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Businesses are a tricky nut to crack for Divest-from-Israel advocates since most large companies maintain legal departments that, among other things, understand US anti-boycott law and are unwilling to engage in potentially illegal activity in order to assuage a pressure group. Unlike a school or city, a company ceasing to do business with Israel would be directly participating in a boycott that might bring it to the attention of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Anti-Israel activists have been most vociferous in their condemnation of Caterpillar, the US manufacturer of tractors and other construction equipment since Rachel Corrie, a young Washington-based activist for the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), was killed by a Caterpillar tractor used in the Gaza Strip to demolish buildings that were hiding tunnels used to smuggle weapons from Egypt into Gaza.

Rather than explore their own culpability in turning this young student into this enraged ideologue or reflecting on the morality of putting such a young person into harms way, or investigating information questioning the Palestinian's contradictory accounts of what happened to Ms. Corrie, anti-Israel partisans have chosen instead to turn this poor girl into a martyr and direct their rage against Caterpillar and its investors.

Because Caterpillar is a large company whose stock is held by numerous school endowments and retirement funds, shares in Caterpillar have become a ticket to invite the Divest-from-Israel movement into countless institutions that would otherwise not seem to have a "dog in the fight" in the Arab-Israeli conflict. So far, Caterpillar management has stood firm against being used as a propaganda weapon by those who would lure an innocent girl to her death, but we must continue to shine the light on those who would use the misfortune of others to further their own ugly agenda.
Forbes.com: Caterpillar shareholders reject Israel resolution
© 2005 Divestment Watch