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The War of Ideas in the Middle East

Israel Divestment Campaign
Letter to Board Members

uprooting orchard demolishing home

Caterpillar at work in Palestine – destroying orchards and homes

Dear Board Members,

As an advocate for social justice, I am pleased that your retirement system endorses the UN Principles of Responsible Investment (UN PRI). Yet, it seems that you are invested in Caterpillar Corporation, which systematically violates the basic principles of human rights and labor rights embodied in the UN PRI.

Specifically, Caterpillar supplies Israel with bulldozers that, among other things, are used in the ongoing and systematic demolition of Palestinian homes. Since 1967, 27,000 Palestinian structures have been illegally demolished, leaving more than 160,000 people homeless, half of whom are children. In addition, Caterpillar remains complicit in the construction of the “Separation Wall,” deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice.

Caterpillar also displays extreme disregard for the rights of its unionized workers. It closed its London (Ontario), Canada plant in 2012, eliminating about 450 manufacturing jobs and then offered jobs at a new plant in Muncie, Indiana at half the pay of the displaced Canadian workers. In fact, it was this action that resulted in Caterpillar being delisted on the MSCI Global Socially Responsible Index, a rating used by investors committed to socially responsible investing. In response to this delisting, TIAA- CREF eliminated Caterpillar from its Social Choice Fund.

I call on you to follow the example set by the TIAA-CREF pension fund and to initiate the process to divest from Caterpillar. This would demonstrate a genuine commitment to socially responsible investing to your members and to all Californians.

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