Israeli’s use of products cited as reason

Caterpillar is cut from investment lists

GMT 11:50 2012 Thursday ,28 June

Arab Today, arab today Caterpillar is cut from investment lists

Caterpillar Inc.
London - Agencies

Caterpillar Inc. A US company that provides information on investments has taken Caterpillar off three of its environmentally and socially responsible investment indexes, citing controversy over the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) using its bulldozers illegally in Palestinian territories as one of the reasons.
MSCI Inc. said Caterpillar was downgraded earlier this year because of several concerns, including a January labor dispute in Canada, environmental issues, employee safety and "an ongoing controversy associated with use of the company’s equipment in the occupied Palestinian territories."
The dropped environmental and social rating led Caterpillar to be removed from several of its investment lists.
Pro-Palestinian activists who have urged boycotts welcomed the move. Since the downgrade, the TIAA-CREF financial services firm divested itself of $72 million in Caterpillar stock, dwarfing earlier divestments by smaller groups, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
TIAA-CREF told the agency that it had not been moved by activist pressure, but that the decision was tied directly to its "social screen vendor," MSCI.
Israeli and Jewish groups opposed to the boycott movement were disappointed by the decision, fearing it could affect an upcoming discussion by the Presbyterian Church over whether to divest from companies selling products to the Israeli military.
Caterpillar has been under added pressure since US activist Rachel Corrie was run over and killed by an Israeli military bulldozer nine years ago. A lawsuit against the company over her death was dismissed.
According to peace activists, the IDF, using Caterpillar bulldozers, have razed thousands of Palestinian homes since 1967 and destroyed hundreds of thousands of trees in Palestinian-owned orchards in the last few years alone.
Caterpillar has stated that its bulldozers are purchased by the US government and given to Israel through the US Foreign Military Sales Program created under the Camp David Accord.  These military exports are part of the US government’s foreign aid package to Israel.
Some activists assert that because the bulldozers are given to Israel through the US Foreign Military Sales Program, they are considered military in nature.  It claims that the United States therefore is violating the US Arms Export Control Act, which prohibits the use of military aid against civilians.  In which case, they contend that Caterpillar could withdraw from the Pentagon program if it wanted to.
"We hope and wish for a peaceful solution to the unrest in the Middle East, but that solution is a political matter to be worked out by the appropriate parties," Caterpillar spokesman Jim Dugan said in a statement according to the Los Angeles Times.
"Caterpillar does not and should not have a role in that political process.

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