National Day of Action: Wednesday June 14th

CAT shareholder meeting in Chicago
May 16th, 2006

Call on CAT shareholders to cease bulldozer sales to Israel:
Demand corporate accountability; Protest Israel’s military intransigence; and demand that the US end its support of  Israel until and when Israel comports with international and human rights law.

On Wednesday June 14th, Caterpillar, Inc. shareholders will meet in Chicago to discuss the future of their global corporation. However, this year, like the two previous years, CAT shareholders will have to contend with issues far more complicated than net profits and costs of production. Due to the tireless efforts of activists nationwide and a mounting corporate accountability campaign, this year, CAT shareholders will be challenged with the question of how it can reconcile its bulldozer sales to Israel, to be used in contravention of international humanitarian and human rights law with its own code of corporate conduct which declares “as a company, we strive to contribute toward a global environment in which all people can work safely and live healthy, productive lives, now and in the future.”

Since 1967, Israel has used Caterpillar bulldozers to cement its military occupation in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. Since the advent of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, which began on September 29, 2000, the Israeli Army has used Caterpillar bulldozers to demolish more than 4,000 homes, uproot more than 1.6 million olive trees, build the Annexation Wall in contravention of July 2004 International Court of Justice ruling which declared its illegality and demanded its destruction, and even murder civilians like 23-year old American activist, Rachel Corrie and 37-year old Palestinian paraplegic Jamal Fayyad.

In response to letters from activists, Human Rights Watch, and the UN Special Rappoteur to Food, Jean Ziegler-CEO James Owens wrote that Caterpillar has “neither the legal right nor the ability to monitor and police individual use of that equipment.” In a Caterpillar statement on the Middle East, they said “we believe any comments on political comments on the political conflict in the region are best left to our governmental leaders who the ability to impact action and advance the peace process.”

Although Caterpillar asserts that it has no responsibility for the use of its bulldozers abroad, the United Nations has begun to develop standards for corporations in the form of U.N. Norms on the Responsibilities of Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with Regard to Human Rights. That document states that companies should not ‘engage in or benefit from’ violations of international human rights or humanitarian law and that companies ‘shall further seek to ensure that the  goods and services they provide will not be used to abuse human rights.’

In response to CAT’s flagrant disregard for international humanitarian and human rights law, political and legal advocates have mounted a campaign to hold CAT accountable. On June 14th, activists nationwide will be either be protesting in their communities or in front of the Northern Trust Bank in Chicago, IL where the shareholders will be meeting.

To participate in the National Day of Action you can:

Come to Chicago and join the day-time vigil: A number of activists will be entering the shareholder using proxy votes. Inside they will use their speaking time to highlight CAT’s complicity in Israel’s human rights abuses. Outside, activists will be participating in a vigil and a press conference. If you live in the mid-west then organize a bus load of like-minded people to drive into Chicago on the 14th. If you can’t drive in but want to attend, then fly! If not then you can organize something in your neighborhood.

For more information on how to participate in Chicago, write to Matt Gaines of the StopCAT Coalition at matt@stopcat.org

Organize a Demonstration at the nearest CAT headquarters: If you can’t make it to Chicago to join the activists at Northern Trust, then organize your own demonstration in front of the nearest CAT headquarters in your community.

To find the nearest CAT dealership to you, click here.

To launch your own CAT Campaign, click here,  and contact: organizer@endtheoccupation.org.


Launch a Divestment Campaign: Israel’s use of Caterpillar bulldozers to violate Palestinian human rights is just one incident in the systematic devastation wrought by the Israeli Army against Palestinians. From the Israeli government’s refusal to implement U.N. Resolution 194 affording Palestinian refugees their right to return; to the mass incarceration of young Palestinian men; to the confiscation of Palestinian land without trial or compensation; and the ban on family unification between Palestinian families living within and without Israel—Israel has demonstrated its disregard for international humanitarian and human rights law. To pressure Israel to comply with international law and human rights, launch a divestment campaign on your campus, in your organization, at your bank, in your trade union, or in your city council. For more information and guidance on launching and sustaining a divestment campaign, contact organizing@endtheoccupation.org.