Friday, April 28, 2006

Economic Engagement Survey

These religious and secular orgnizations are pressuring the State of Israel to end its brutal occupation of Palestinian lands through a variety of economic strategies ranging from discussions with CEOs of organizations that supply military equipment to Israel, to shareholder actions, to personal and/or institutional divestment. The purpose is not to destroy the State of Israel, which gets along quite nicely on three million dollars of US taxpayers money daily, but to express disapproval of Israel's disregard for international law.


An Ongoing Survey by the Economic Engagement Subcommittee of Ann Arbor Friends Meeting February 2006
Additional information is welcome.
To add or correct information in this survey, please contact
734-747-9220 Email:

World Council of Churches
WCC advocates selective divestment from US companies like Caterpillar that profit from the Occupation, and from Israeli companies that depend on settlements for materials and labor, or that produce military equipment used to violate Palestinian human rights. Churches with investment funds have an opportunity to use those funds responsibly in support of peaceful solutions to conflict. “Economic pressure, appropriately and openly applied, is one such means of action. “ (Adopted 2/05) (

Sabeel (A Jerusalem-based international organization representing Palestinian Christians)
“There is a spiritual dimension to all investment.”
1. Earning money through investment in companies whose products and services are used to violate Inter- national Law and human rights is equivalent to profiting from unlawful acts and the oppression of others.
2. Continuing such investments, once the facts are brought to our attention, constitutes enabling harm to innocent civilians under Occupation and condoning illegal settlement policies that lead to human rights violations. Sabeel cites Israeli human rights lawyer Shamai Leibovitz: “If the Jewish people are ever to become ‘a light of all nations’ and return to their core values of justice and human dignity, Israelis and Jews of conscience must call for effective measures to end the occupation of millions of Palestinians. I believe that selective economic pressure is the most effective way to end the brutal occupation.” “The churches have exhausted all other options,” says Sabeel founder Naim Ateek, a Palestinian-Israeli Anglican priest. (See “Morally Responsible Investment: A Nonviolent Response to the Occupation,” 8/05, at

Anglican Church of England (2/6/06). The General Synod (supported by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams) overwhelmingly votes to support “morally responsible investment in the Palestinian occupied territories and, in particular to disinvest from companies profiting from the illegal occupation, such as Caterpillar Inc, until they change their policies. ”The Synod asks its Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG) to follow up its recent consultations with Caterpillar with “intensive discussions; with a view to its withdrawing from supplying or maintaining either equipment or parts for use by the state of Israel in demolishing Palestinian homes.” They urge members of the EIAG 1) to visit Palestinian lands to see recent house demolitions and 2) “to give weight to the illegality under international law of the activities in which Caterpillar Inc’s equipment is involved.” The Episcopal Bishop of Jerusalem urged action, asking the synod if the church would “wait until there are no homes and no trees for our people to wake up;” (

Anglican Consultative Council, 5/05, calls for “active engagement” with companies by Anglican communions worldwide. Divestment may be considered later. (

Episcopalian Executive Council (10/8/05) directs its Committee for Social Responsibility in Investments to undertake the following:
1. Corporate engagement via dialogue and shareholder resolutions, as appropriate, to encourage companies to adopt socially responsible practices that advance positive changes in Israeli government policy and end the Occupation.
2. Urge the Palestinian Authority to oppose violence as a means of resistance.
3. “Positive investment” – encourage companies to invest in the economic infrastructure of the West Bank and Gaza: “A stable Palestinian state will make for a more secure Israel.” Seek opportunities, with others, to make loans to “support economic justice and development in support of a future Palestinian State.” Palestine, like Israel, has a right to an economy that flourishes.
4. Urge members of the Episcopal Church to visit church partners and others in Israel and the Palestinian Territories in order to understand the complexities of the conflict. (

Anglican Church of Canada (11/05)
The Council of General Synod unanimously passed a resolution asking the eco-justice committee, with the help of Kairos, a Canadian ecumenical justice group, to research the activities of companies believed to be contributing to ongoing violence in Israel and Palestine, as well as those contributing to ongoing peace and economic stability in that region. The committee, along with the financial management development investment sub-committee, should “explore a range of socially responsible investment strategies, including corporate engagement and positive investment or divestment.” The sponsoring bishop noted that the resolution was based on a motion from the Anglican Consultative Council recommending “that churches put pressure on firms that contribute to Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, including the removal of investment funds in these companies as a last resort.” The resolution, which was passed unanimously, also recommended the same action for companies that support violence against innocent Israelis. (

Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, an Ann Arbor, Michigan interfaith group, in 5/03 adopted a resolution that recognizes the US government’s complicity in violations of human rights, and calls for suspending military aid and arms sales to Israel. It asks the University of Michigan, the city of Ann Arbor and members’ religious organizations to exert their influence. And, along with individuals, to divest from companies that sell arms or other military
hardware to Israel. The goal is to bring about Israel’s compliance with UN resolutions and the Geneva Convention. (

Presbyterian Church USA
General Assembly, 7/04, adopted a policy of ’Morally Responsible Investment,” drawing on the historical precedent of South Africa, and responding to the call that “For too long, the churches have simply issued statements - and that is not enough,” and, “If nothing else seems to have changed the policy of Israel toward Palestinians, we need to send a clear and strong message." A “phased selective divestment” procedure is initially being implemented by the Committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI), as follows:
1.“Progressive engagement” with selected multinational corporations via communication and meetings.
2. If no agreement, shareholder resolutions may be considered.
3. If a corporation remains uncooperative, MRTI may ask the General Assembly to place it on a list for divestment or proscription (do not buy).
4. MRTI (8/05) selected five companies to approach: Caterpillar, Motorola, ITT, United Technologies, Citicorp.
The divestment action also calls for the United States to be an "honest, even-handed broker for peace" and calls for "more meaningful participation" in peace negotiations by Russia, Germany, France and others. (

Philadelphia Friends Meeting (Quakers):
Spring 2005: “Threshing” Session topic, “Israel’s Occupation: Is It Time for Divestment?”
1. What are the “facts on the ground”?
2. What are our historic precedents for action?
3. What are the criteria for action?
4. How do we maintain integrity in seeking both justice and compassion?
Next step: Threshing sessions with other Philadelphia Meetings, Fall 2006.

Roman Catholic organizations
Mercy Investment Program, Sisters of Mercy, Maryknoll Sisters, and Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia joined Sisters of Loretto in the 2005 Caterpillar shareholder resolution, together with Jewish Voice for Peace. The Sisters’ resolution called for Caterpillar to investigate whether its sale of bulldozers to Israel violates the company’s own code of conduct: “It is a matter of public record that since September 2000, the Israeli government has used Caterpillar equipment to destroy more than 3,000 homes, hundreds of public buildings and private commercial properties and vast areas of agricultural land,” uprooting “hundreds of thousands of olive trees as well as orchards of dates, prunes, lemons and oranges causing widespread economic hardship and environmental degradation in rural areas of Palestine” The resolution received a 3% vote at the shareholders’ 4/13 meeting. A JVP member called the event “a remarkable success,” noting, “[O]ur primary goal was to put this issue front and center in the minds of the Caterpillar board.”
( (

The Sisters of Loretto (Roman Catholic). As shareholders in Caterpillar, Inc., the Sisters community filed a resolution in 2004, asking Caterpillar to stop providing arms to Israel.
On 4/14/04 a Sister addressed the annual shareholders meeting on behalf of the resolution, telling the executives, “You understand the implications of improvement in clean emissions, equal employment opportunity, environmental impact of mining and logging. But with sales to the Israeli Army through the Department of Defense, you have stepped up Caterpillar's role in the public arena. Caterpillar bulldozers are tools of war now and Caterpillar is an arms dealer, sharing in responsibility for the horrendous use of those weapons.” The resolution won 4% of the shareholders’ votes, assuring its reconsideration in 2005.
( (

The United Church of Canada (Presbyterian, Methodist, United Church of Christ) –Toronto region: Seeking Peace Through Justice: Ethical Investment in the Middle East: TheToronto Conference calls on presbyteries, churches, mission units and members to reaffirm the UC’s commitment to the right of Israel to exist in peace and security within internationally-recognized borders and the right of Palestinians to exist in peace and freedom in an internationally recognized state. Recognizes that the path of peace is dependent on the ending of the Israeli occupation, including withdrawal of Israeli settlements. Commits to: 1) Join the World Council of Churches international boycott of goods produced in the illegal Israeli settlements. 2) Divest itself of investments in – and 4) boycott the products and services of -- corporations whose activities serve to encourage the continued existence of these illegal settlements. (adopted 2003)

United Church of Christ (UCC) (adopted 7/05) Commitment to Israel’s safe and secure existence within internationally recognized borders. Condemns violence on both sides.
1. Urges the US to play the role of honest broker
2. Significant dialogue with Jewish, Christian and Muslim partners
3. Educate congregants about the realities on the ground
4. “Economic leverage” on behalf of oppressed people:
A) Divestment from companies that sell arms or military hardware to Israel.
B) Reallocation of US foreign aid to constrain militarization of the Middle East. (

United Methodist Church, New England Conference Resolution on “Divesting from Companies that are Supporting, in a Significant Way, the Israeli Occupation of Palestinian Territories.” 6/11/05: The settlements and Israel’s wall on Palestinian land violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Geneva Conventions, UN resolutions, and the 2003 Roadmap. Therefore a committee will determine which investments support the occupation,
writing the company to request a change in its relationship to the occupation. If no change is taken or contemplated within 60 days, the company’s name will be placed on a divestment list and shared with Methodist churches and investment managers. The Church calls on the US government, the government of Israel, and the Palestinian leadership to reject all acts of aggression and violence, to respect the equality and dignity of all the region’s people, and follow principles of international law and human rights. The Church affirms the right of Christians, Jews, and Muslims to freedom of movement in the Holy Land and the maintenance of Jerusalem as an open city for people of all three faiths.(

Virginia United Methodists 6/05 affirmed Israel's right to exist within permanent, recognized, and secure borders, and Palestinians' right to self-determination and the formation of a viable state.
The Conference called upon the United Methodist Board of Pensions to review its investments and undertake a process of phased, selective divestment from any multinational corporations that are profiting from the illegal demolition of Palestinian homes, destruction of the Palestinian economy, and confiscation of Palestinian land.

York and Hull District Methodist Synod, England (4/05): Recommended to the UK Methodist Conference that it follow the lead of the World Council of Churches and Presbyterian Church, undertaking a review of all investments under its control, with a view to divesting from any corporations or activities that support the illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. International Law is the basis of the Conference resolution. This fact should be well publicized. (Passed: 187 for, 0 against, 1 abstention.)

European Jews for a Just Peace (EJJP). The statement, “No Other Way,” adopted at the 2005 annual plenary, calls for economic pressure targeted at the Occupation. The rationale for these measures highlights: 1) Their nonviolent nature, and 2) The fact that the need to resort to these steps is a result of the failure of other means. Opposing the Israeli occupation cannot be construed as anti- Semitic. On the contrary, looking to endow Israel with special rights because it is a Jewish state is an attitude which smacks of anti-Semitism because it sees Jews as being different from the rest of humanity. Under “Divestment actions,” EJJP calls for pressure by boycott and information campaigns on companies, institutions, organizations, and individuals that profit from involvement in or contribution to the Occupation, such as Caterpillar, Intel, and Soda Club. It includes Israeli companies that produce military equipment used to violate Palestinian human rights, and also universities, research institutions, and individuals that contribute to the perpetuation of the Occupation. The purchase of Israeli arms and weapons should be banned, and governments are asked to stop selling Israel arms used to continue the Occupation. Settlement products should be boycotted, based on the Gush Shalom list, as well as products with labels that do not differentiate between settlement products and those made in Israel. (

Gush Shalom, meaning “Peace Bloc” in Hebrew. A highly active Israeli peace organization, Gush started an ongoing National Boycott of Settlements’ Products in 1997, providing a list of products produced in settlements’ industrial parks to tens of thousands of Israeli households on request. The list is constantly revised and is used by international groups seeking such information.

ICAHD (Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions) calls for sanctions (1/05)
1.Selective divestment from companies that profit from the Occupation, e.g., Caterpillar, and from Israeli companies that depend on settlements for materials or labor or that produce military equipment used to violate Palestinian human rights
2. Remind churches with investment funds that they have an opportunity to use those funds responsibly in support of peaceful solutions to conflict. Economic pressure is one such means of action. Calls for churches to:
A. Exert pressure on companies to discontinue business that supports the occupation.
B. When pressure fails, divest from such companies. (

Jewish Voice for Peace (includes American Jews and Israeli peace activists). (12/04) Supports the Presbyterian Church’s “selective divestment from companies, including Caterpillar, that profit from Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem and from Israeli companies that use settlements as a source for materials and labor or that produce military equipment used to violate Palestinian human rights. General divestment from Israel itself is not now advised; rather: target the Occupation and the Israeli military complex that sustains it. US military aid since 1949 “represents the largest transfer of funds from one country to another in history.” Of all US military aid to Israel, 75%, by law, must go to US corporations, making corporations, not Israel or Israelis, the primary recipient of US aid. US corporations are the primary beneficiaries of Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian lands! (

Jews Against The Occupation New York, NY 11/04. “We are writing as deeply committed Jews to thank the Presbyterian Church for acting as a true friend to our people. Their decisions to condemn Israel's Wall;and to begin selective divestment of holdings in multinational corporations doing business in Israel/Palestine represent an important step forward in the struggle for Palestinian freedom and an end to the conflict; (W)e believe that the day will come, be it in five years or fifty, when the Presbyterian Church’s action in this matter will be remembered with love and gratitude by Jews around the world;” (

New Profile (An Israeli peace group active with army Refusers, women’s groups, and peace groups), 2/05, “opposes the Occupation on three counts: 1. Its destruction of Palestinian life, society, land, and property. 2. Its role in maintaining militarism in Israel. 3. Its erosion of Israel’s socio-economic and moral fabric.” “We therefore seek non-violent means of ending this catastrophic Occupation. One such means is using economic sanctions to pressure the government to change its policy. To this end New Profile welcomes and supports selective divestment aimed at divesting from companies that contribute to the continuation of the Occupation by supplying arms, other equipment, or staff; [E]nding the occupation is not only to the benefit of the Palestinians but also necessary for the welfare of Israel, its youth, and future generations. Over 20,000 Israeli soldiers have died in its wars since 1948. Enough.” (

Not in My Name (NIMN) Supports Selective Divestment as a Tool to Oppose the Israeli Occupation. This predominantly Jewish US group stated on 1/16/05) “We continue to add our voices to the growing anti-Occupation movement and make it clear that Israel neither speaks nor acts in the name of all Jews.”
“[T]he Occupation is destroying Israeli society by increasing poverty, violence, and insecurity. Therefore actions that oppose the Occupation are, in fact, pro-Israeli. Furthermore, we believe that such actions are in keeping with our vision of a Judaism that is based on the principle of justice. .” “We believe that the Israelis and Palestinians deserve a chance to live together in peace and we support self-determination for both peoples. We oppose the obstacles that prevent the creation of a just and lasting peace, and believe that the Occupation and the U.S. support for it are primary obstacles. We also oppose such things as the illegal Jewish-only settlements and bypass roads in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, home demolitions, all forms of collective punishments, and extrajudicial assassinations. We also oppose the Wall that imprisons entire Palestinian villages and separates Palestinians from their farmlands, schools, religious and economic centers, and their water. Well-designed divestment campaigns can help focus public discourse on the Occupation. They can also have a positive material impact, as has been shown by such projects as the grape boycott to support the United Farm Workers and the opposition to South African apartheid.” “Therefore, NIMN urges its members and supporters to investigate and actively support selective divestment and boycott campaigns that target corporations that profit from the Occupation.” (

Palestinian Civil Society (170 organizations) 7/05: “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel until it Complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights”
1. South Africa apartheid is a historical precedent
2. End the occupation and dismantle the wall
3. Recognize the rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel
4. Palestinians’ right of return re: UN resolution 194

Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine, 2/06, called for an economic boycott of the Israeli construction industry. The British group protests the building of Israeli settlements and the Wall within the Occupied Territories. It states that architects and others working on Israeli projects in the occupied territories are “complicit in social, political and economic oppression” and that the “construction disciplines are being used to promote an apartheid system of environmental control.” A leader of the group, architectural critic Charles Jenckes, told The Independent, ” I understand fully that security is the problem for Israel and they have the right to protect themselves. But this is not the solution. It is an extremist measure which foments extremism, by incarcerating and intimidating Palestinians.” The group is considering targeting Israeli-made construction materials, Israeli architects, and Israeli construction companies. (

Association of University Teachers (AUT). On 4/22/05, the AUT Council, the governing body of Britain’s 40,000-strong academic union, voted to boycott Israeli academia, particularly Haifa and Bar Ilan universities. Haifa was singled out because of the threatened dismissal of Dr. Ilan Pappe for his defense of graduate student Teddy Katz, whose master’s thesis documented the 1948 massacre of Palestinians at Tantura. Bar-Ilan University was selected because of its links to the College of Judea and Samaria (which was elevated to university status in 5/05). Bar-Ilan’s support for the West Bank college, located in Ariel, was considered by AUT as de facto support for the Occupation. The AUT boycott was rescinded in 5/26/05 by an AUT Special Council meeting, reportedly after intervention by the British Foreign Office. The Council decided instead to provide practical support to Palestinian and Israeli trade unionists and academics. (

Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine (CJPP), based in Quebec, launched a campaign in 12/05 of “boycott, divestment, and sanctions, to force Israel to respect international law.” Their press release states: “We must stop believing in the false pronouncements of peace of the Israeli State and in
the roadmap of its US sponsor. Because, in practice, under the cover of the hyper-showcased Gaza 'disengagement,' Israel is moving ahead with a much more significant expansion of its settlements in the West Bank, and continues the illegal construction of its apartheid wall, gradually reducing the occupied Palestinian territories into a disconnected patchwork of mini bantustans.” The campaign will cover, 1) the boycott of Israeli products and products of companies that are contributing to the continued occupation, 2)the retrieval of investments out of these companies, and 3) the imposition of sanctions against the Israeli State, starting with questioning the Canada-Israel free trade agreement. The targets initially identified by the CJPP for the first phase, are Caterpillar and Israeli wines. (

European Coordinating Committee of NGOs on the Question of Palestine (ECCP). 7/05: Members of the civil society of EU member states petition their governments, the EU Council, and the UN “to take political and economical measures, including sanctions, to prevent Israel from continuing the construction of the wall and to force it to respect the International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion” [which ruled that the Wall on Palestinian soil is unlawful]. NGOs and Palestine solidarity groups in Europe urge their governments to cease all military exchanges and agreements with Israel, to provide no aid in construction of the Wall, to honor their commitment to the Fourth Geneva Convention and UN Resolutions, and to suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement. (

Global Exchange (An international human rights organization working for social, economic, and environmental justice.) Palestinians in Israel “live as third class citizens, facing legal, economic, and social discrimination. In the occupied territories, Israel continues to subject the Palestinians there to home demolitions, closures and checkpoints, extrajudicial detentions and assassinations, immobilizing curfews, and countless other daily abuses and forms of oppression. The system of apartheid that Israel has developed closely resembles that which South Africa once had. Apartheid in South Africa was eventually abolished in large part because of an international grassroots movement to stop financial support of the apartheid regime.” “Through divestment (stopping capital investment in companies that do business in Israel) and boycott (not buying Israeli products) we can bring justice to the Israelis and Palestinians as well.” (updated 8/23/05) (

Human Rights Watch (12/23/04): HRW reports that the Israeli military uses the D9 as its primary weapon to raze Palestinian homes, destroy agriculture, and shred roads in violation of the laws of war. The group urges the company to cease D9 sales to the Israeli military while it uses the bulldozer to violate international human rights and humanitarian law. HRW notes that Caterpillar’s CEO ignores international standards on corporate social responsibility
when he says the firm lacks “the practical ability or legal right to determine how our products are used after they are sold.” Since 2003, the United Nations has begun to develop standards for corporations. The “UN Norms on the Responsibilities of Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with Regard to Human Rights” 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.” (

Labor for Palestine (LPF) emerged in the US in response to Palestinian workers’ exploitative conditions. Labor union pension funds are said to have about 5 billion dollars invested in State of Israel Bonds. Divestment from these bonds is a central platform of Labor for Palestine. (

National Lawyers Guild. Resolution To Divest, In Principle And Practice, From Israel (Adopted by NLG National Convention, 10/24/04)
WHEREAS the Israeli government with its illegal occupation and expansionist program in the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip is engaged, and has been engaged in grave human rights violations including but not limited to: the use of live ammunition on unarmed civilians (including men, women, and children); massive and disproportionate use of force including the firing of missiles from Apache helicopter gun-ships against defenseless civilian populations; illegal mass arrests and institutionalized torture (including men, women, and children); the willful destruction of agricultural land; the deprivation of water; forced malnutrition with concomitant health consequences including stillborn deaths and irreversible develop-mental damage to children; the mass demolition of homes and confiscation of land; hostage taking and extra-judicial assassinations; denial of medical services to the sick and wounded; the use of human shields (including children); the targeting of schools, and hospitals; the building of illegal fortified "Jewish-only" Israeli colonies/settlements on confiscated land connected by "Jewish-only" bypass roads, and the heavily subsidized transfer of hundreds of thousands of its own civilian population into these colonies/settlements;
WHEREAS the International Court of Justice has ruled that Israel's Apartheid Wall violates international humanitarian law which governs Israel's administration of the Palestinian territories it has occupied since 1967 as well as the fundamental human rights of the Palestinians;
WHEREAS by virtue of, but not limited to, the Principles of the Nuremberg Charter and Judgment; The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights; International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights; The Geneva Conventions, in particular, but not limited to the 4th Geneva Convention, the Convention
Against Torture, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Protocol 1, Additional to the Geneva Conventions, as well as other international covenants and the general humanitarian principles of international law, these acts constitute war crimes, and in some cases crimes against humanity.
WHEREAS, the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, 22 USC sec. 2304, provides that "no security assistance may be provided to any country the government of which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights;"
WHEREAS, the UN General Assembly on October 22, 2003, reaffirming the principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, and, reiterating its opposition to settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories almost unanimously, with the exception of the US, Israel (sic)
BE IT RESOLVED that the NLG seeks, in principal and practice, to support national and international campaigns to divest from Israel;and (a) support divestment campaigns to make full public disclosure of any and all investments it or other institutions have in Israel and of any and all profits earned from
companies invested in Israel, and (b) either immediately divest from those companies, or cause such companies to disinvest from Israel until all of the following conditions are met: 1) Withdraw armed forces; 2) Permit interested refugees to return to their homes and compensate the rest; 3) End torture; 4)
Vacate all Jewish-only settlement/colonies; 5) Compensate all Palestinian victims. (

Palestine Solidarity Campaign (UK) asks consumers to boycott Israeli goods via coordinated demonstrations in major British cities, including London, Brighton, York, Oxford, Durham, and Exeter. Their 12/10/05 winter campaign focuses on avocados, oranges, and dates. ( See “international.”)

Stop Cat Coalition. The group sponsors an annual Day of Action focused on Caterpillar headquarters in Peoria, Illinois, demanding “that Caterpillar cease all sales to the Israeli military and government.” The Coalition states that Caterpillar’s D-9 bulldozer ”is directly implicated in grave abuses of human rights by Israeli Defense forces including the collective punishment of the Palestinian people through house demolitions, clearing a path for and constructing the Apartheid Wall and murder of civilians.”—actions that “are illegal under international law - specifically violating the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Rome Statute of the International Court and the Hague Conventions.” Further, “the sale of the Caterpillar bulldozer to Israeli Defense Forces violates the US Arms Export Control Act.” In 2005, The International Day of Action Against Caterpillar on April 13 was organized in the U.S. by the Stop Cat Coalition, Jewish Voice for Peace, and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. Protests were held in over thirty cities worldwide. March 16 is the 2006 Day of Action. (

United Nations International Conference of Civil Society in Support of Middle East Peace. (7/05) A Call to Action: “ [W]e urge international, national and regional social movements, organizations and coalitions to support the unified call of Palestinian civil society for a global campaign of Boycotts,
Divestment and Sanctions [BDS] to pressure Israel to end the occupation and fully comply with international law and all relevant UN resolutions. We have identified the coming year to mobilize for and inaugurate this BDS campaign.” (

US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation supports the nationwide municipal and state divestment initiative. The group provides divestment resources to inform, educate and mobilize the public regarding the US government’s role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the way funds invested by municipalities and state governments, trade unions and other US organizations help sustain the occupation. The nationwide divestment initiative is a vehicle of change, as groups press for an end to the investment that enables Israel to carry out its military occupation, and call on municipal, state and federal governing bodies to issue statements opposing that occupation. The US Campaign recognizes that there is no single way to approach divestment. Given the grassroots nature of this effort, it is up to activists on the ground to decide what practices would work best in their localities. (}

Veterans for Peace. VFP, a 20-year-old US veterans’ organization, adopted Economic Support For Justice And Peace In Palestine at its National Conference, 8/6/05. The resolution notes that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a major international flashpoint; people of the region are suffering from militarization; the US is the largest single source of governmental financial aid to Israel; and all forms of intervention have failed to achieve Israeli compliance with international law as embodied in UN resolutions and world court decisions (and supported by peace activists within Israel). Therefore, inspired by the South African struggle and the international solidarity which made it effective, and in support of the call by more than 170 Palestinian political parties, unions, and organizations for such economic actions, “Veterans For Peace calls for boycott, divestment, and other actions against economic activities that support Israel’s continued occupation and colonization of Palestinian lands and the denial of fundamental human rights to Palestinians both in Israel and in the occupied territories until the Government of Israel complies with international law and the universal principles of human rights. VFP urges members and chapters to support such economic actions which seem to them best calculated to bring about a change in Israeli government policy for the benefit of both the Israeli and Palestinian people.” (

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), Canadian Section. 12/17/05, wrote INTEL’s Board Chairman and CEO: “Let INTEL not be wooed by Israel’s $525 million grant incentive to expand INTEL’s existing microprocessing factory in Israel. The site of the proposed expansion is Kiryat Gat, on land expropriated from the Palestinian village of Iraq Al-Manshiya. By further building there, you are denying Palestinian refugees the right to return to their land.” (

Corrie Family Lawsuit vs. Caterpillar, Inc. (3/15/05), a civil action for compensatory and punitive damages against Caterpillar for violations of international and state law committed against Rachel Corrie, including war crimes; aiding and abetting her extra-judicial killing; complicity in cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment; that resulted in her death; negligence; and wrongful death. The suit, filed in US District Court in Seattle, Washington, states: “On March 16, 2003, Rachel Corrie, a peace activist and United States citizen, was killed by a Caterpillar bulldozer while protesting the demolition of a Palestinian home. “2. This lawsuit alleges that Caterpillar, Inc., has aided and abetted or otherwise been complicit in the Israel Defense Forces (hereinafter “IDF”) in the above-mentioned human rights violations and war crimes by providing the bulldozers used to demolish homes of Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in violation of international law when it knew, or should have known, that such bulldozers were being used to commit human rights abuses. “3. The IDF has destroyed approximately 10,000 Palestinian homes since 1967 leaving approximately 50,000 men, women, and children homeless. Over the last four years, the IDF has destroyed 4,100 homes. Upon information and belief, Caterpillar, Inc. has supplied bulldozers to the IDF that have been used in such demolitions since 1967.”

Green Party of the U.S. (11/20/05) “calls for divestment from and boycott of the State of Israel until such time as the full individual and collective rights of the Palestinian people are realized. The party calls on all civil society institutions and organizations around the world to implement a comprehensive divestment and boycott program. Further, the party calls on all governments to support this program and to implement state level boycotts.”

The Norwegian Provincial Parliament of the Soer-Trondeleim District, representing about 7% of the population of Norway, including Trondheim, the third largest city, voted on 12/15/05 to “completely and totally” prohibit the purchase or sale of Israeli products by all provincial government bodies and to launch an awareness campaign calling upon the populace to do the
same. Perhaps significantly, this Parliament was the first Norwegian government body to boycott South African Apartheid. (

The more than fifty universities and colleges with divestment drives have tended to use approaches similar to the following:

University of Pennsylvania Petition for Divestment from Arms Corporations that do Business with Israel and Other Human Rights Violators 12/02.
“We, the undersigned are appalled by the human rights abuses against Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli government, the continual military occupation and colonization of Palestinian territory by Israeli armed forces and settlers, and the forcible eviction from and demolition of Palestinian homes, towns and cities; We are horrified by attacks against Israeli civilians, and we, like many in the Israeli peace movement, are convinced that only the end of the Israeli occupation and establishment of a geographically and economically viable Palestinian state can bring peace to the Middle East; . . . Therefore, as members of the University of Pennsylvania community we call on the University to divest from all companies whose business promotes the Israeli occupation, especially firms that sell arms to Israel and firms based in illegal settlements in the West Bank and Gaza, until the following conditions are met:
1. Israel complies with United Nations Resolution 242, which notes the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war, and which calls for the withdrawal of Israeli armed forces . . .
2. Israel complies with the United Nations Committee Against Torture 2001 Report . . .
3. Israel complies with the Fourth Geneva Convention ("The occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into territories it occupies”)
4. [Israel] begins to implement United Nations Resolution 194 with respect to the rights of refugees
We furthermore believe that the University of Pennsylvania should divest from arms manufacturers that do business with any nation that has been shown to violate human rights, including Egypt, Turkey, Colombia, or any other. This petition focuses on Israel because it is the largest recipient of US military
aid, as well as one of the largest manufacturers of military software and weapons, in the world.” (

The University of Wisconsin Divestment from Israel Campaign, a coalition of groups and individuals in the University and the state, began in 2005 circulating a petition, asking the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents “to divest from any company doing business with or in the State of Israel until ;Israel accepts and facilitates the full implementation of the individual and collective human rights of the Palestinian people.” The petition cites Israeli “policies of encapsulation, expropriation, and ethnic cleansing against the indigenous Palestinian population,” depriving them of “residency rights, the right to work, and the right to equality before the law.” In a related action, The Association of University of Wisconsin Professionals (TAUWP), a statewide local of the American Federation of Teachers-Wisconsin, representing faculty and academic staff from 25 University of Wisconsin campuses, on 4/23/05 adopted a divestment resolution, naming companies that “provide material aid to the Israeli Army in the form of weapons, equipment, and supporting systems used to perpetrate human rights abuses against Palestinian civilians” – including Boeing, Caterpillar, General Dynamics, General Electric, Lockheed-Martin, Northrop-Grumman, and Raytheon. TAUWP’s resolution notes that the Regents’ policies prohibit such investments. Divestment is a positive step that may lay “the groundwork for a just and enduring peace and is therefore an expression of the hope for a free and secure future for every Israeli and Palestinian currently suffering under the burden of conflict.” Notably, the Faculty Senate of one U.W. branch (Platteville) was the first such faculty body in the nation to pass a divestment resolution (1/25/05), citing “the violations of international law and the human rights of the Palestinian people,” enabled by
the named U.S. arms companies. (
*Additional information is welcome. 734-747-9220 2/12/06

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