Letter from the Corries: Petitions Delivered to National Building Museum!

Posted in Cindy and Craig's Blog, News and Updates on September 21, 2011 by .

Earlier this month the Rachel Corrie Foundation convinced the National Building Museum (NBM) in Washington DC to cancel its September 14th public ceremony to award its prestigious Henry C. Turner Prize to Caterpillar Inc. Then last week, acting on behalf of the Rachel Corrie Foundation, we and representatives of Jewish Voice for Peace, Code Pink, the Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace, and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (a coalition of more than 350 organizations) held a protest outside the F Street museum entrance. We sang, chanted, flyered, and chatted with the public. We then entered the Museum’s lofty Great Hall to deliver the call from 150 regional, national, and international organizations and more than 7000 individuals to rescind the prize to Caterpillar Inc. completely.

We met with Museum Development Events Manager Jessie Cochran. She promised to deliver our petitions to the Museum’s Executive Director, Chase Rynd, along with our requests to consider the human rights records of future award candidates and to use the museum’s public forums to discuss the built environment during conflict and occupation.

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Petition delivery and action at the National Building Museum
Video courtesy of Bill Simonds, JVP – DC Metro Chapter

Thank you for your amazing support of this effort! You signed our petition, encouraged groups to sign our letter to the museum, and communicated directly with NBM staff with your own letters and calls. This small but public victory is just one indicator of how together we are bringing Palestinian human rights front and center and making a difference. Once again, we have exposed the complicity of Caterpillar Inc. in the ongoing violations of these rights by the Israeli military and government in Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel.

The campaign to urge the National Building Museum to rescind its award to Caterpillar Inc. was spearheaded here at the Rachel Corrie Foundation. We are thrilled with what we’ve accomplished, but there is much more work to be done. Please help us! We function with a very small staff and a cadre of devoted community volunteers. We depend upon and need your support.

Please consider a donation now to the Rachel Corrie Foundation!  And if you can provide RCF with financial stability by joining our growing list of monthly donors, we will be so grateful!

Thank you for your help with all of our efforts!

Cindy and Craig Corrie
On behalf of the Rachel Corrie Foundation

BACKGROUND

The Rachel Corrie Foundation’s opposition to the National Building Museum”s award to Caterpillar Inc. stems from CAT’s long history of designing and routinely supplying equipment used by the Israeli military. Caterpillar knows this equipment is used to demolish Palestinian homes, to destroy olive trees and farmland, and to facilitate expropriation of Palestinian territory through construction of Jewish-only settlements and an Israeli separation-annexation wall. Caterpillar equipment has also been used in the killing and injuring of Palestinian and international civilians. As the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, Caterpillar has long been aware of the human rights abuses and violations of international law committed with its help.

In a recent, related development, the Presbyterian Church’s Committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI) recommended on September 9th that Caterpillar Inc. be added to the divestment list of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA). In its announcement, MRTI stated, “Caterpillar has profited from sales of its products to Israeli military and civilian authorities, including its D-9 bulldozers which are used to demolish Palestinian homes and construct settlements and Israeli-only roads on Palestinian land, acts deemed illegal under international law. The company has never accepted responsibility for how its products are used and has not responded to requests for dialogue since 2009 from MRTI or other religious groups.

We at the Rachel Corrie Foundation applaud the Presbyterians for their thoughtful and courageous steps and look forward to supporting their efforts.