Folks from the Grand Rapids area activist group, Brunch & Revolution, kicked off the local Caterpillar/Motorola boycott and divestiture campaign with a protest in front of a local Caterpillar dealership along US 131 near 76th Street this morning. They held up two large banners, despite the cold morning chill. Hundreds of commuters on their way to work read the message, “Caterpillar Kills!” The second banner provided the web address of End the Occupation Coalition, the US-based group coordinating the national Divestment/Boycott Campaign.
The national campaign calls attention to the Israeli government’s apartheid practices as its Palestinian neighbors are denied food, medical care, the right to pursue livelihoods and the freedom to come and go for normal daily activities. This apartheid policy was savagely evident during Israeli military attacks in December and early January that left more than 1,400 Palestinians dead (for the most part regular folks, women and children) and thousands more injured, displaced and homeless. (14 Israelis died; of those 10 were military, four of which were friendly fire.)
Divestment Portfolios Available
Throughout this week, folks involved in the action will be contacting local churches, campus groups, progressive organizations and unions with “Divestment Portfolios,” informational packets with many pages of information on the campaign as well as a CD/PowerPoint presentation that explains Caterpillar’s role in its illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine. “Today is the kickoff to our local campaign for Divestment/Boycott of Israel,” says Mike, Brunch and Revolution spokesperson. “We are hoping to get as many groups to sign on to this campaign, so please help us get the word out.”
The Israeli military routinely uses Caterpillar bulldozers as part of its occupation strategy. Caterpillar Corporation assists the Israeli Defense Forces by supplying them with the D9 Bulldozer, critical to the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories. A multitude of reports indicate that homes are bulldozed without giving people time to get out of their homes.
“Caterpillar Corporation’s contribution makes possible the bulldozing of Palestinian homes, the uprooting of olive trees (a Palestinian economic mainstay) and militarization of the Gaza Strip and West Bank. This should be met with the utmost resistance by any nation or person who holds value in the Geneva Conventions and the tenants of international law,” Mike says.
For additional information, visit http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=1869