Many of you are aware that TIAA-CREF’s Social Choice portfolio ditched it’s $72-million investment in Caterpillar after the long-standing BDS campaign by Jewish Voice for Peace and other Israeli-Palestinian peace activists. The investment company’s action was precipitated by a downgrade of Caterpillar stock by a rating firm. Here is part of that company’s statement:
MSCI Inc. said Caterpillar was downgraded earlier this year because of several concerns, including a January labor dispute in Canada, environmental issues, employee safety and “an ongoing controversy associated with use of the company’s equipment in the occupied Palestinian territories.”
No more credible a Jewish news outlet than the Forward wrote this:
Controversy over the Israeli army’s use of Caterpillar Inc. bulldozers to demolish Palestinian homes was a “key factor” in a corporate rating agency’s decision to drop the American manufacturer from its list of socially responsible companies.
Yet, StandWithUs is so eager to score points any which way it can against JVP that it will even stoop to outright lies. In its own press release it wrote:
According to MSCI officials, CAT was downgraded because of labor disputes at a CAT plant in Canada, not because of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
For anyone wishing to give SWU the benefit of the doubt, the above statement was released on June 22nd and MSCI released its own statement quoted above on June 25th. Even if SWU wasn’t lying outright, it was flat-out WRONG. I’m waiting for the SWU press release that “clarifies” their error and updates with the correct information. OK, start holding your breath…right…now…Now you may exhale. I didn’t expect you to suffocate waiting for SWU to correct the record.
This press release is also disingenuous (or just plain stupid) in claiming that the campaign targeting Caterpillar is hypocritical because the company also does business with Palestinians. Not even the point. Caterpillar isn’t selling Palestinians armored bulldozers used to destroy Palestinians homes as Israel is. No Palestinian Caterpillar killed Rachel Corrie. Further, though I don’t have exact figures, the level of Caterpillar’s business with the IDF is likely to dwarf its business in the Territories by a factor of ten or more.