Despite the rain on Wednesday morning, several intrepid activists picketed outside Halton Cat on Columbia Boulevard in Northeast Portland. The small, but spirited group of protesters held the action in solidarity with the national day of action against Caterpillar, timed to coincide with the company’s annual shareholder meeting.
The purpose of the day of action was to demand that Caterpillar divest from its contracts with the Israeli military, which used armored D9 caterpillar bulldozers to demolish Palestinian homes and olive groves, and to literally run down Palestinian civilians, in direct violation of international law.
During the two hours we stood in front of Halton, which is the largest local Caterpillar distributor, several employees came and talked to us – two of them parroted a line that “the killing of Rachel Corrie wasn’t murder, because they told her to get out of the way”. Well, besides the fact this this isn’t true (no one told Rachel to get out of the way), what the hell kind of logic justifies RUNNING DOWN AN UNARMED PERSON WITH A BULLDOZER JUST BECAUSE THEY’RE IN YOUR WAY???? It’s the equivalent of saying that if someone points a gun at you, and then says, “Move, or I’ll shoot”, then it’s not murder if they shoot you! If anything, it makes it worse, because that’s admitting that they knew she was there, and ran her down anyway. If the US government pushed for an investigation like the British government did when Tom Hurndall was killed, then maybe we would actually be able to find out who did it, and what he did or didn’t say to Rachel before running her over three times with the blade of the bulldozer down (which is what the witnesses and pictures verify, but Israel has never admitted).
Anyway…..one employee came out to look sideways at our signs and tell us that Halton Cat “owns the sidewalk” in front of their property, so we had to either stand out in the street (where huge trucks were barreling along at 50 mph) or he would call the police. I don’t know if he called the police or not, but if he did, they apparently didn’t agree with him about Cat owning the sidewalk, because they never showed up.
More info about the Boycott Caterpillar campaign and the national day of action:
More info about Rachel Corrie’s murder by an Israeli soldier who ran her down with a US-made Caterpillar D9 bulldozer while she stood in front of a Palestinian doctor’s home to try to stop the Israelis from demolishing it: