- Written by Occupy-Free Portland Occupy-Free Portland
- Published: 12 October 2015 12 October 2015
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September 9, 2015
Socially Responsible Investments Committee
Office of Management & Finance
1120 SW 5th Ave.
Portland, OR 97204
Re: Proposed Recommendation for Do-Not-Buy List
Dear Committee Members,
We are urging you to adopt a recommendation that four multinational corporations—Caterpillar, G4S, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola—be added to the list of corporate securities that the city of Portland shall not invest in due to the impact their products or services have had on human rights. As stated in the official Socially Responsible Investing policy, this list is referred to as the Do-Not-Buy List.
These four corporations have played a well-documented role in assisting the Israeli government’s violations of Palestinian human rights in Israel/Palestine. Caterpillar, for example continues to sell bulldozers and other heavy equipment to the Israeli government and military, despite its use in demolishing homes in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in violation of international law. Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Conventions prohibits the transfer of a civilian population from an occupying power to the territory it occupies. Despite this fact, Caterpillar knowingly provides bulldozers to the Israeli government for use in destroying Palestinian homes and uprooting crops on farmland owned by Palestinian farmers to make way for illegal settlements. Moreover, Caterpillar bulldozers have been used and continue to be used to help construct a barrier wall that has been found illegal by the International Court of Justice at The Hague, Netherlands.
Many of us who live in the Pacific Northwest remember that an Evergreen University student, Rachel Corrie, was killed by a Caterpillar bulldozer when she attempted to stop a home demolition in occupied Gaza.
As you know, the Socially Responsible Investment Policy adopted by the City Council includes concerns about human rights among its criteria. We are providing you ample documentation detailing the role of Caterpillar and the other three corporations in Israel’s human rights violations. In addition, G4S is implicated in the mistreatment of immigrants and prisoners held in privately-run prisons and immigration detention centers, and Caterpillar has been found guilty of violations of the Clean Air Act and has acted to oppose legislation that would limit the emissions of fossil fuels responsible for climate change.
Unfortunately, Portland is currently invested in commercial paper issued by Caterpillar through DCAT LLC CP, according to the city treasurer. Fortunately, this is a short-term investment that will hopefully mature soon after the City Council places these four corporations on Portland’s Do-Not-Buy list. We ask that you make this recommendation to the City Council. Thank you.
Occupation-Free Portland is a coalition consisting of Jewish Voice for Peace-Portland Chapter; Friends of Sabeel-North America; Lutherans for Justice in the Holy Land; the Wider Church Ministry of the Central Pacific Conference, United Church of Christ; Oregon-Idaho United Methodist Conference Holy Land Task Force; Portland Fellowship of Reconciliation; Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East-Portland Chapter; Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights; Veterans for Peace, Chapter 72; Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights; and International Socialists.
This statement has been endorsed by other individuals and groups, such as African Youth and Community Organization *Al-Furqan Islamic Center * The Reverend Catherine L. Alder, LCSW, MFT, M.Div., UCC Palestine Israel Network *Charis Barasch * Dr. Curtis Bell, Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East * Joel Beinin, Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History, Stanford University *Michel Bolsey, Jewish Voice for Peace * Dr. Mark Braverman, Executive Director, Kairos USA * Peggy Jo Bronson, retired Portland public school teacher *Kelly Campbell, Executive Director, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility+ * Paul Cienfuegos * Betty Cobb-Colgan * Ann J. Cornwell * Virginia Feldman * Margaret Fussell, Tree of Life Educational Fund *Steven Goldberg, Attorney at Law * Jana Gregory * Sylvan Grey * Joanne Hardesty, private business owner * Nancy Hedrick * Henry Herring * Human Rights Commission, City of Portland * Steve Kerpen * Hjalmer Lofstrom, St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church * The Rev. Kate Lore, First Unitarian Church, Portland * Katie Miranda * Masjid Umar Bin-Al Khatab Mosque * Joanie McClellan, Chair Emerita, Portland Fellowship of Reconciliation * Allen Menegay * Esther Nelson * Oregon-Idaho United Methodist Conference Holy Land Task Force * Peace Action Group, First Unitarian Church, Portland * Peace and Justice Works Iraq Affinity Group *Kirsten Peterson * Robert J. Picariello * Elizabeth Sheppard * The Rev. Dan Simmons * The Rev. Rod Stafford * Sandy Stienecker *The Rev. Canon Richard Toll * Day Tooley * Tree of Life Educational Fund * Lisa Westarp, St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church.
+ For identification purposes only.