June 13, 2013

Unlucky for some? Caterpillar Board Member to Address Washington Uni Class of '13

From the Rachel Corrie Foundation website:
Dear Graduates of 2013 and Mr. Jon Huntsman,
Congratulations to the UW graduating class of 2013! We – your fellow students, faculty, alumni, and members of the greater Seattle community – write to recognize your achievement but, also, to share with you and with commencement speaker, Jon Huntsman, our serious concerns about Mr. Huntsman’s connection to Caterpillar Inc. and to human rights abuses in Palestine/Israel.
The University of Washington has invited Jon Huntsman to give the Commencement keynote address that will set the tone for graduates’ first steps into their post-university lives. We know Mr. Huntsman most recently as one of the 2012 Republican presidential hopefuls. But in addition to a long and prestigious career in American politics, Jon Huntsman serves on the board of Caterpillar Inc. (CAT), an American firm that manufactures and distributes bulldozers and civil engineering tools. The CAT logo has become ubiquitous on most construction sites around the country. Most students are not familiar with CAT bulldozers that are part of the daily lives of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation.
For decades, CAT has sold specially militarized equipment to the Government of Israel used in the systematic demolition of Palestinian homes, the death and injury of unarmed Palestinian and international civilians, the uprooting of olive trees and destruction of agricultural land, and the expropriation of Palestinian territory through the construction of illegal Jewish-only settlements and a separation-annexation wall. Amnesty International, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, and Human Rights Watch have all reported on and denounced Israel’s breaches of international humanitarian law and CAT’s complicity in human rights violations. The CAT brand and its bulldozers have become a symbol of destruction in Palestine.
CAT’s responses to this overwhelming evidence have been inadequate and contrary to its own Code of Worldwide Business Conduct. CEO Doug Oberhelman has said, “How our customers use [the bulldozers] is their business. We can’t stop them.” But CAT designs the bulldozers to be weaponized. CAT has a choice. The corporation has a moral and legal responsibility to cease sales of CAT equipment used in a clear pattern of human rights abuses by the Israeli government and military.
In 2003, Rachel Corrie, a nonviolent human rights activist and observer, and Washington State resident, was killed by a Caterpillar D9R bulldozer (operated by an Israeli soldier) as she tried to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian family’s home in the Gaza Strip. A student at The Evergreen State College, Rachel did not live to attend her own graduation in June 2003. Numerous Palestinian civilians have also been killed when their homes were collapsed upon them by D9s. So, on the occasion of this UW Commencement, we ask both Mr. Huntsman and the graduating class to address the continuing harm caused by Caterpillar’s machines in Palestine.
We request that Jon Huntsman meet with UW representatives and the Corrie family to learn about the concerns of the Washington State and UW communities and to convey these to fellow Caterpillar Inc. board members. We are eager to share the profound impact the company could have by suspending sales to the Israeli military—implementing due diligence in their sales to any customer, until guarantees are received that their equipment will not be used to violate international law or commit human rights abuses.
To the Class of 2013 Graduates, again, our congratulations! Please use this momentous occasion in your lives to join us in encouraging Jon Huntsman to do the right thing! For more information on how to help, go to www.superuw.org. Find us on twitter at #uwCATfree.
Sources:
News on UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Report, 2004: Link Here.
Amnesty International Report, 2004: Link Here.
Human Rights Watch Report, 2010: Link Here.
The Presbyterian Church USA Mission Responsibility Through Investing (MRTI)Committee Report, 2011: Link Here.
Signed,
  1. Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights (SUPER UW)
  2. The Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice
  3. Rabbi Alana Alpert
  4. Amnesty International, UW
  5. BDS-LA for Justice in Palestine
  6. Boycott from Within, Israeli citizens for BDS
  7. Chico Palestine Action Group
  8. Cindy & Craig Corrie
  9. CodePink, Seattle
  10. CodePink, Taos
  11. Committee for Open Discussion of Zionism (CODZ)
  12. Community & Middle East Peace Builders, Trinity Lutheran Church, Lynnwood, Washington
  13. Cumberland Countians for Peace & Justice, Tennessee
  14. Fellowship of Reconciliation, USA
  15. Rabbi Zev-Hayyim Feyer
  16. For a Democratic University, UW
  17. Friends of Sabeel, North America
  18. 14 Friends of Palestine
  19. Free Palestine Movement, Northern California
  20. Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb
  21. Grassroots International
  22. Tim Harris, Founder of Real Change
  23. Hilton Head for Peace, Hilton Head, South Carolina
  24. Rabbi Margaret Holub 
  25. Interfaith Peace-Builders, Washington, DC
  26. Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions, USA
  27. International Solidarity Movement, Northern California
  28. Jewish Voice for Peace, National
  29. Jewish Voice for Peace, Seattle
  30. Jewish Voice for Peace, Portland
  31. Jewish Voice for Peace, Tacoma
  32. Lutherans For Justice in the Holy Land, Central Lutheran Church, Portland, Oregon
  33. MidEast JustPeace, Traverse City, Michigan
  34. Mideast Solidarity Project, Olympia
  35. Rabbi David Mivasair
  36. Monica Mendoza Castrejon, External Chair of Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlan (MEChA UW), Class of 2015
  37. Network for Environmental & Economic Responsibility, United Church of Christ, Tennessee
  38. New Profile, Israel
  39. New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Partnership (NYACT)
  40. The Northwest Regional BDS Coalition
  41. Olympia BDS
  42. The Palestine Concerns Task Force, Seattle
  43. The Palestine-Israel Working Group of Nevada County, California
  44. Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane
  45. Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, Seattle
  46. Shomer Shalom Network for Jewish Nonviolence
  47. TESC Divest, The Evergreen State College
  48. United Methodist Task Force on Peace with Justice in Palestine/Israel of the Upper New York Conference
  49. University of Denver Students for Justice in Palestine
  50. Utahns for a Just Peace in the Holy Land
  51. UW International Socialist Organization
  52. Vancouver for Peace, Vancouver, Washington
  53. Voices for Palestine, Seattle
  54. Rabbi Alissa Wise
  55. Western Washington Fellowship of Reconciliation
Faculty:
  1. Philip L. Bereano, Emeritus professor, College of Engineering
  2. Dan Berger, School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, UW Bothell
  3. David Citrin, Department of Anthropology
  4. Rachel R. Chapman, Department of Anthropology
  5. Eva Cherniavsky, Department of English
  6. Kate Cummings, Department of English
  7. Karam Dana, School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, UW Bothell
  8. James Barrett DeLong, School of Social Work
  9. Raya Fidel, The Information School
  10. Abraham D. Flaxman, Department of Global Health
  11. Tom Foster, Department of English
  12. Amy Hagopian, Global Health & Department of Health Sciences
  13. Tracy W. Harachi, School of Social Work and Dept. of Global Health
  14. Gillian Harkins, Department of English
  15. Michael Honey, Haley Professor of Humanities, UW Tacoma
  16. Moon-Ho Jung, Department of History
  17. Aaron Katz, Health Services and Global Health School of Public Health
  18. Danuta (Danka) Kasprzyk, Department of Global Health
  19. Steve Leigh, Fiscal Specialist, Dept. of Biostatistics
  20. Jamie Mayerfeld, Department of Political Science
  21. Mary Anne Mercer, Departments of Global Health and Health Services
  22. Diane M. Morrison, Director of Social Welfare Doctoral Program University of Washington School of Social Work
  23. Devon G. Peña, 2013 NACCS Scholar, American Ethnic Studies, Anthropology, Program on the Environment
  24. Michael Vicente Perez, Department of Anthropology
  25. Chandan Reddy, Department of English
  26. Sonnet Retman, American Ethnic Studies
  27. Laurie Sears, Department of History
  28. Clarence Spigner, School of Public Health
  29. Sundar Srinivasan, Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine; Mechanical Engineering
  30. Helene Starks, Department of Bioethics and Humanities
  31. Amoshaun Toft, School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, UW Bothell
  32. Jonathan Warren, The Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies
  33. Scott Winn, School of Social Work
  34. Robert Wood, Atmospheric Sciences
Alumni:
  1. Danielle Abbott, MSW, Class of 2005
  2. Linda Bevis, JD School of Law, MA International Studies, Class of 1990; MA of Education, Class of 1996
  3. Jean Darsie, BS Mathematics, Class of 1960
  4. Selma Al-Aswad Dillsi, MSW, Class of 2010
  5. Stefanie Fox, MA Public Health, Class of 2007
  6. Aditya Ganapathiraju, BA Psychology; BA Philosophy, Dean’s Medalist in Social Sciences, Class of 2010
  7. Naomi Goldenson, MS Atmospheric Sciences, Class of 2012
  8. Geraldine Haynes, BS Nursing, 1964
  9. Sarah Hartzell, MSW, Class of 2010
  10. Shima Houshyar, BA Political Science and French, Class of 2011
  11. Hanady Kader, BA Political Science, Class of 2007
  12. Susan Koppelman, MSW, Class of 2005
  13. Marc Krasnowsky, BA English, Class of 2001
  14. Zarah Kushner, DNP 2012, MN 2010
  15. Eden Lord, MSW, Class of 2011
  16. Gita Mehrotra, PhD Social Welfare, Class of 2012
  17. Vicky Kathleen Morris, MA English, 1970
  18. Lawrence Mosqueda, MA Political Science, Class of 1973
  19. Nathaniel Shara, MSW, Class of 2008
  20. Wendy Somerson, PhD English, Class of 1999
  21. Meghan Storms, MSW, Class of 2011
  22. Yecelica Jaime Valdivia, BA with College Honors Anthropology; BA with College
    Honors Women Studies, Class of 2009
  23. Tiffany Woelfel, BS Psychology; BA Spanish, Class of 2004
  24. Sylas Wright, MSW, Class of 2013

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