NEW YORK - NYC activists on behalf of Palestinian rights brought their message to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel this morning, where an executive from Caterpillar was scheduled to appear on a panel social responsibility and sustainability. The spirited rally excited police attention but no arrests. Later, while the CAT exec’s talk was underway, an activist was arrested attempting to make a presentation to the same audience on CAT’s role in Israel’s ongoing campaign to destroy Palestinian homes, while another activist leafleted the conference attendees.
Latest information is that the arrested activist was taken to Manhattan North precinct, to be charged by the hotel with trespass.
The protest earlier this morning was endorsed by the International Solidarity Movement - NYC, NYU Students for Justice in Palestine, Queer Resistance for Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, Women of a Certain Age, Jews Against the Occupation NYC, and the BootCAT Campaign. The conference itself was organized by the New York-based Conference Board, whose senior vice president, Gail Fosler, also serves on CAT’s Board of Directors.
In Israel/Palestine, CAT has clearly overwhelmingly chosen business value over social responsibility. The D9 and D10 bulldozers that CAT sells to the Israel government are designed specifically to destroy Palestinian land, roads, water supplies, and sewer systems and to uproot hundreds of thousands of fruit and olive trees - the main livelihood for many Palestinians.
In recent weeks the Israeli government has announced plans to demolish 88 more Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem using Caterpillar bulldozers, as Israel continues to bulldoze Palestinian homes throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territories. According to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, “Since 1967 Israel has demolished almost 12,000 Palestinian homes, leaving some 70,000 without shelter and traumatized.” CAT bulldozers have helped to facilitate Israel’s policy of sustained destruction of the Palestinian economy and communities.