Call to Action: Don’t Reward Caterpillar

Posted in Call to Action on August 24, 2011 by .

» UPDATE: National Building Museum Cancels Caterpillar Inc. Award Ceremony!

» ACT NOW: Stop Rewarding Complicity in Human Rights Abuses Altogether!

» See Press Release Here


Despite a long history of complicity in human rights abuses and violations of international law, Caterpillar Inc. has been selected to receive the National Building Museum’s Henry C. Turner Prize for Innovation in Construction Technology.  This prize, to be awarded in Washington DC on September 14, is given annually to recognize “an invention, an innovative methodology, and/or exceptional leadership by an individual or team of individuals in construction technology.”  Sadly, in Palestine and around the world, Caterpillar and its bulldozers have become a symbol of the Israeli occupation and of destruction – rather than one of innovative building and construction appropriate to the National Building Museum and the Henry C. Turner prize.

Please act now!

Sign our petition from individuals and organizations and tell the National Building Museum that it must reconsider its decision to reward Caterpillar Inc.’s complicity in human rights violations.

For decades, Caterpillar Inc. has sold equipment, sometimes built to military specifications and weaponized in Israel, that is used by the Israeli government in illegal operations against the Palestinian people – to demolish Palestinian homes, to kill and injure unarmed Palestinian and international civilians, to destroy olive trees and farmland, and to facilitate expropriation of Palestinian territory through construction of Jewish-only settlements and an apartheid wall. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) recently reported that home demolitions in 2011 have already led to over 2,000 Palestinian civilians being displaced or affected.

Caterpillar, Inc. knows.  It has been on notice for many years about the Israeli government’s systematic use of CAT equipment in acts that violate human rights and international law. In 2004, Amnesty International denounced Israel’s razing of Palestinian homes as “a grave breach of international humanitarian law,” and recommended that Caterpillar “take measures – within the company sphere of influence – to guarantee that its bulldozers are not used to commit human rights violations…” The same year, Human Rights Watch demanded that Caterpillar “immediately suspend” the sale of D9 bulldozers to the Israeli military.  In 2006, we traveled to Caterpillar’s annual shareholders’ meeting ourselves to tell company executives and directors about the destructive and illegal ways we had witnessed Caterpillar equipment used in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem.

On March 16, 2003, our daughter Rachel Corrie was crushed to death by Israeli soldiers operating a weaponized Caterpillar D9-R bulldozer.  The National Building Museum’s decision to present this award comes in the midst of our civil trial in Rachel’s case in which Israeli military officers have testified under oath to attitudes, actions, and orders that flagrantly disregard civilian lives, property, and legal rights.

CAT has not listened.  It has continued sales to the Israeli government knowing that its equipment is used in a pattern of human rights abuses in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Caterpillar has valued increasing corporate profits over protecting human rights.

We have informed the National Building Museum of our concerns in a letter that they received last Friday.  Though we requested a response, we have not yet had a reply.

We need your help!

We must all tell the National Building Museum that developing and selling Caterpillar equipment used in crimes against Palestinians is not “exceptional leadership in construction technology.” We must tell them that Caterpillar’s part in the demolition of Palestinian homes and farms and expropriation of Palestinian land should not be rewarded.

Here is what you can do:

  • Sign our petition asking the National Building Museum and the Henry C. Turner Prize jury to rescind this award to Caterpillar. Ask organizations that you are affiliated with to do so, too.  To see how many signatures we have already received click here.
  • Spread the word and keep the pressure on through Facebook and Twitter.
  • Tell friends, family, and organizations!  Forward this Call to Action and ask them to join us in this campaign. Our goal is 10,000 petition signatures, hundreds of organizational endorsements, and thousands of letters to the National Building Museum!
  • As we build our list of petition signatures before the September 14th Henry C. Turner Prize event, help us TODAY to tell the National Building Museum and the Turner Prize jury how many of us are concerned. Use our sample email or send your own email message to Mr. Chase Rynd, Executive Director of the National Building Museum, crynd@nbm.org. Tell Mr. Rynd why you cannot support this prize being awarded to Caterpillar Inc.
  • Call the National Building Museum at (202) 272-2448 and ask to speak to the Executive Director, Mr. Chase Rynd.  Courteously explain why the National Building Museum must reconsider its decision to award the Henry C. Turner Prize to Caterpillar Inc.
  • Use and share fact sheets highlighting Caterpillar’s role in human rights abuses in Palestine

In Solidarity,

Cindy and Craig Corrie
On behalf of the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice

Endorsed by:
Jewish Voice for Peace
The U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (national coalition of more than 350 organizations)
Code Pink
Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace

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