Caterpillar D9 or D10 bulldozer can destroy a home within minutes, and sometimes with not much more warning to its inhabitants.

In 2003, when a Caterpillar bulldozer crushed 23-year old American peace activist Rachel Corrie, the U.S. campaign against Caterpillar's bulldozer sales to Israel took off. Initially led by the Sisters of Loreto, whose Catholic order held stock in Caterpillar, it has since expanded greatly. Many U.S. churches, including the Presbyterian Church-USA, United Church of Christ, Unitarian Universalists, Mennonite Central Committee, and Quaker Friends Fiduciary Corporation, have divested from Caterpillar. Retirement company TIAA-CREF divested from Caterpillar, and Caterpillar was removed from the MSCI's socially responsible company index in 2012. A number of colleges and universities have also voted to divest from Caterpillar.

Caterpillar has steadfastly rejected shareholder resolutions and outside calls for accountability. There is no reason that a company that does such a brisk business in civilian equipment needs to make and sell what are essentially military machines, although we fear that this is also what will be happening along our own border. Between the city's security contract with private prison company G4S and this new deal with Caterpillar, we are concerned that Tucson's business decisions do not reflect our values a a city.

—Abby Okrent

Jewish Voice for Peace – Tucson

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